Face, Off

May 12, 2010

A Church

This evening I’ll be deleting my facebook profile; I was asked why, though, so I want to hang this out for a bit beforehand to let people on Facebook know. There are a couple of reasons for this; I outlined the dramatic changes in their privacy policy the other day, which have since been presented in a much more visual way here, and that trend isn’t slowing down.

Since then, though, a few other things have come up. The least of these is that in addition to what Facebook has done on purpose, it turns they’ve done a surprising number of pretty miserable things by accident.

The second most important reason was the ideas that have been rattling around in my head after watching this talk by Merlin Mann, which is eminently worthwhile. I think a lot of things about it, but the relevant one is that without even considering the threat-modeling aspects of it, Facebook just isn’t a good time-value tradeoff anymore.

Hello again?

The most important thing, though, is something my staunchly eminent friend and general-purpose good person Mike Shaver said. That he asked himself, what would it take for me to delete my Facebook profile? Would it have to be worse than this? And if so, do I want to be around when that worse thing happens? Which is a variation of a question I’ve heard before, in a different context, that is getting more important to me every day. If not now, when?

Ok, then. Now.

There are people that I consider to be good friends that I’ve never met and in many cases likely never will; you know who you are, I hope. I’m not going to pretend that “friends” is a meatspace-only definition; I know the future isn’t like that, because I care about those people. But I also don’t think I’m going to participate in any more systems that treat relationships, appreciation, affinity or contact as binary conditions. I’m not just your friend or not. I don’t just like things or don’t, and I don’t want to participate in systems that treat my life like an elaborate graph of false dichotomies. I’d like to think my relationships are a little more nuanced than the light in my fridge.

So, if you’re just interested in my writing, you can follow that here on my blog, or the short-form stuff on Twitter. My photos go to Flickr, as per usual. If you like, send me some email! I don’t even need to know you for any of that to work, but I’d be glad to hear from you either way.

In any case; good luck, Facebook people. If you need me, I’ll be over here with the internet. It’s messier, sure, but it’s also bigger and way, way better than this.

Update: Done.