In my recent post, The Process of Personal Archeology, I shared that I deleted my Facebook account. I had 2 weeks to change my mind before it was permanent. On the last day, I reinstated it. Here’s what I learned:
Contact Info – I don’t have contact info for most of my Facebook connections except through FB. To stay in touch I would need to collect each person’s contact information outside of FB. Marketing departments call this “owning the customer data.” Both Amazon and FB have a lot of data about each user. In personal terms, unless I take active steps otherwise, FB “owns” the contact info of my contacts.
I let three people I am connected to on FB and IRL know that I was deleting my FB account. I didn’t post a departure notice on FB [which in retrospect, I should have done]. If anyone noticed, they couldn’t reach out because they likely did not have my contact info.
Conversations – Messenger is also deleted when you delete your FB account. I quite like Messenger. It’s different in feel from mobile phone text. In both cases the content is delivered to your device. The messages are both presumably from someone you already know well enough to give your phone number. But. I write differently for Messenger than I do for text. I translate the message I receive differently too. The tone of content in Messenger is more conversational than text and less transactional.
Communication – When I see my FB friends IRL, we start in a different place because I don’t know what they’ve been up to, what amazing vacations they have been on or what family reunions they’ve been to. I don’t get to enjoy those photos. Likewise, I’m limited in my ability to share as well. Marketing departments would call being able to start communication with a customer in the right place “knowing the customer” or “customer intimacy.”
Cat Videos – I remarked to my husband just yesterday that without FB I lost my reliable source of curated funny cat videos (which send me into spasms of laughter) and adorable dog videos. I’m convinced that once in awhile these videos are the sole benefit of creating the internet:)
Collected Data – You have the option to download all the data that FB collects about you. I did that. Check out the folders image from the download for details on what is collected. For example, there’s a record of every IP address I have ever logged into FB from. FB uses this information presumably to serve up relevant ads. To FB, I’m a target.
Conclusion – I’m back on FB with the express goal of attracting my friends out of the walled garden into a world where we can communicate directly with each other.