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My Exodus from Facebook (and unexpectedly, twitter)

July 21, 2012

snort all the drama

I’ve been contemplating leaving Facebook for awhile. I’d say 2 or 3 months now, maybe longer. I don’t know exactly what the final straw was, but I’ve announced my departure to my Facebook followers and am shutting down my account this Sunday. I weirdly feel excited about it, but some of my friends aren’t getting the same feelings. I’ve gotten some resistance:

“Why Shar? Whyyyyyy???” – A friend that works close enough to me we could grab coffee together every day, but don’t

“How am I suppose to wish you happy birthday once a year without effort?” – My brother

“Why deactivated??? Just go dormant! Then pop in every once in a while.” – My next door neighbour

“You should keep your Facebook account open, but just don’t use it if you don’t want to. Social networking is the way of the future for business development. You never know what business you may go into down the road (and there are a zillion opportunities out there). You have 346 friends on Facebook that you would be throwing away. You don’t have to use FB if you are trying something else, but I would keep the account open for future networking possibilities. You never know what opportunities could come up in the near future. My two cents.” – My mortgage broker (who I consider biased based on his purchase of Facebook stock)

“How will I make inappropriate, awkward comments and troll you!? Do you live near a bridge? Gahh!” – One of my ex-coworkers

I’ve also managed to make a lot of in real life plans for the next week or so because of my announcements that I’m leaving. It’s almost like people are acting like they are never going to see me again. But one of the reasons I’m doing this is in the hopes that it’ll prompt me to have more real life interactions. Facebook is a hermits dream, it’s still giving you a social outlet without having to see anyone. I’m kind of sick of that to be honest. It’s time to foster some real relationships with the people I care about.

So my process for this entire thing is as follows:

Step one: Backup The Facebook

You can do this by heading to your account settings (it’s in the drop down menu in that little arrow at the top right of the screen). This will open your General Account page and at the very bottom in small blue text is Download a copy of your Facebook data.

This will send a link to your email address that you have linked to your facebook account. This email wound up in my spam box so be sure to check there just in case. It takes about a day so be patient. After clicking on the link it sent me a zipped file of all of my posted pictures and a lot of my facebook content like status updates and stuff. I did this mostly for my pictures because I lost a hardrive since starting my facebook account and I didn’t have those pics anywhere else.

Step Two: Announce Your Departure

I’ve been posting periodically that I’m leaving and also sent a mass message to all my favourite people with my contact info.

I’ve picked Sunday as the day to deactivate, so this gives me enough time to collect all the contact information people are giving me. I’ve also been posting twice a day that I’m leaving so people who may not have seen it the first two (or 5) times might have a chance to see it and still get me their deets.

Step Three: Amass All The Deets

I’ve been getting a lot of different contact information, everything from email addresses to deviant art profiles. I’ve decided to put anyone who gives me a phone number or mailing address into my phone. Anyone who’s given me an email address has been put into my gmail contacts and given an invite to G+. Any other contact information for sites I’m not frequenting are being ignored. I’m trying to simplify my online usage here, not branch out and make more profiles!

Edit: I’ve decided that my mortgage broker may have a point. I’ve looked around for a quick and easy way to import my facebook contacts to my gmail contacts and Time Magazine came to the rescue! Here is a great article with a link to the perfect solution! It imports names, which is at least better than nothing and will make those contacts easier to find should I ever start a new facebook account.

Step Four: Set Up Your Alts

I’ve recently set up an instagram account, which as a visual person I find those updates more rewarding than “OMG I got SO smashed last night” (pics or it didn’t happen!). I’ve also had a G+ account for over a year that I’ve never utilized so I started following all of my fave news sources from Twitter and Facebook on my G+ account and I’m pleasantly surprised how most of them are very active over there.

As a result I’m also deleting my twitter account which is the only thing I used that for anyway. I prefer the visual aspect of news articles on G+ as opposed to text on twitter.

Step Five: BE STRONG

I haven’t quite hit this step yet, tomorrow is “D” day. Deactivating my account is a step I’m a little worried about. I’ve read from a few people now that Facebook doesn’t make it easy. I want to permanently delete it with NO chance of recovery so they make you fill out a “form” here https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=224562897555674 it doesn’t look that difficult so maybe they’ve made it easier recently.

To deactivate twitter you go to the little person icon and the drop down menu will appear. Select Settings which will open you to your General Account page. Scroll to the very bottom and in blue text (again with the blue?) is Deactivate my account. I’m literally clicking it as I write this….and this is the disclaimer that comes up:

Before you deactivate, know this:

  • We will only retain your user data for 30 days and then it will be permanently deleted. You can reactivate your account at any point within 30 days of deactivation by logging back in.
  • You don’t need to deactivate your account to change your username or Twitter URL. You can change it on the settings page. All @replies and followers will remain unchanged.
  • If you want to use this account’s username or email address on another Twitter account, change it before you deactivate. Until the user data is permanently deleted, that information won’t be available for use.
  • Your account should be removed from Twitter within a few minutes, but some content may be viewable on twitter.com for a few days after deactivation.
  • We have no control over content indexed by search engines like Google.

*click* it’s now gone!

Step Six: Clean Up

I of course have apps on my iPhone that link into these two social networks. Simply hold down any one of your apps till they start jiggling around and hit the x on any number of apps you’d like off of your phone. This won’t delete them from your iTunes so maybe I’ll just have to get a droid and be done with it entirely (I have a total of zero love for iTunes, but that is another post for another day).

Step Seven: FREEDOM

I’m looking forward to the feeling of a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. I’m getting a bit of that feeling already with just the thought of me not going on there any more. So exciting!

I’d love to hear how you feel about this. Are you thinking of leaving? Have you left already? Do you think I’ve totally lost my mind? I’ll keep you all posted as I’m sure I’ll have some sort of crazy withdrawal symptoms or something.

Update: zero withdrawal, best decision ever!

Edit: If you’re thinking about leaving Facebook (as you should, what the hell are you still doing on that cesspool anyways?) Head over to this site and http://www.maketheswitch.me/ and follow the instructions.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2012 10:29 pm

    I agree with your mortgage broker. Deactivate the account but don’t close it.

  2. July 31, 2012 2:05 pm

    I am also going through this metamorphosis, thanks for the guide! I love the part about real life relationships, I never talk on the phone anymore, and neither do I go out much…sad really… ready for a life again!

    • July 31, 2012 4:04 pm

      Hi Tamara,

      I’m glad you’ve found it useful. I wish you the best in your facebook free adventures. 😀

      Shar

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