Facebook Without Facebook

I noted a couple of days ago that I was eyeballing my final days on Facebook and 48 hours later, I went ahead and pulled the plug. I now have only seven friends there (all of them family members), down from 600 or so at my peak, and I like and administer only two groups: Indie Albany and USNA ’86. Since I’m The Destroyer, obliterating this chapter of my life feels solidly satisfying, since nothing is worse than clinging to a community for longer than is seemly or healthy, especially when the proprietors of said community seem hell-bent on making it annoying and intolerable.

Facebook had a good run. But now, for me, it’s done. Like the Times Union Blog Portal, Upstate Ether, Upstate Wasted, Xnet2 Liste, Collider Message Board, Beef Log, Metroland, CompuServe RockNet, Cyber-Yugoslavia, Sounding Board, Orkut, Friendster, Classmates, The Flexible Tetragrammaton and many other online and media communities in which I’ve participated over the years. I will give Facebook credit for holding my attention longer than most interactive websites have done, so props to them for that.

Now, lest I sound like more of a heartless, sociopathic tool than I actually mean to be, I do want to note that it was great to re-establish connections with a lot of folks from years gone by via Facebook, and it’s great to still be in touch with so many people from most of those other, earlier groups as well. Here’s hoping that I’m able to keep in touch with many of them in the years ahead . . . but I’d just like to do it in a place where I’m not constantly on high alert to dodge rule changes, security breaches, hackers, crackers, stackers, attackers, spambots, spiders, crawlers and FarmVille players. Not to mention those creepily relevant advertisements on the right side of my page that made it very clear that, no matter what their printed policies said, Facebook’s marketeers were clearly data-mining my words and links to use against us, for their own profit.

So what’s the next step for me? I’m knocking around Google+ at the moment, with low expectations, though the platform looks clean and efficient, so maybe I will be pleasantly surprised there. I’ve got a sizable network on LinkedIn, and can always be reached there. And, as also mentioned earlier, I’m relaunching jericsmith.com, and Indie Albany continues to grow more robust and durable with each passing month. This platform has legs at this point, with a solid readership. Score one for the little guys and girls.

“But Eric,” I hear some hardcore, longtime Facebook devotees saying, “it’s just not the saaaaaaaaaaame here! Waaaaaaaahhhhhhh!”

Well, true, except that the only fundamental differences are the facts that Indie Albany won’t steal your photos and personal data, force you to look at advertisements, and change the rules of membership on you while you hang out here.

Don’t buy that? Okay, let me show you what I mean: here’s a rough estimation of what you would have seen from me tonight had I hung out of Facebook instead of being here . . .

**********

9:06 PM: I can’t decide which is scarier: clowns or mommy-bloggers.

9:23 PM: Dear House of Representatives: Isn’t it time that we let the grown-ups drive the car for a spell, since we’re getting perilously close to the cliff? Signed, Your Employer.

9:45 PM: I think I just saw a mommy-blogger with a balloon in the sewer grate in front of my house.

9:56 PM: Tragic Mulatto were easily the greatest ’80s band that nobody but me seems to remember and love. The final song from their final album. Requiescat In Pace.

10:26 PM: A mommy-blogger just offered me candy to get in her white panel van with no license plates. I asked her if the candy had caramel in it. It did, so I said “no thank you.”

10:40 PM: Wait! Maybe Human Sexual Response were the greatest ’80s band that nobody but me seems to remember and love. It’s tough to top “Land Of The Glass Pinecones.”

10:58 PM: Q: How many mommy-bloggers does it take to change a light-bulb? A: Two, one to change the bulb, and one to post a photo of the big boy doo-doo that L’il Sproutman Bunkum Doodle proudly left in the poo-poo pail this afternoon. Yay!

11:12 PM: Being Nice . . . You’re Doing It Wrong.

11:28 PM: Dear House of Representatives: Isn’t it time you set aside partisan differences and did something worthwhile, like putting a cap on the number of mommy-bloggers allowed in the country? Signed, Your (Terrified) Employer.

**********

Okay . . . that’s pretty much what I likely would have posted on a typical Facebook evening. Underwhelming when the Emperor’s clothes are stripped from the words, right? But why does it feel that way, really, since now you can respond to those words and links just like you can on Facebook? There’s a place here where you can comment on my little bon mots of inane wisdom, and there’s a “like” button on the comment page that you can push if you’re so disposed, and there’s an RSS feed subscription, so my piffle and tripe can be delivered in real time, and there’s eight other bloggers here at Indie Albany, so our “wall” will always have variety on it, with multiple voices offering multiple posts and perspectives.

We might not help you hook up with your third-grade crush, and I’m not going to become a billionaire here, but beyond that, we’re as fully functional as we need to be.  So I think that my group blog and personal blog will do just fine for me from a social networking standpoint for the foreseeable future . . . and here’s hoping that others agree.

18 thoughts on “Facebook Without Facebook

  1. *snicker*

    I’m not quite ready to give up Facebook yet, and I’m really not sure I like/want to learn Google+, but still. Funny.

    Especially about the mommy-bloggers.

    I have too many Facebook friends who would be offended by similar comments.

    Maybe that’s my problem.

    • My sister and sister-in-law shared a Facebook link to a particular mommy-blogger recently who literally made me want to go out and punch a stranger in the head just to set the universe back into its proper order. As big dudes go, I’m pretty well in touch with my feminine-creative-sensitive side, but there’s a point beyond which I JUST . . . CAN . . . NOT . . . GO . . . and, wow, do mommy-bloggers as a caste seem fury-bent on reminding me where that boundary lies!

    • While I’m thinking about it, I’d like to offer this public service announcement to dudes who accidentally get sprayed by mommy-blogging . . .

      You should IMMEDIATELY report to the Bad News Hughes Archives for the most potent anti-mommy-blogging remedy currently available on the Internet . . .

      Start here: http://badnewshughes.blogspot.com/2005_12_01_archive.html

      Then go here: http://badnewshughes.blogspot.com/2005/04/camping-is-awesome-hanna-park-located.html

      Then start randomly foraging around the archive column on the right. In no time at all, the world will make sense to you again, and you’ll forget that recipe for a placenta milkshake that you saw, or the fact that there is something in this world called a “mucus plug” . . .

      Don’t thank me. Just spread the word.

  2. You’re dead to me.

    I’m sticking around Facebook for now because I have no other place to get adorable pictures of my nephews on a daily basis. Otherwise I’d be right with you.

    I will say, though, that for all its faults, the “Hide updates from ____” function is a Godsend.

    • Yeah, when I got to the point where there were more people in my “Hide Updates” list that out of it, that’s when I first started thinking “Uh . . . why am I choosing to spend time being annoyed here?”

      And I get the family reasons for staying at Facebook . . . my seven remaining friends are all nieces and nephews and cousins and siblings who I probably wouldn’t hear much from outside of there.

      Now . . . why you stay at that OTHER place I left last year is beyond me . . .

  3. Still waiting for one of the privacy-centered Facebook alts to get some lift, and then I’ll be right there with ya, but for now I’ve decided that, as with the telephone and snail mail, I have to take the good with the overwhelming piles of bad.

  4. Eric,
    I totally get dropping out of Fakebook. When I got a friend request from my 5th period highschool study hall teacher I said, “Really?!? That is more than a little creepy.” I have a few “friends” from highschool that I honestly don’t remember at all. I too make liberal use of the hide updates function because frankly, I just don’t care what your clever little quip of the day is or that you are “…still pumped from your awesome weekend at the beach!”

    I maintain my account because like Carl said I take the small good with the overwhelming load of crap that comes with it. It has allowed me to recoonect with a few people that I never thought I would see or hear from again. Glad you are still out there doing your thing.

    Jim

    • Once the Dead Horse and Slime Jones Fan Club pages were shuttered, it was all downhill from there for me . . .

      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go get pumped for my awesome 2 PM meeting . . .

      (Great to hear from you!)

      E

  5. For now, I’ll stick with facebook to primarily maintain the WOHS Class of 1984. I’m interested in Google+ and my professional crew who are clearly “linkedin.” I think it’s all a trade-off for what works for the masses in roles we support. I’m flexible and expandable. I’ll look forward to seeing you here as I add this site to my ever-expanding network of drive-bys, test-drives, standy-bys and otherwise guilt-by-social media commitments.

  6. I do hope, considering I’m a mommy and a blogger (though not necessarily a “mommy blogger”), that I haven’t contributed to your angst. Or inspired you to want to punch a stranger in the head… 😉

    However, I’m guessing that because I swear far too much, ooze cynicism and don’t breastfeed my 9- and 11-year-olds, I may not fit tidily into that box.

    I’m on the ledge with Facebook too. Just waiting for someone to give me a swift shove from behind. Perhaps you can send a clown or a mommy blogger my way?

    • Nah, if you were a Mommy-blogger of the particular Phyla that terrifies me, Mikalee, you’d not be listed over there in the Links are Linking section . . . you’re more of the Excellent-Story-Teller-Blogger Phyla . . . when I see one of your posts go up, I know I have to get a glass of wine and hunker down for the good stuff . . .

  7. Yeah I axed about 120 facebook “friends” about a week ago. I made a post about clearing house with a youtube link to the song Dragonaut. I’m down to about 58 people, consisting of people I actually talk to, and family members. Oddly enough, I kinda felt bad about it the next day. Whatever, I’m just itching to shutter my FB account all together.

    • When I cut from 600 to 100, I re-accepted anybody who reached out to re-friend or ask “Why did you drop me?” . . . but that was about 20 people over six months, so cutting back the next level to just family members was a bit easier, having gone through that interim step, and realizing that the vast majority of people there don’t care all that much about whether I’m friends with them or not . . .

    • I dunno, dude . . . I think Carrie Fisher’s on the market again, and I’m pretty sure you could take Paul Simon in a mano a mano duel, if not . . . I’ll show you how to do the ear-tearing-off thing, if that would help. You’re on your own, though, if Jabba the Hutt shows up . . .

  8. I’ve viewed Facebook as a net good, but only because it’s enabled me to regain contact with a couple of old friends I hadn’t seen in years, and keeps me sort of up-to-date with a few far-flung family members and friends. For the most part, though, I’ve discovered after reconnecting with some people why I allowed myself to lose touch with them in the first place. Another of life’s litle learning experiences, I guess…

  9. Pingback: Facebook Without Facebook (Part Two) « INDIE ALBANY

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