Why I Choose to Leave Facebook

by Danny Zawacki

I joined on August 18th, 2006. I became friends with two of my closest friends within the month following. On June 20th, 2008 I entered into a relationship with Emily Meier. That relationship ended a little over four months later on November 5, 2008. I have documented photos of me singing, dancing and partaking in revelry. I’m in costume and underwear, jeans and a t-shirt. I liked baseball, movies, good clothes, fast cars, whiskey, and you. I flirted with girls every day of the week. I had my heart broken more times than it wasn’t. I learned every detail of your lives while you learned every detail of mine.

But now, I’m done with it.

I’m quitting. I’m deactivating. I’m going cold turkey. I’m getting over my fear of missing out. I’m forgetting your birthday only to remember it out of my own free will. You can forget mine and choose to remember it only if you care enough. I’m taking away your canvas of interaction with me. I’m taking away the publicity of our relationship, our friendship, our lives. I’m making my life more private. It’s not because I’m better than you, stronger than you, more hurt by this technology than you.

If you want to tell me something, call me. Email me. Text me. Write something down or print it out and hand it to me in person. I’m taking back my social life. I’m leaving our interactions to start interacting.

You no longer need to choose if you want to comment on a post or on my wall or send me a message or type it in chat. You can’t. I took your option away but I give you the option of doing it anyway, just elsewhere in a different way.

You might never speak to me again because of this but ask yourself, will it matter? When did you last speak to me? When did I last see you, face to face? Do I matter to you? Am I more than a number and a photo? Will you need the reassurance of your wit from me by clicking the four-letter word “Like”? If I were to die today, would it be any different for you than what I’m going to do?

I’m quitting Facebook. It’s been a long time coming and it’s only a small step towards where I think our society needs to go.

In truth, this is only a trial run which will last at least for the month of November 2011 but I’ll not speculate on when it will end. It’s indefinite.

What does this mean? It means, Erin Seiler and Lauri Zawacki, that I’m throwing in the towel. You’ve won the poke-wars. You’ve won at least until the day I return to Facebook. Consider this the time to set aside our arms and to bury our dead.

This means if you want me to know something, you’ll have to tell me personally. I will not hear your shouts to the world about your engagements, your babies, your deaths, your loves, or your anythings. If you feel like I’m worthy enough to know these private details of your life. Send me and email or pick up a phone. I’ll still use those.

What about the photos? How will I be tagged in photos? I guess I won’t. I remember the days when photos were a physical thing you held. The captions were on the back as were the date they were taken, though sometimes it was in obnoxious orange in the bottom corner of the photo. You want to tag me in a photo, print it out and write my name on the back. We can pass it back and forth and write comments on it if it makes you feel better and more comfortable. I can still be in photos, but I won’t be.

How will I know about events? I won’t unless you pick up a phone. I won’t know about your plans for a bar-crawl or baby shower or wedding because I won’t have the chance to say “Attending” or “Maybe Attending” or “Not Attending”. I won’t even have the option to stay in the limbo that is “Awaiting Reply”. I know it’s a lot to ask but I’ll be requiring personal attention if you want me present somewhere and I’ll make up the status of my intentions on a whim. For example, you email to let me know about a Wine and Cheese night you’re having, I’ll let you know that I can come pending the operation on my neighbor’s turtle. Stay tuned. It will be good fun for all of us.

And what about images and news and other links to the awesomeness that is the internet? The chances are, I’ve seen it or will see it through my daily browsing. If I don’t, the world won’t end. I’ll find something else to laugh at or be saddened by. If it’s really that damned important that I have to see it. Print the damned thing out. On paper. No one uses it as much these days so don’t feel bad if you go through a ream to communicate with me. If it really bothers you to use paper, I have email. You should have it. You should have my address. Ask if you don’t.

You won’t know when I poop. You won’t know when I’m happy or sad or discombobulated. My status will be relayed through the word of mouth. It will be on my face and worn proudly on my sleeve. There’s no need to refresh to see it and this server never goes down.

You’ll lose one friend in your count online but what is that in the real world? If it amounts to something, maybe you should join my crusade.

Don’t Panic. I won’t forget you. Well, I won’t forget most of you. I did my homework. I grabbed my information and I grabbed yours. I know your email addresses. I know your phone numbers and I know your birthdays. It’s in this great list in my email contacts which is sorted by names! Names, I say. I downloaded my messages to you and the messages you sent to me. If I’ve ever done something online or interacted with you in any way, I have it backed up. So feel free to ask me to remember that time you wrote that thing that three people liked. I will. And if I don’t, I can look it up.

You may be asking yourself, “Why is he doing this? Danny always seemed so involved with Facebook. I mean he’s been having a poke-war with Erin since 2006. That’s epic level.” Allow me to explain.

Part of my reasoning is selfish. I want my time back. In the month of November, I plan to take part in NaNoWriMo. I plan to win, unlike every previous year I’ve participated. In November, I plan to take 30 Days to be a Better Man. In November, I plan to do 3000 push-ups and 3000 sit-ups. In November, I plan on changing other major aspects of my life because I want to be a better person. For all that, I need the time that I would spend on Facebook. Facebook is a time suck. Nothing newsworthy happens on it so there’s no reason to live on it. If you have something that is truly newsworthy and you think I need to know about it, see methods detailed above.

Part of my reasoning is logical. Facebook has nothing to offer me. It’s stopped being innovative. All it has done for years now is collecting our data. I’m not scared about a company controlling the data I willingly gave to it, I’m just angry that it won’t willingly give it all up. It takes our data and it sits on it. It turns it into money. If you ask me, I think that means it should be a public company controlled by the users who care about it. Decisions can be made by the users who use it most. Users will decide its fate. But it’s not. It’s a money machine and those driving are driving through the night. If it’s going to keep taking my data, I want something in return. I want a reason to continue feeding them money. I want innovation. Everything they’ve added in recent years has only been a copy of something that came long before it. Chat? Remember ICQ back in the late 90s? Video? Skype. Email addresses? Enough said. I want a “Dislike” button. That’ll be innovative.

I will allow myself to say that the new timeline feature, yet to be released to the public at the time of writing, is a beautiful tool to keep track of what you’ve done with your life. But who needs that? I could talk to my Grandpa or my Grandma and ask them if they remember getting wasted at a party on June 11th fifty years ago and I’m sure they’ll say they don’t. What do you know? They’re still alive and they’ve forgotten about things they’ve done. Or if they haven’t forgotten and they’re just trying to shield me from the days they were young and wild, they’ve got a much easier job to do it than we do on Facebook.

Part of me has stopped caring about the site. Once, it was great for stalking the cute girl down the hall or your discussion section but now it’s gotten old. It’s the same reason Happy days is no longer on the air, no one wants to see a fifty-year-old guy hitting on chicks.

Facebook, it’s too late for you to fix your mistakes. Right now, I’m mad and I’m changing my relationship status to Single and I’m looking for Whatever I Can Get, as long as it’s not you. Maybe at the end of the month, I’ll come running back to you to cry into your abusive arms, but now I’m laying down the line.

Facebook, we’re done.

Lichtenstein Knockoff