For the new year, I’m deleting my Facebook account. I won’t rehash the reasons in details, but the short of it is that Facebook is incredibly good at following people everywhere they go on the internet, and it warps the web into merely a network for selling you stuff and selling access to your eyeballs. Facebook has an enormous amount of power, and has proven that it can’t be trusted with that power. Deleting my account is one of the few ways I can push back. The more people that do this, the less completely Facebook can claim to be the be-all-end-all of social networks, and the easier the choice to leave will be for the next person.
Deleting my account isn’t an easy choice, because I really do value Facebook’s core feature of connecting me with people I know and like and love. That’s why I think it’s important to find and focus on other ways of staying connected.
I’m going to try out one way of staying connected: the open source, decentralized social network software Diaspora. I’ve set up my own server — diaspora.ragesoss.com — and I hope to build back at least some of my digital connections there. (The basic idea of Diaspora is that it’s a social network where the users are in complete control of the software. Anyone on one Diaspora server (a “pod”) can make connections with friends on any other Diaspora server, so it doesn’t really matter which one you call home. But since I know enough to run a server myself, I want to give it a spin!)
Please join me, and try to make something work that isn’t Facebook! Email me — email@example.com — if you want an invite. It’ll be quiet at first, but I’ll try to post updates about me and my family to get updates flowing.
The other thing I’m aspiring to do, since I’ve download all my Facebook data, is to go through everyone on my Friends list and send a personal message to as many people as possible, to let friends know what they mean to me (and to invite them to try out a non-Facebook social network along with me).