Saturday, 27 April 2013

I changed my mind

Nobody is going to believe this! I've just changed my mind about my accidentally-reprieved Twitter account, and my freshly-opened Facebook account. Yes, I've now permanently deactivated both. Yet again, you might say. In 30 days time (Twitter) and 14 days time (Facebook) both will be good for good, without any option of revival. And I made sure I followed the right procedure in each case.

Clearly there's more going on here than meets the eye. It's not simply that Facebook and Twitter seem to have no useful place in my life. I am obviously psychologically unable to tolerate them.

At this point I should mention the notion of 'virtual identity suicide'. Various papers have been written about it (see The gist of this is that having set oneself up on, say, Facebook, a subsequent deactivation - which might be entirely rational, or in contrast an emotional and impulsive act - can amount to a form of suicide in which one's online identity is obliterated forever. And I suppose that if you build your life around online networking of this type, it might well seem as if 'life is over' when you delete yourself and try to continue in a friendless vacuum.

I dare say that people who suddenly decide to end their blogs, and hide all trace of their past blogging, might also experience a similar kind of 'suicide'.

Well, I don't feel like that about my Twitter and Facebook accounts, because quite independently I have this blog, supported by my Flickr account, as a substantial Internet presence. I don't feel that my online persona has been snuffed out. No, Facebook and Twitter get at me in other ways. I'm very uncomfortable with them. And Facebook is the one that bothers me more.

# They are meant to be the modern thing, the modern way of meeting and communicating with people, and it's almost a convention to be part of both. But I dislike doing the conventional thing. My reaction to pressure, to entreaties to join in and be trendy, is to stay out of it.

# I don't like being part of any clique, or the member of any in-crowd. I much prefer to be an outsider.

# I don't like any kind of intrusion. I don't want to be tweeted or poked or otherwise bothered by frivolous reminders. I don't want silly things brought to my attention. Someone once said to me, jokingly, that I should join Facebook asap so that they could 'see what I was getting up to'. Absolutely not: I don't want anybody keeping tabs on me, thank you.

# Nor do I like the awkward feeling of looking in on other people's lives, out of the blue, without warning. It's an unhealthy kind of curiosity - checking up on people you might know but don't necessarily want to speak to, or link up with. Just to see how they are doing, what they look like, and who they know. It's a form of spying, and I don't want to be a spy.

# I have grave doubts about the privacy angle, and what redress there might be for any mistakes that make supposedly private details public. Well, none of course.

# And I have a nagging feeling that the ultimate purpose of Facebook, in its mature form anyway, is to exploit its members without compunction or remorse. In recent times, both Facebook and Twitter have acquired a commercial flavour (should one say taint?) and it's well known that the people who run them are trying to generate income in all sorts of ways. I for one am not going to play.

Basically neither 'feel right' to me. That's my gut feeling, and it's quite enough reason to ditch them without further elaboration.

If you absolutely love Twitter or Facebook, or both, then I have no problems with your enjoying them. But please count me out.


  1. I succumbed to entreaties to join fb by those who were getting too lazy to post full blogs.

    It is just a tool and people use it in different ways but it is too easy to end up living in a glass box where the whole world can see everything which you have said and done. It requires a constant check on settings for privacy which they have been known to change without warning.

    People are constantly sending requests to play inane games which you have to open all your personal information to the operators to play even when it is clearly not necessary so dark ulterior reasons have to be suspected, one click and you give them access to all your "friends" too...

    The final straw for me was the threat of all activity suddenly appearing on a visible "timeline", and every click which you had ever made had to be individually edited. Account deletion became the easiest option though not easily found.

    I never felt that I got really close contact with those who asked to be "friends", not my idea of friendship. Being a sensitive soul I posted that I would delete and very few responded which must tell you something. It was a great relief to be rid of, certainly not a suicide, I doubt that anyone missed me...

  2. It's good to know that I'm not the only one to feel better for excluding Facebook from my life! Several of my friends love it, and find it indispensable, and who am I to argue if they are happy, but I think it's a timewaster. I'm not so sure about Twitter, but even if it can be put to more serious uses, it's not for me.


  3. No Lucy you are not alone. I dislike both of them too that's why I never joined either of them and I never will. I use Google Chrome and for one insane moment I joined their Google+ scheme. I don't know if you understand what that is about but it's about forming circles of friends and sharing information much like Facebook. The circle gets bigger and bigger as friends of friends get connected/ I started to get linked to people I didn't know so I immediately came out of it. When asked why I was leaving (I was only on it for a week or two) I wrote that it was too intrusive. No, I don't want everyone knowing everything I am doing either!

    Shirley Anne x

  4. You can add me too. I've never had Twitter and have never felt the urge to tweet anything to anybody. As for Facebook, I've deactivated and reactivated it more times than I care to remember, but now it's under sentence of death and the 14 day clock is running.

    It surely cannot just be coincidence that Caroline, Lucy, Shirley Ann and I all have active blogs. At the risk of being shot down in flames, I suggest that it's a more creative web presence than Twitter or Facebook, needing a bit more effort and therefore all the more rewarding.


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Lucy Melford