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 http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cyber.2012.0323).
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
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
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.