OK, so I’ve been busy. I’ve de-tagged myself from dozens of photos (only 3 are left), obsessively locked my privacy settings down so tight Houdini would’ve been proud, removed my contact info (address and cell number), and deleted all my game apps (only 3 total, all gone now).
It must be the decreasing moon, which creates an ideal environment in which to eliminate unnecessary or unhealthy things from one’s life, so I took the universe up on the offer. I combed through my “liked” pages (well over 600 in all) and I deleted well over 200. There are plenty left, sure, but gone are the marginal ones, the duplicate ones, the iffy ones, and the ones I couldn’t remember “liking” and thus had no significance. I thinned out all the app requests from friends – the smiles, the hugs, the hearts, and the game and cause invites. They’re sweet and I do appreciate the thought, but I’m now decidedly avoiding all Facebook apps except Who Deleted Me, which I keep around out of simple curiosity and ONLY because they don’t ask for too much personal info. I combed through my friends but couldn’t find anyone I wanted to delete, so I left that as is. I had already deleted my personal blog (yep, this one) from the website field and replaced it with our practice website.
So, now onto the next phase: disinformation. I changed my first name to my initials (which I could only do by hyphenating them in my first name, as Facebook is picky–dang near prickishly demanding–when it comes to names). Then I changed my birthday to my actual due date, which is 10 days earlier, and my birth year to 10 years earlier. I added my hometown, but entered the same city as that which I currently live in. This is partially true, on a certain level, because I do feel more at home here than I ever have living anywhere else.
I already spend somewhat less time on there, except to post useful links and a few status updates, and I don’t answer any quizzes. I’m insisting that all interaction be personal. And…yeah.
Butcher’s Bill thus far:
* 250+ “likes”
* 70+ group pages
* 1 group
* 15+ apps (blocked also)
* 150 game requests
* 85 app requests
* 3 games
* 5 “friends”
* Personal website
* Cell phone number
* Real birthday and year
* Real first name
* All but 3 tagged photos
* 5-7 apps blocked from newsfeed (past 2 days alone)
This feels *so dang good* it’s not funny. At first, I was a little hesitant to give up my favorite game, Castle Age. They probably could’ve kept me as a player, too, if the game hadn’t been so dang difficult (they were incredibly stingy with the energy recharging, the damage done to monsters, the progress made in quests, etc – it got to the point where it wasn’t worth the time). I grew to resent the games – their pop-ups, nagging, constant hints at giving them your email address, “favor” points (also known as reward points in Mafia Wars or “brownie” points in Sorority Life), the chaotic home screens, the constant demand for daily attention, the constant need to grow your following by nagging your friends to play, the requests and gifts people bombarded with with and then expected you to return, the strangers sending you friend requests, everything just got old. I grew to resent feeling like a rat tapping a bar for a pellet. The game developers hired sociologists and behaviorists to collect behavioral data to design the game around what we would put up with (pushing that to the brink, of course, but never quite crossing the line). And indeed I felt like I had been studied and then manipulated. Not only did I ignore every game request/invite, I blocked the app (although *not* the friend).
Then came the “like” and “group” pages. At first I was hesitant to do consider eliminating some of these, too, but the idea grew on me as I visited each one by one, using the recent content to guide my decision to remain a member or ditch the page. If the page was well-supervised and the content relevant and useful, I stayed. If it had been taken over by Acai salespeople and work-from-home scams, I left. There’s no need to have my name associated with that and run the risk of some scummy “fellow member” sending me Facebook spam or worse, somehow hacking into my account, hijacking my page, and stealing my info. Although I hadn’t wanted to give any up at first, as I agreed with the spirit in which the page was created, I realized that some of them had been semi-abandoned and had started to grow useless, choking weeds. See ya.
Folks, it was awesome. It’s been a long time since I’d done something so therapeutic. It literally felt as good as getting rid of real life clutter. I feel the same weightlessness and freedom, even though we’re only talking about digital cobwebs. However, I do feel mildly inspired to do the same thing at the office; I have plenty of test kits and lab company literature that will never see the light of day otherwise.