Friday, March 12, 2010

My message about leaving Facebook

This is my message about leaving Facebook. I had to send it to all my Facebook friends in groups of 20 because that's the most you can send to at a time. Which I guess is supposed to prevent spam somehow.

Dear all of my Facebook friends,

I will tell you all why I am leaving Facebook, but first, a story about the mayor of Chicago.

A few years ago Mayor Daley took bulldozers to the runway at Meigs Field and created a park in its place. It's a pretty good place to go running, and supposedly a decent concert venue. Has some prairie plants on it, can't argue with that. But the act of bulldozing the runways was a bald abuse of power. It was done overnight without warning anyone and stranded several aircraft at the site. People recognized that it was wrong and ranted about it for, oh, a couple days or so. Four years later he was re-elected in a landslide. Apparently Daley does enough other things well that people are willing to overlook seriously unethical behavior and vote for him. And you just know that because there are no consequences to his bad behavior he'll do whatever he wants to maintain and excercise his power.

A few years ago Facebook created the Beacon program, which would place your name and face in advertisements targeted at your friends. People were angry. They were concerned about privacy implications, for one. And, for my part, if any company wants to use my face in an ad, implying that I endorse their product, they had better have an agreement with me first, preferably one that pays me a lot of money. Otherwise it's a false representation of my endorsement. So people ranted about it for, oh, a couple days or so. And almost none of them quit Facebook. Because it does enough things well. Because quitting Facebook means leaving their friends. And you know, because Facebook said as much in a press release, that they'll try to do the same thing again and present it differently to avoid the controversy. Because no matter how badly they mess up, no matter how mad people get, they won't leave.

I hadn't even left Facebook. Not until today. I know I don't always do a great job keeping up with my friends and I thought Facebook helped me with that. But it turns out that's not true. I have this wide network of superficial Facebook friends that I barely know. Some I honestly couldn't pick out of a police lineup. It doesn't really do me a whole lot of good. And I truly believe that there should be consequences for how Facebook has used its place in our social lives.

So I want to break the spell. I know I'm not leaving any of you by leaving Facebook. Maybe I've already left you, and you're just a name in my Friends list. It happens. Or maybe we truly have things to say to eachother, and we should do it on email or something. Leaving Facebook doesn't change that, either.

Email is the best way to get in touch with me. My email address is (redacted to prevent spam; if you post a comment to my blog I'll probably read it) .

I don't want to tell you how to live your life, but if you look it over and are tired of Facebook, send out a note like this to all your FB connections and quit the site. You can use any of my text that you like. Dump the scummy timewasting marketing trap that is social networking!

Meanwhile, it just happens that Mark Zuckerberg was caught breaking into people's email using info from Facebook in the early days. What a scumbag! Seriously, when you visit Facebook all you do is make this guy richer:

With love, from Wyoming,
Al Dimond

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