I conveyed in my last blog post about how, over the past decade, I’ve watched the evolution of Facebook go from a quirky fun way to stay connected online to a behemoth advertising machine where I read an onslaught of misspelled memes telling me how wrong my opinion is if it isn’t the same as your opinion.
NOTE: I’m scouring through my Facebook history and the end of March marks ten years since I signed onto Facebook. I’ve been socially “social” on the Bookface since my mid-thirties.
Today I read another story about the whole Cambridge Analytica fiasco. Now, for years I’ve pointed out that I don’t really care about what I share online since my meager existence consists of pop culture, food, and nothing of Earth shattering importance. There is a fine line, however, between that and the understanding that my online info is being cultivated passively for purposes I’m not entirely onboard with.
I wrote that first half of the entry yesterday (above the line) and never finished it because, quite frankly, I couldn’t articulate a full solution to the problem then. I can now, though, so here’s an abridged version:
- After ten years, Tom decides Facebook is an advertising tool and not a “social” network. Additionally, he discovers that time spent on Facebook is better spent back on his blog… a much more contained record of his online life.
- Tom decides to delete his Facebook, but can’t do it summarily since there are business assets (Pages & Groups connected to Green Mustard Entertainment, Inc.) linked to it. Tom devises a plan to build a second Facebook to migrate these elements over to before deletion.
- Tom backs up and downloads ten years of info from his Facebook. 2.01 gigs of data.
- Tom builds a second Facebook and starts the migration. Facebook flags the account and shuts it down for two weeks to confirm he’s “real”. Tom has to send in his photo I.D. and other elements to convince them he’s an actual human.
- Tom migrates a couple of pages over to the new account (finally active again) and sets up an advertising account to run ads.
- Facebook promptly freezes the advertising account for a couple of weeks. Tom has to prove he’s a real boy again.
- During this time, Tom remembers that his original Facebook is directly connected to his late father’s Facebook.
- Tom creates PLAN B.
PLAN B (and how it impacts YOU)
As of this writing, about 70% of my Facebook has been deleted. I have a bot that is systematically going through my entire history and removing the “guts” of my profile and history. After this is complete, I will have to scour through other settings and details to scrub additional information. Then, there will be a mass “unfriending” on Facebook. Please note that this WILL take weeks. Here’s what will remain:
- ADVERTISING: I will have the advertising purchase history from all of the Green Mustard Entertainment, Inc. pages intact and the original ad account. This will make it easier to maintain since the data, payment info, and original demographics already exist.
- FAMILY: I will keep my immediate family (aunts, uncles, nephews, etc.) linked to the account. This is solely for the purpose of not explaining some of this to some of them. (This doesn’t mean I will see them, though, since I will hide most updates.)
- STAFF: Anyone who is active staff for GME’s events (i.e. they are in the hidden group on Facebook for our event discussions) will remain. Again: Facebook is now a work tool. I can’t escape it, but I can minimize the hell out of it. (Again: doesn’t mean I’ll see updates.)
- BLOOM COUNTY: I will keep subscribed to Bloom County because I can and I want to.
- OTHER PAGES: I will like and subscribe to pages for events and companies that GME does work with.
- UPDATES: The only updates I will be making to the account will be an autoupdate whenever I write a new blog post. That way my life’s narrative moves back here and away from Zuckerbergland.
- FOLLOW ME PART 1: You will still be able to “tag” me in photos and comments. This will remain intact since I belong to many work related groups where news and information is shared and sometimes these elements need to be brought to my attention.
- FOLLOW ME PART 2: I still use Facebook Messenger. (My second choice after Messages on my iPhone.) So feel free to add me there.
- FOLLOW ME PART 3: I know that my jumping ship from Facebook doesn’t mean “the end” of Facebook. Most of you will still be there, content with what it has to offer – which is cool. Just because I’m done with it, that doesn’t mean that there’s still not a ton of value for everyone still using it. There’s just no more perceived value for me. BUT, I will make sure that you can still keep up with things if you feel so inclined (and if Facebook’s algorithm allows you to.) Here’s what to do:
If you go to www.facebook.com/tomcroom you should see the Follow button. Click it.
PLAN B (away from Facebook)
As I pointed out earlier, this transition will take weeks so you might be reading this well into the process. (I plan on contacting people as I drop them; not just disappearing into the night.) I will also be phasing out Snapchat (personal, not the work accounts) too – but only the Snapchat users will notice that. (They, too, will get notified.)
My online social life will consist of the following going forward:
- My Blog. You know, the one you’re reading now.
- Instagram. Yeah, I know Facebook owns it, but I like the platform much better. Sure, there’s still ads – but it’s simple to scroll and interact. I get more value from my time spent there since it’s visual.
- Twitter. I like Twitter. It’s flawed (no social network is perfect) but I like the simplicity of it.
That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for you patience and tolerance of my online eccentricities.