Why I Quit Facebook
And Won't Join Google+
Or Any Other Social Network
Except LinkedIn,
Which Really Isn't A Social Network,
But More Like A Mailing List
Of Professional Contacts

Doug Brown
25 Sept 2011

Facebook didn't necessarily lie to us, but it repeatedly misled us, perhaps intentionally, perhaps not. It misled us about privacy, and about censorship. You've already heard plenty about privacy, but what's this about censorship? I'm referring to how you thought you were seeing everything posted by your friends, and it turned out you were only seeing what Facebook decided was of interest to you. We could debate intentions, but in the end somebody was deciding for you what you'd see, with or without your permission or knowledge.

Ok, so we supposedly know now what Facebook is doing, and we have a set of preferences we control. Why not just set the preferences and move on? I'm not going to because I don't trust them. I don't trust them to implement the controls correctly. I don't trust them not to mislead us again in the future. And I don't want to waste any more time fighting this battle.

Why so cynical? Because Facebook is a corporation, in existence to make money, and there are big bucks to be made by manipulating us. So they'll do it. And so will Google, and anybody else in the social network biz. To expect otherwise is to live in a fantasy world.

But, jeepers, it really is nice to be in touch with all those friends and family scattered across the country, and even world, isn't it? Indeed it is. I've enjoyed the past two years of virtual socializing, and will miss it. Wouldn't it be better to continue with Facebook (or one of the others), work around their privacy and censorship problems, and make the best of it? It's tempting, but in the end I think not. I think it's better to get off your butt, go out and find groups of people who share your interests, and meet with them face to face. Enjoy some real human contact.

As for keeping in touch with friends and family who live too far away, here's an idea. Once a year, perhaps at the Winter Solstice, write one or two pages about the past year, and email it to your friends and family. And send me a copy at doug[at]DougAndJean[dot]com.