I joined Facebook way back in 2005, when it was only available to students at American colleges. As time progressed, I found it less and less useful. Increasingly, the information it served concerned people I did not know well, or stories that I did not care about. Though, I maintained the page, because, as my blog developed, Facebook served as an important channel to promote my work. My thinking on this topic began to shift in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. I found the discourse to become so hostile all around that I decided that I would only post material, but not respond to or engage in any comments. (Indeed, the WordPress blogging software automatically posted my content there, so I didn’t have to even log on). This proved to be a worthwhile strategy, for a time.
Then, on May 3, 2016, I decided to quit, cold turkey. That day, of course, was the Indiana Republican Primary. After that inflection point, I decided to leave the platform, for reasons you could imagine. But I did not deactivate my account. I simply logged out of Facebook on my computer, deleted the app on my phone, and promised myself never to log in. I did just that, and have not checked Facebook in over a year.
There were some things I missed. I missed that some friends were married, had children, moved, and started new careers. Though, if I do not speak to a person over the course of a year by other channels–phone, email, or text–I question how close I am to that person. In other cases, people contacted me on the Facebook messenger, and were irked I did not reply. (My email address is readily available). Other people were annoyed I did not approve their friend requests. In large measure, though, Twitter filled whatever void Facebook left. With communities like #AppellateTwitter and others, I did not find myself lacking, at all. Plus, with over 11,000 followers, my reach was far, far greater than it ever was on Facebook.
Today I deactivated my Facebook account. (I can’t figure out how to delete it permanently, so deactivation is the best option for now). It was a good twelve-year run, but its time had come.
This fall I will be launching some pretty cool new features involving video. Stay tuned.