Sunday, September 25, 2011

Deleting Your Facebook Account: What Price Freedom?

The recent changes to Facebook have a lot of people's panties in a lot of bunches. This is nothing new since it happens every time Zuckerberg decides to poke his ant farm and watch us scurry about in rage or confusion. So what makes this time different? Well this time he may have pushed more people to the brink than before due to concerns over privacy, and even forcing aesthetic changes upon the masses.

Only this time there's a legitimate alternative.

Personally I've had enough of Facebook. Honestly it's nothing personal against anyone. It's not even a religious, political, or ethical issue with me. After watching Zuckerberg announce the coming changes at F8 this year I realized something that may have sunk int to others long ago but just recently dawned on me like the sun on the first day on the Genesis planet they launched Spock to. Facebook wants us to basically live our lives on Facebook. Motherzucker...

That's not me. As much as I love Google+, I'm not going to live my life there either. I'm not going to post pictures of my birth, first tooth, first zit, first girlfriend, graduation, fifth girlfriend, wedding day, honeymoon, sixth girlfriend, divorce proceedings...blah, blah, blah. I'm going to post interesting things, meeting interesting people, learn interesting things from interesting people, and be entertained. I'm going to be social.

So it's come to this for me: deleting my Facebook account. Sorry Aunt Shirley I won't be there to help you raise your second barn or earn that rare Pink Cow that gives strawberry milk on Farmville. If you want to get ahold of me CALL ME ON THE PHONE! Barring that you'll find me haunting Google+.

If it's come to this for you too and are ready to embark on the long, arduous, and frustrating journey that is Deleting Your Facebook Account, then I encourage you to read on. Be warned it's not for the faint of heart.

Thankfully there's only 5 steps...
Step One: Admitting You Have a Problem
Okay that's not actually step one, but it sounded funny in my head. Actually step one is realizing there is a big difference between "deleting" your Facebook account and "deactivating" your Facebook account. Deactivating simply says, "I'm going on a Facebook haitus. I may not be back for months but for god's sake please don't delete my information!". Once you deactivate your account you can log back in at any time and it's like you never left. Honestly I'm not exactly sure how this is different from just not coming around any more.

To delete your account you may wish to download your personal information from Facebook such as photos, contact names and email addresses, etc. Go to your Account Settings page and click the "Download a copy of your Facebook data" link to begin the process.

Step Two: Cut the Cords to Facebook
One of the features of your Facebook account is it's ability to bind itself symbiotically to  other web sites and applications. This makes it handy for you to "Like" things or log in and post comments as your Facebook-self rather than creating new accounts and identities all across the Internet. This becomes a problem when you decide you want to delete your Facebook account because these web sites and applications weren't involved in that decision so they have no clue your account login is about to go Tango Uniform. The unfortunate solution is that you must go to each of these web sites and unlink your Facebook account from that web site. I say this with all sympathy and no amount of bitter sarcasm: have fun and good luck.

Step Three: Tell Facebook to Delete Your Account
Once you've unlinked your Facebook account from all web sites and applications, and you're happy that you've got everything off Facebook that you can't stand to lose, you can give Zuckerberg the bird by following this link:

Screw you Zuckerberg!

Once you click the "Submit" button on that page you will still need to summon your Egyptian hieroglyphics training to type in the subsequent Captcha. The light of freedom will be dangled before your eyes provided you can pass one final test of strength and endurance, which brings us to Step Four.

Step Four: Stop Using Facebook
The final caveat to sending your Facebook account into oblivion is that your account will be deleted after 14 days provided there is no activity. None. Zip. Nada. Remember when you disconnected your Facebook account from all those web sites in step two? It should now become a bit clearer as to why. If you missed any, and you accidentally hit that "Like" button, or one of those apps or web sites logs you in with your Facebook account within the next 14 days, guess what? Your account gets reactivated and you get to start the whole process over again! Whee!

If you're lucky you haven't bothered to link your Facebook account to too many web sites, apps or devices (check your smart phone!). If you're not so lucky you should realize that this probably won't be the first time you'll run through this process of deleting your account. You will earn this. Like John Miller's dying words to Private Ryan....earn this.

How can we be sure we're
Step Five: Rejoice in the Warm Sunshine of Freedom
Once you've endured Zuckerberg's 14 Day Test of Willpower and Endurance, you should be free. Like a prisoner who's cell has been opened after years of confinement, your first few steps may be cautious and uncertain. Am I really free? For many people their first inclination is to go back to Facebook and try and log in to see if it was all just a horrible nightmare or if they really are free. Was that 14 "business days"? Do they count weekends and holidays? My suggestion to you? Wait a few more days just to be sure. :)

In Closing
If these steps worked for you and your Facebook account is but a fading memory, I congratulate you. Since you came to the decision on your own to delete your Facebook account and proved your determination by traversing the gauntlet of surgically removing your account from sites, apps and devices, it's safe to assume that you hopefully won't be missing it terribly. On the other hand if social networking was a big part of your life, you may go through varying degrees of withdrawals. Should you find yourself getting lured back by friends and family, just remember what you endured to break free, and invite those friends or family members out to dinner instead.

Or just give them a link to Google+.



No comments:

Post a Comment