A couple of weeks ago I deactivated my Facebook account. This was in response to the whole "unethical disregard for human subject protocols" thing they did. (OK Cupid recently revealed that they did the same thing, including telling people they matched up with people they were actually not compatible with. I'm not in the market for an online dating service, but I'd be mighty pissed if I were.)
So what's my life been like without it? (Facebook, I mean. My life has always been without OK Cupid.)
Pretty much the same. Except I have one less place to get into pointless arguments, and I haven't seen very many pictures of my former students' children.
I always enjoyed the ability to maintain casual connections with people far away, and that was, for me, the biggest pro of Facebook. But it's outweighed by the negatives. I won't list them here--Google "why I should quit Facebook" if you're curious.)
But what about my writing career? Don't I need Facebook to build my platform and leverage my brand and stuff?
Nope. As I and many others have discussed in the past, the Facebook fan page mechanic is totally broken. Most of the people who liked my page weren't seeing anything I posted there, and I don't have the budget to pay Facebook to promote my posts. (Just so we're clear, they're within their rights to do this, but it just makes their product way less attractive to a lot of low-budget creative types.)
Facebook worked very well for me when I was running the Kickstarter campaign for Enter the Bluebird.
But the reason I think it worked so well is that it mobilized my friends and family, so I got a lot of support from people who, for reasons unclear to me, like me. Which I really appreciate and which I want to honor by not hitting them up too often. If I ever do another crowdfunding campaign, I'm going to have to try other means. I'm okay with this--again, the pros of having this option available to me via Facebook are outweighed by the negatives.
Something I have noticed--I wasn't spending tons of time on Facebook by any means, but quitting it does seem to have freed up some time for me. Mostly because I now have one less time-wasting option, so I have to get off the couch and do something.
Something else I've noticed, that I find a bit disturbing on a larger scale. A lot of people seem kind of resigned to taking Facebook's abuse.
I still think it's important to vote, but, more and more as we become a plutocracy, the greatest power we have as individuals is choosing where we spend our money. Or, in this case, choosing who we give our data to. If a company is doing something you don't like, take your money and your data and go elsewhere.