Friday, September 17, 2010

Why I Quit Facebook

If you lost me as a friend on Tuesday, don't be too alarmed. We're still friends, just not on Facebook.

When I first started using Facebook it was such a blast. I caught up with people I hadn't seen in years. Friends from high school and college. People I used to work with. Cousins in other parts of the world. It was amazing to be able to connect with all these people who had been a part of my life.

And then of course there were the games. Word Twist. Word Challenge. Word Whomp Derby. (Notice a pattern here?) Yeah. I was sucked in. Big Time.

A few writers started sending friend requests and because I knew them from conferences or from blogging, I approved them and had fun getting to know them better.

But then I started getting requests from people I didn't know. Some were writers, and I guess they could have been friends of friends, but I had no connection them. We didn't read each other's blogs. We hadn't met in real life. It felt weird. Because I had personal stuff on my Facebook page. Pictures of my kids, photos of me with friends from school, pieces of my life that were never meant to be on view for the entire world to see. I stopped posting as much, thought twice before I put up any pictures.

There are plenty of people that I've struck up virtual friendships with and I had no problem friending them on Facebook. It was kind of fun to see them as more than just a smiling head on the side of my blog or a name in my inbox. But complete strangers? I wasn't trying to build a fan base or network. I was just connecting with friends and family. Knowing that random people wanted access to that, finding out that strangers could see my photos even if we weren't friends, it felt wrong. So I quit.

I don't miss it yet. I might go back at some point, with a personal page for my friends and family, and an author page where total strangers are perfectly welcome. But for now, Facebook and I are done. Friends who want to stay in touch will have to do it the old fashioned way.

By email.

28 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

When I started up on FB, it was because my friend from England had kind of roped me into it. At first I friended people I knew. But then I started to use it for social networking. And then I stopped using it. Period. Okay, I didn't stop completely. I have several writer friends in my city, and we connect though the private message function (not that I know how to set up a discussion). That's the only time I use it. Oh, sure, I accept friend requests, but I don't actually read anybody's comments/messages. I don't have time. I prefer Twitter, instead. :D

Beth Kephart said...

I love the bold, forthrightness of you. You will have more time. You will use it well.

Theresa Milstein said...

I've had a similar Facebook journey, but I don't mind the strangers. In fact, I've found some great blogs that way and made some new writer friends.

But I haven't forayed into Twitter.

Christine Fonseca said...

A lot of people feel as you! Go Sherrie!!!

Candyland said...

I couldn't go without FBook! I could lose Twitter and be fine though.

Laura Pauling said...

I understand. I've kept FB very separate from my writing world. And I'm rarely on it. I can authors having a fan/author page to keep the personal separate. But privacy on FB is a big issue. Like you said, you can always go back.

Jennifer Shirk said...

There are games on FB?

I didn't need to know that. LOL

But yeah, I see what you mean. I've been very careful not to post any personal pictures there.

KarenG said...

Why my husband quit facebook-- he started getting friend requests from friends of our teenage son, and since he's a nice guy he always said yes, and now all of a sudden he's this old guy who is friends with teenage girls in the neighborhood and feeling like there's something kind of creepy about that. So he quit.

Corey Schwartz said...

I know exactly what you mean. I tried to keep Facebook for personal connections and Twitter for professional ones, but it seemed like no one was cooperating with that plan! Finally,I just gave up and accepted it.

Laurel said...

Right now I only FB friend folks I know in real life, for the reasons you mentioned. Sometime later this year, I plan to start a separate author account that won't have as much personal stuff on it (and won't be the place where total strangers can ply my relatives for dirt about me. LOL.)

Kristan said...

I totally understand. I had this dilemma too, although I solved it differently. Since I figure someday I'll be inundated with billions of requests daily (from fans, of course! ;P) I don't mind approving some people that I don't know. But I have now put everyone in lists (basically Family, Close Friends, Acquaintances, Other) and only Family and Close Friends can see the personal stuff. Everyone else gets a limited profile, that I think is friendly (it's got my blog on there after all!) but not *too* personal.

At some point I need to private-ize my Flickr account that way too... Urgh.

BUT quitting cold turkey is so admirable! Rock it, lady!

Clarissa Draper said...

Because I accept everyone. I don't put personal things on facebook. I keep my writing life and my personal life separate for the sake of my children.

CD

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I opened a FB account a long time ago and then never set up the page. I'm just not comfortable with the way it operates. I like blogging and the people I meet that way. Friends and family I email and phone.
I'm glad to hear you did what felt right for you.

Tere Kirkland said...

That's why I don't Facebook. I never MySpaced, either.

Like Tricia, I like blogging, because I feel like I'm meeting strangers who have similar interests to my own.

Do you know there's a movie out about the guys who invented Facebook and the other guys who stole their idea? Saw a trailer at the movies last night.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I got on Twitter first and liked it. Then I found that the more people I followed, the less I could keep up with my friends.

Moved over to FB and thought - this is what Twitter should be. I was happily posting and liking and accepting most of the people who wanted to connect. I didn't post pictures. I refused to play the games. Then FB had all these privacy issues and I had no time.

Found TweetDeck. Yay. Organized Twitter. Very nice. Now I'm tweeting more and hardly ever on FB. And I'm tweeting for SCBWI-L.A. too, all from the same TweetDeck page.

But they're all - including blogging - taking too much time and I'm scaling back. Again.

lotusgirl said...

I can totally understand. I've been really particular about who I let on facebook and only allow real friends (this does include certain blogging friends that I've known for a while). If I don't know who the person is, I won't friend them. I love it because it helps me keep in touch with my enormous extended family and my friends and I don't want to lose that, so I keep it pretty private. I never have done the games or any of that. I do love the flair though.

Anne R. Allen said...

I'm with you on the whole Facebook thing. Creeping creepiness. Repeated suggestions to "friend" a toxic ex, then a whole lot of friend requests from pyramid-marketers and motivational speakers from other parts of the country. Ads on my home page for hotels in London because I'd just been researching European travel for a character.

Big Brother is watching, and he's a bully.

I'm still on FB, mostly to get family photos and the schedules of local bands. But I don't put up anything personal, ever.

Susan R. Mills said...

I have a personal Facebook account. I'm friends with a few other writers, but I always ignore friend requests from people I don't know.

Anna said...

I think that makes a lot of sense. I've been pretty disinterested in FB recently anyway, and I've also had random people friending me. I know FB can be a great place for writers, but, as others have said, I find Twitter much more fun.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I enjoy fb. It took me a little while to be ok with the stranger thing, but I'm fine with it now. I have a regular page and a fan page. As for twitter, could leave without that.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Oh... and I definitely spend way too much time of fb playing games. I should really stop the game playing.

Casey McCormick said...

I have privacy lists. Anyone I add that isn't family or a friend I know well is put on my "limited" list and can't see any of my personal stuff.

It still makes me nervous though, so eventually I'm going to take down the photos of my kids and all that and start a new account with my married name for posting pictures of kids and all that.

It's such a weird thing to navigate though, isn't it?

Elaine AM Smith said...

I can understand why you came to this conclusion. I work hard on the Blog to never name my children :s

Robin Mellom said...

I can totally understand, Sherrie. I've felt the same way. I'm liking the idea of "lists" like people have mentioned...sounds like work, though. ;)

When people I don't know ask to friend me, I actually click through to their page first and try to figure out WHY they've asked. Are they book readers? Writers? Teachers? If there's not enough info on them, I don't accept.

I've also taken down a lot of my family pics. Are you on twitter?

Kari said...

Yeah, this is why I keep my Facebook page private...This is definitely not something I want to have happen!

Lori W. said...

I made the lists, too, which took time initially, but is easy now. Complete strangers who've added me via other writer friends go onto a list where they see nothing more than my profile picture and basic interests. They can choose to unfriend me if that bugs them, but right now, I still have pics. of my kiddos up and friends who post pics. of vacations we take, etc. I'm sure these writers didn't add me to see those, but more to be able to share professional activities. I don't have a separate FB that. Someday maybe. :)

Dawn Simon said...

I've been avoiding Facebook, assuming I'll eventually jump in. My biggest issue is time. What you said makes sense. I'll take notes on friends' experiences so I can learn from you guys. Thanks for sharing.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Totally understand! And I did just that - I have a separate personal FB page and an author FB page. I have several friends (both writers and not) on both pages, but when I get a request from some writer that I don't know through blogging or otherwise, I refer them to my author page.

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