About a couple of weeks ago, I ‘quit’ Facebook. It was a transient Friday social experiment moment, so I’m guessing not many people would have actually noticed.
Number of hours it took before someone noticed: Approximately Six.
Number of hours before I caved in and realized I couldn’t do a lot of things that I wanted to while doing a cold turkey: About a day.
By Saturday morning, I was back.
Nevertheless, the process was an interesting one.
Here is the lesson, if ever you feel the need to take yourself “off the grid”, deactivate your account, don’t terminate it.
Termination is permanent, deactivation less so.
Deactivation: What happens
When you deactivate your account, you lose all the settings in your applications (no one told me about that!), but for the most part, most of the other services are up and running within hours (as promised).
The steps (should you want to try it):
Settings > Account Settings > Deactivate account.
When you click on the Deactivate account link, that’s when things start to get really interesting. Some kind of algorithm is running in the background to generate the names of certain friends, and photos of you and them, saying that they will “miss you”.
From what I see, the first round of visual emotional blackmail persuasion aimed at getting you to change your mind seems to feature those people that have communicated frequently with you, and the second round (when Facebook wants to ask you if you are really sure about deactivating) seems to feature those who have most recently tagged you. Either way, they know the people who are likely to matter more to you or have recently been in touch, and they’re making full use of it. Or so I assume.
Then, they proceed to give very logical reasons to try and solve the general issues that might prompt deactivation tendencies.
Amusingly, I noticed they took away the “Facebook is causing too much social drama in my life option“, because I saw it on the web when I was checking out what exactly would happen when I deactivated my account. I suppose there is either no solution, or no logical reply that could solve social drama.
My little experiment was before the entire fiasco about the Facebook terms of service, so it’s nice to know that they’ve dedicated front page space to address this issue right now.
Getting booted out of Facebook
On the flip side, involuntarily being booted out of Facebook is not impossible either.
Apparently, some power users of Facebook have been kicked out of their accounts for various reasons, mostly related to the immense amount of activity that their networks generated, or for having too many friends (?). It seemed the system deemed the level of such activity incapable of originating from a single user, and booted them. Just for laughs, it seems that accounts linked to fake names (of animals) are not spared either.
The SNS of Choice
My experience at a college in North America was that Facebook event invitations are the norm. In Singapore, such a mode of communication is becoming increasingly accepted and trusted, although there are still the select few people who will wonder how credible an invitation is if it is through Facebook and not the traditional channels like snail mail, phone, or direct email.
This article by Louis Gray seems to highlight exactly how pivotal Facebook is right now, with the young and old alike adopting it as their social networking site of choice. Personally, at this point of time, I would have to concur.
As an address book, events calendar, communication channel and so much more all rolled into one, it is just starting to get increasingly difficult to live without Facebook. Is it the same for you? Leave your thoughts!