Dear Facebook: You’re A Slut, And I Hate You, And I Deserve Better

Posted: September 21, 2011 in Culture, Random Thoughts, Technology
Tags: , , , ,

An Open Break-Up Letter*

It’s no secret, to the five people who occasionally land on this site before moving on to better things (like The Oatmeal) that I don’t like you, Facebook.

In the beginning, I wanted you, but couldn’t have you. You made me your bitch by staying exclusive; exclusive to everyone but me, it seemed. Then the invites began. I opened my email one day and there you were:

Oh thou deadly beast! What hast thou started-eth-eth?

Ah, youth. How innocent we all were back then. See profiles? I don’t know what that means**, but it sure sounds nice. Share photos? Hey that’ll give me an excuse to use that digital camera I bought last year.^ Connect with friends? You know, I’m awfully busy and, for the most part, if I’ve lost connection with someone, there’s probably a good rea…ah, what the hell. Could be fun.

Do you notice what’s not in that description? HEY! Don’t you walk away from me! I’m not done. What’s missing?

Yeah, that’s it. You forgot to mention all the time I’d waste taking quizzes, and poking people, and agonizing that they hadn’t poked me back, and playing Pirates VS Ninjas, and getting in touch with exes (stupid) and drunk posting on walls (really stupid) and throwing sheep out of sheer fucking boredom but I have no choice because all of my friends are on here so I have nothing to do in the real world. AHHHHHHHHH.

Thud.

Deep breath.

You agitate me, Facebook.

So I got in touch with people and that was good, and I wrote some maudlin crap and posted it on you, which was less good, and then there were all the privacy issues that I thought would break you but didn’t. And then there was the time suck… and the boredom. And I left you. For awhile.

But no one else did. You grew, in fact, and it wasn’t pretty:

Image Courtesy of The Oatmeal http://theoatmeal.com/comics/state_web_winter

But no one really seemed to mind those cute little love handles and soon, there wasn’t anywhere I could go without seeing evidence of your existence; the Like button at my favorite websites, the Facebook Connect invasion of every comment board. It was like you were stalking me, and it was kind of creepy.

But no one else thought so. And suddenly I had to make new friends, out in the wild hinterlands of Twitter. Which, for the uninitiated, can be a little scary. There are politicians on Twitter, and they don’t like it when you openly mock them.

But that was fun.

But also lonely.

So I came back to you, Facebook. And yeah, you’d changed. The Feed was better, chat was better, people weren’t training for Olympic sheep chucking anymore…and then you changed again.

And again.

And again.

Now I understand. You’re insecure, Facebook. And possibly schizophrenic. Any time anyone even hints that they might leave you, you either ban them, or undergo dramatic surgical procedures on your UI.

“I’m new again! Really, I’m new!” you cry. But less and less people care anymore. Probably because you’re starting to look like Goldie Hawn.

The problem with you, Facebook, is that there was never really any point to you. People came to you, set up tents, and encouraged their friends and family to do the same. Once they all had…well, at that point people started to make up things to do on you. That kind of freedom can go sideways in a hurry.

But you’re still growing. And changing. And pissing people off who then refuse to leave. You’re made up of 750 million people who all stay because, let’s face it, they’re terrified of what they’ll miss if they leave and all of their contacts stay. You’ve built the world’s largest harem of abused domestic partners. Well done.

I’m sorry, but I’m breaking the cycle of violence. Not all change is good, and one of these days I’m afraid you’re going to eat me in a petulant fit. You might get my friends in this breakup, you might not. Enough of them might come along and try a different service.

But I’m not willing to stay just because no one else is willing to go.

I’m not deleting my account; there are people who I care about who choose to interact primarily on your service and I’m not willing to lose touch with them. But I’m not going to be around all that often, anymore. The fact that you’ve stopped innovating and have started copying is enough evidence for me that there are better sandboxes to play in.

I’m gonna go find one.

Love,

The Walrus

*I know, who writes those anymore? Apparently 2006 is calling and it wants its meme back.

**Spy on your friends while drunk and either weep into your keyboard or plot bloody vengeance because you weren’t invited out last night. All you ever do is think of others, and they went and had a great time without you. Oh my God, why do I even put up with those bitc…? AAARGHHHHH

^Holy Hell. It takes the camera back to the store, or else it gets publicly called a whore. Who thought sharing photos amongst twenty-somethings was a good fucking idea?

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Comments
  1. On Monday morning, I posted that I was no longer going to update on Facebook. I’m leaving my account open so I can scan through friends’ postings occasionally, but I’m not interesting in generating even more marketing material for them.

    I got a bunch of questions about why I was leaving. My answer was similar to yours, except a lot less funny. I negotiate software contracts. In Facebook, we have a behemoth that’s not only not constant, it changes as often as it possibly can. Unlike most other sites, which have an occasional update when they’ve really sorted out their crap, Facebook likes playing switcharoo with every single aspect of its settings and interface as often as possible.

    I grew up in a “colorful” household. I like some predictability now. I really like knowing that I’m not going to have to revisit my privacy settings every other month because there’s been yet another change that’s reset portions of them.

    My only question now is, why did I wait so freakin’ long to leave something I don’t even like? Geez.

    • The Walrus says:

      It’s because the rapid adoption of Facebook makes us a slave to the habits of our friends and families. It has become the dominant means of connection for almost a billion people. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not, you’re on it.

      Also I think the switcheroo thing they constantly pull is their most evil and most brilliant marketing tactic. 1. People who use the service regularly wind up with a new learning curve and spend more time on the site figuring out the new features and 2. People who haven’t used the service in awhile see the outrage online (and it’s always outrage, which has to be on purpose) and check back in to see what all the fuss is about. Then they reconnect with friends and the cycle of addiction begins anew.

  2. The most annoying thing is that Facebook would not even let you delete your account. Believe me, I’ve tried… Your Facebook account lives forever…

    • The Walrus says:

      Well, you can deactivate it, and I think they have a “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT” account button that would mean, *you’d* never have access again, but I don’t think they’d ever give up your data.

      One day they’re going to sift through all of those drunk pictures and emo wall posts and realize they can’t actually sell any of it. On that day Zuckerberg will implode in a puff of wasted evil.

    • I love how even the delete account option is managed by Facebook, and that they don’t actually say: “We will delete this.” Rather, they say something ambiguous like, “We’ll take care of that for you.” Being a contracts person, that’s a telling redirect. Ugh.

  3. Anonymous says:

    i hav notting to do cos all my friend here … hahah thats really fun action

    • The Walrus says:

      Well, they say it takes brilliance to recognize brilliance sir, so….yeah, I see it every time I look in the mirror. 😀

      Except for when that bloody apple is floating in front of my head.

      Glad you liked it!

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