Goodbye, Facebook. I am sorry to have to leave you. I really did try to work it out. I believed in your promise in the beginning. At least, I believed that you could be a helpful tool in connecting with my family and friends. Initially I was so happy to find a way to share pictures and life events with my geographically distant relatives. I looked forward to the new pictures of a sibling’s trip, or my parents table at holiday I couldn’t attend. It was also fun when I reconnected with friends from college, and even high school. I got a kick out of finding out where they lived and what they were doing. I even liked the opportunity to wish people a happy birthday and each year I counted how many birthday greetings came to me. You were an easy and fun way to extend my relationship circle.
The problems began when it became popular to share news and political views on-line. At first it was just slightly annoying as I feel I read enough new sites already and it was redundant to have my feed fill up with other people telling me what I should read. Initially that was easy to ignore, but these posts grew like crabgrass. From a distant it looks innocuous, but it takes over. I appreciate that people want to engage in political and social issues, I just didn’t want it here. I wanted you to be a calming place for me to visit in my already hectic life.
I almost left you many times before. Usually after I reads inflammatory comments from people I respect. Your comments section seems to breed name-calling and feed on unfiltered anger. It is sad to me that normally compassionate and gracious people become flamethrowers once that enter the comment section. To be honest, I am referring to myself here. You have a way of bringing out the worst in me. It is so easy to click without thinking and type without reflecting.
As my newsfeed began to be overwhelmed by people sharing news and political sites I decided to take control and start blocking them. I was glad to learn how to block these sites. And I was merciless about it. I blocked every such website that appeared on my page, whether from the left or the right. But they still kept coming—it seems that for every one I stopped, three or four more would try to take its place. And then we find out many of these are fake sites created either to make money or to manipulate our political system.
It was not any one thing that led me to finally call it quits. The amount of advertising did not help. It seems that every inch of my main page was filling with ads promising me some never before seen news or pictures. I did click on a few of those and was always disappointed to go to an advertisement filled site designed to keep me clicking.
I will not be able to leave you completely. We will still see each other. I need to keep putting content on our church’s website for people who look to you for information and events. Others are stronger than I and able to stay in relationship with you.
Oh Facebook, I tried to make you what I wanted you to be—a good place to connect with friends. I realize now it isn’t you, it is me. I had unrealistic expectations. You are what you are—the machine of company whose sole purpose is to entice your users to click on their mouse as many times as possible. For each click means bigger profits for your owners. I tried to change you, but I have to finally admit defeat and leave you as soon as I can, before you change me.