For six whole years I’ve enjoyed interacting with my friends and family on Facebook. It’s pretty amazing actually, for nearly my entire adult life, Facebook has been the closest thing to a journal and photo album I’ve ever kept. Facebook is a big part of day to day conversations with clients and friends alike, but as a Facebook user, the service has become nothing more than an impersonal and passive distraction. So, I have permanently shut down my personal account. Not only, to rid myself of an unnecessary diversion, but also to keep nonconsensual sponsored solicitations like “Dylan Likes New Balance. Like the page?” out of my follower’s News Feeds.
I’m not vanishing, but converting my personal account to a business page. This way I’m able to continue to use the service for work, admin other business pages, and maintain a searchable static presence on the site. It makes sense for me. Facebook has chosen a distinct path away from user connectivity and continues to evolve toward a profit-driven, sponsored content experience. Consuming content on Facebook is much like flipping channels on a television.
For me, Facebook is no longer the vibrant and exciting interconnected space it once was. The social web has changed a lot since 2006, and in regard to Facebook, instead of creating, contributing and engaging with meaningful content, I consistently find myself in submission to a bombardment of sponsored content, passively consuming content spanning from contextless headlines to friend-of-a-friend’s baby photos. It’s not a space I want to dwell, but I always tend to loiter.
Facebook has a great mission, “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” The problem is that I don’t trust they are pursuing their mission. In fact, I’d like to re-write their mission statement to read, “providing unmatched targeted advertising access to the largest and most detailed database of passive information consumers accross the globe.” The most prized possession for a brand to own is a consumer’s unwavering trust. Facebook sort of lost mine over time. For one, Mark Zuckerburg doesn’t have the cleanest track record in the area of trust and privacy. Beyond that, I feel put off (to say the least) when I read my News Feed and instead of seeing engaging relevant content, I see manufactured product/content endorsements from my peers.
I’m a fan of smart advertising, and we are only seeing the beginning of how advertising will evolve in this fairly immature stage of the social web. Brands already know more about us than ever before and I am truly excited for the future of how brands will cater to individual and group data. Facebook, however, is pursuing their goals to monetize in a way that sorely lacks creativity and frankly, makes me increasingly uncomfortable.
That all being said, the content that I created, the story that I’ve been telling for the past 6 years, is important to me. I created a ~500pg, black and white printed archive of my posts and photos between Dec. 2006 and Nov. 2012. I think that was a fitting way to terminate.
Here’s to a year of creating, contributing and engaging with meaningful content.