Last week I posted on FB to let people there know that I will be shutting down my account next weekend. This decision has been roughly a year in the making, but the slow drip of news about the company’s terrible practices finally outweighed the convenience of the site.
What’s weird is that this feels so momentous. It’s not as if I’m going off-grid, achieving some state in which I can only be contacted by magic spell. I’m ceasing to use one particular web site out of the millions in existence. I still have a blog (several blogs), email, a phone, an address. I look forward to writing more letters. I look forward to having one fewer direct line from my mind to someone else’s hand, pulling at my attention.
I came of age in the 90s. I’m not an early adopter, but I’ve spent my entire adult life on the internet, much of it in digital communities going back to Usenet. Maybe I’m just getting old, but those felt different from what we have now. Even when I was using it more enthusiastically, I’ve never entirely gotten the hang of “social” media. I don’t like how I feel while I’m using these sites, and I don’t like what the companies are doing to anyone.