Gogol Ghoshal

Foodie. Writer turned Storyteller. Aspiring globetrotter.

It’s time to jump ship: Quit Facebook

Update: I have grudgingly accepted FB as a necessary evil, and hence now I do have a Facebook presence. However, I make it a point to scrub ALL my FB activity once every month - call it my way of keeping the evil at bay.

I joined Facebook in early 2010. It was a migration from the moribund Orkut, urged mainly by friends & relatives who were already huge fans of the social network. It was indeed a major improvement from the Orkut experience. Relishing the novel look and the cleaner interface, I focused on rapidly expanding my friend list. Requests were sent to more than 100 acquaintances. I started trying out the polls, the quizzes, the apps and whatnot. Excitement was high; boredom was a thing of the past. I felt almost like the proverbial kid in the candy shop.

Amidst all the fun, I noticed one of my cousins announcing his intention to quit Facebook. He said it was neither adding any value to his life, nor facilitating any meaningful connection. “What a bore!”, I thought.

Turns out he was just way ahead of the curve.

Fast-forward to 2013. Day by day I grow more and more irritated at Facebook – by its weird intellectual property policies, its nonstop design changes, its ever-increasing privacy issues, and the lack of any real substance. I have already trimmed down my news feed to allow only those few people whose updates I really want to follow regularly. Adding/accepting new friends seems almost pointless – knowing that I would probably end up unfollowing them anyway.

These days, whenever I want to catch up with one of my friends, I send him a message directly. I don’t expect an instant reply. I know I would get it eventually. I don’t bother going through his latest FB status updates – because to me, that feels like planning to visit a friend and then asking his neighbours what he has been shouting about lately, without actually knocking on his door and saying hello. Ridiculous!

For a long time now, the only value that FB has provided me with is crowd-sourcing. Like when I was wondering whether or not to switch over to Linux (from Windows) completely, I asked my friends what they thought about it. A lot of them replied with their opinions and experiences, which really helped me take an informed decision. Also, there are some FB pages that I am subscribed to, and I like to read some of the articles/links they publish.

But I see no reason why I need to maintain a social media account just for these. I can directly ask my friends for help instead of broadcasting my SOS among the group. In most cases, I more-or-less know who among my friends can give me the best advice regarding a specific topic (e.g. whom to ask for technical knowledge, and whom to ask for movie recommendations). And I can subscribe to my favourite pages/groups through RSS readers.

Bottomline: I don’t need Facebook.

So I have decided to delete my FB account. I don’t think I would lose out on anything. Regarding my friends who prefer FB messages over emails, I can always email them at their FB email IDs. As for them reaching me, a good old-fashioned e-mail (to my gmail ID) is the way to go.

So that’s it. I am jumping ship. Facebook might not be a sinking boat, but it certainly has stopped moving forward.