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Ragequit! I'm outta here!

  • Jan 20, 2011
Global phenomenon? Yes. A scourge of every day life? Absolutely. Here's why you should follow my example and pull the plug on Zuckerberg's narcissistic ego-porn site.

So today I took the leap and unfriended myself from Facebook, which is ironic considering that I spend a major part of my time helping clients buy social media advertising - it's like being the drug dealer who won't touch the stuff. And it does strangely feel like I've disconnected myself and entered a social networking wilderness, but actually it's a step that I think more people should consider.

1. Zero privacy

Apart from Facebook's own checkered history with privacy, the truth is that you're providing endless amounts of personal detail for very little reason -- just take a look at Facebook Advertising to see how this works. While they do have privacy controls, Facebook just doesn't work as intended if you use them: it's like going to a cocktail party with duct tape over your mouth and a bag over your head. And with the proliferation of Like, Share and Connect buttons everywhere, there's never been a better time to create a permanent public record of your surfing habits.

2. Look at me! LOOK AT ME!

My opinion of certain friends has been on the downward slope as they've basically spammed my news feed with utter crap. 400 pictures of flowers in Thailand. 300 pictures of hugging strangers while getting drunk. A photo of the entree I ordered last night. It's so unbelievably pointless but more importantly it's annoying. It appears that some of the people I know have dangerously narcissistic tendencies (which is ok now since it's technically not a psychological disorder anymore).

3. One Platform To Rule Them All

I'm all Open Source-y and have a major suspicion of any technology that attempts to implant itself as part of the core Internet eco-system. If email only ever had one provider, like AOL, we'd still be using dial-up - it's healthy that there were thousands of competing email systems, yet the system worked just fine - and evolved quickly too.

Facebook aims to be a required part of your Internet experience, which is counter to way it should work. There need to be a range of competing systems that interrelate with the effectiveness of email. Although there are other Facebook-type sites, these are clones and you have to choose one to use rather than any. 

4. Shallow relationships

In many ways, sites like do a much better job than Facebook. It takes hard work to write reviews, read others' reviews, and develop opinions. It doesn't take hard work to take a picture of my cat. I often feel I have a better insight into the personalities of the many excellent Lunchers here than people I've known for years who post inane Twitter-length comments about having a cold.

It also has a chilling effect (I love that phrase) on seeing people who haven't physically met in a long time, since you casually know what's been going on in their lives through Facebook. It's a shallow replacement for the real thing.

5. Goldman Sachs is here

The world's favorite vampire squid is now involved, which surely must be a sign to move on. One of the big proponents of Internet Bubble stocks a decade ago, the investment banks are readying themselves for Round Two of the great Web "Pump & Dump". We're talking trillions of dollars again for a company that doesn't actually produce anything, so I'd rather not be part of the calamity when it gets IPO'd to death and then crashes and burns. If that seems unlikely now, it also seemed unlikely last time too.

In shutting down my Facebook account, I'm putting the social back into social media - visiting friends for dinner, seeing family in the flesh, and spending time talking to people. I don't need virtual gifts, Mafia Wars or 50 updates an hour on my Droid to be part of my network. And while I think there are many websites that help develop friendships and your knowledge of things you like - and it's one of the great benefits of the web - Facebook isn't one of them.

I hope you like this review by sharing it on Facebook. :-)

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May 27, 2011
ehhh.... I love FB!.... I'm actually a FB addict because I'm a full time student and mom who has zero time to connect with my family and friends... (I don't add anyone I don't "know") and I don't get to interact with them as much as I want...Plus... I discovered because of it... Good points were brought up here but I think I'll give up a little bit of my privacy in a heart-beat, just to reciprocate the appreciation I have for my family and friends by dropping by and saying hello! Plus, I have found five or six of my long lost BFFs from Central America to Spokane, WA on FB and I'm ecstatic!!! Ya, I said BFFs! I have them too, you know?! And I can't sit and personally have coffee with them like everyone else. Talk about godsend! Facebook has definitely made me a more satisfied person! Global is just a few clicks away... the world in the palm of my hand!!
May 31, 2011
I think you're using Facebook in the right way... just don't turn to the dark side and start posting 500 pictures a day. :-)
June 01, 2011
LOL... true!
March 09, 2011
But you don't mention another factor of Facebook and that is that is is a great way to get information on a lot of other things than your friends, I have "Liked" a lot of musicians, record companies, pages with information on Apple stuff and other Gizmoes, Tintin and other comics etc, basically all my interests are featured on some pages on Facebook, not all of them are good but many of them are and they are the best way to get up to date information on things you love, so Facebook has changes a lot since it was just a connection of friends.
March 09, 2011
That's a very good point, though scarily enough lawyers now use your "Likes" to research you for jury selection. Yikes!
March 08, 2011
I was wondering why my friend count was one friend down! :P I'm a bit divided about Facebook, but my opinion is more on the positive side than the negative. I just don't invest that much time into it or let myself get lost in it, so it hasn't been a big deal to me. I use it for its positive aspects, like getting in touch with people who I've lost touch with, or organizing events. I definitely was never a 10 status updates a day person, but um, I can see some narcissism going on on the site :P
March 08, 2011
I had to exit before my opinion of certain family members plummeted to a new low. Someone who I know very well appears to have 300 friends that are all attractive women - somehow he's turned it into a dating site, and his girlfriend hasn't noticed.
March 08, 2011
lol, WOW, that's pretty ballsy. Some people are indeed TMI on that site and have strange profiles and a strange collection of friends...
March 08, 2011
Great review, James! I'm one of those people that are semi-addicted to Facebook, post often and sometimes I catch myself posting something that no one would care about and having to remind myself why I'm there in the first place- promotion.

I use it to promote events when I'm DJing and other friend's events to help them get the word out or news about Lunch or great reviews on here, like this one LOL or share important news that people would care about! I definitely agree that we need to focus on our offline relationships and when it's the weekend, I rarely check in to it- I'm out living life, not talking about it.

My other point of negativity on Facebook has to do with Facebook drama. People tend to read too much into others' statuses and take it personally. It's infantile and ridiculous but, it happens all the time. Pick up the phone and ask someone what their deal is instead of posting cryptic status messages on Facebook.
March 08, 2011
Thanks - it sounds like you have a balanced approach to Facebook, which is definitely not the case with so many people I know. You touch upon another thing I forgot to mention which is the abundance of passive-aggressive that happens when people sit behind a keyboard - I wish more people would double-check what they write before they hit the "Send" button! A classic example is the Yelp Forum which has develop so much darkness that time has stopped on their servers.
March 08, 2011
Definitely! I have to do that all the time...I just recently had to send a delicate email and I edited it 15 times LOL. I learned that lesson a long time ago and I wish people were just more cognisant of the effect of their words. Why spend so much energy being negative when you can post something positive? I'll take inane kitty pictures and check-ins over passive aggressive posts!
January 30, 2011
I haven't closed my Facebook, yet. But I do agree with you on most points! Thankfully my feed doesn't quite look so narcissistic because most of my friends are actual close friends and family with decent values. For me it is a great way to keep up with what is going on in the lives of my actual real life friends. But I agree, I don't really like what they're become and I much prefer real world interaction. As a stay-at-home mom and being a one car family though, that interaction can be hard to arrange, Facebook fills some gaps. I would be just fine without it, I'm sure. I wonder what it will take for me to finally close my account? ;)
January 30, 2011
A Nintendo Wii. :-)
January 22, 2011
LMAO... you're a funny chap! I've enjoyed reading this review. I haven't been on Facebook since China banned it, with good reasons too! In any case, even when I've had access to it, I haven't been hooked on it for some reasons. Perhaps because I don't want to meet anyone from the past! I tried to find my Filipino friend on it but couldn't! So, I gave up! Anyhow, I don't even remember my password now!
January 22, 2011
I obviously have no comment since I'd like to visit China at some point. :-D
January 22, 2011
Mark Zuckerberg was in Shanghai just very recently. He was going around in some of the high-tech headquarters, including Baidu's!
January 20, 2011
I haven't really done a FACEBOOK page yet but I know all about the stuff you've said here. Hey, I am about to make a WOOPAKBookpage LOL!!
January 20, 2011
Lol - go for it. Don't forget that once you get 25 users, you can get a custom URL rather than the human-unfriendly version they first give you...
January 20, 2011
great review. thanks James. I'm in complete agreement, although i haven't clipped my FB account yet, I do see that i'm spending less and less time on it.
January 20, 2011
Thanks - I'd like to see social media develop in the sort of direction that Lunch promotes, where there's actually some value in the connections made and the content created... but then I'd also like to see CHP stop people for dangerous driving rather than just giving tickets.

More Facebook reviews
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When sharing can get out of hands!
Is there anyone who is still not on Facebook by now? Yes! Many of my personal friends. Having said that, they are possibly the minority rather than the majority in the world now.      So, I'll keep this short and simple. My take on Facebook.   I had an account on it for many years but I hardly logged in. The main reason being I don't really know a great many who are on it and I was residing in China for the last 4 years, I was logged out of it. It's banned!   …
review by . November 07, 2010
When I first created my Facebook profile, I did so in order to communicate with a few people who I met on the old (and seemingly ancient) Yahoo 360 social network. I had become quite good virtual friends with them and didn't want to lose touch with them whenever 360 shut down.    I believed that those few select people (six friends total), would be my entire world on Facebook. Soon enough, however, I started getting friend requests from people I hadn't seen since high school …
review by . May 26, 2010
Social Networking has, for the most part, become a part of our everyday lives.  It's still in its infancy, though.  For most of us sites like Friendster and Myspace got us started in Social Networking, while other sites such as Amazon have adapted to becomeing more social networking like in a time that it's a big thing.  Yet when it comes to social networking no website stands out more than Facebook.  This is for several reasons.  Facebook has become a social networking …
review by . November 08, 2009
I realized very shortly after setting up my facebook account that I’d gotten myself into deep trouble. It was September, a little over a year ago. I found my thoughts racing, and usually heading straight back to my friend list. I obsessed over my profile even when I was doing other things; I remember going running by the lake and wondering almost the whole while which Elliott Smith quote defined me as a person. I learned to love chatting with three people at a time—when I’d see …
Quick Tip by . June 01, 2012
Ouch!!! 40% LOSS for investors in its first 10 days of trading on the NASDAQ! More if you bought at the height of around $45 on its listing day!!!      I wrote a review of it (I know a bubble when I see one!) on the weekend after its listing looking for a price range of $25-28! It recorded a low of $26.83 yesterday (May 31) before a technical rebound at the close!       So, what's next?!        
Quick Tip by . May 21, 2012
It began trading on Nasdaq around $43 last friday. Today, in just a market day, over the weekend after Mark's wedding, it's trading at around $33!!! Lucky Mark who sold it at $38 with the help of Morgan Stanley! Not so lucky for the investors (retail or institutional) even if they are buying for the long term!!! They could have gotten it for $33 today or even less later!      PE of over 100?! Forget it!!! Are you sure you're that good a friend with Mark? ;-)   …
Quick Tip by . December 01, 2011
posted in Awesomeness
I'm on Facebook and I hate myself for it. The only reason I joined was because invitations from friends to events kept flying over my head, and when they asked where I was, they would always tell me it was on Facebook. Herein is the big problem I have with the site: People consider it all they need. Basic human decency and intimate, detailed conversation is being eschewed. But on the upside, I've made very useful connections with online friends and it allows me to keep up with the goings-on in Chicago, …
Quick Tip by . December 10, 2010
I don't know why but I just can't muster any interest in Facebook. Spend the overwhelming majority of my online time here on Lunch. Find it much more scintillating.
Quick Tip by . December 17, 2010
Originally, I signed up for Facebook because I had heard it was a good way to keep in touch with friends I knew from school back when. In that regard, the site was a bit of a letdown, but I currently like it more than when I initially joined. While the site has become more commercial and there's been some controversy about the new privacy policy, I think that the site has opened up and allows for more creativity with their new applications.
Quick Tip by . October 12, 2010
It's addicting, but I have connected with a lot of old friends vie facebook!
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James Beswick ()
Ranked #2's "token Brit".
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Facebook is a social networking website launched on February 4, 2004. The free-access website is privately owned and operated by Facebook, Inc. Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profile to notify friends about themselves. The website's name refers to the paper facebooks depicting members of a campus community that some US colleges and preparatory schools give to incoming students, faculty, and staff as a way to get to know other people on campus.
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