It was on my second glass of pinot, after yet another lovely dinner of Eve's, that I decided to pull the plug.
It had been a full week, almost to the hour, since I'd announced that I'd made the decision to deactivate my Facebook account. I posted on a Monday evening, and of course I couldn't wait to see what the response would be. The paradox wasn't lost on me here: the noble activist choosing to rise above the fray of ego and bluster, fretting like Narcissus to see how his selfless display would be received by the masses. Unsurprisingly, nobody much really cared.
Several amiable folks politely applauded. Eight or nine gave the post a "Like." My brother-in-law responded that I would miss his posts (which was correct). The ostensible reason for my final post was to invite anyone who cared and who only touched me via Facebook to write down my email. If anyone did, I didn't learn about it. And of course, there was the obligatory contrarian - a fellow named Doug who wrote:
I don't know that LinkedIn is much better than FB when it comes to privacy and the nature of data collected. Also LinkedIn has had numerous breeches, millions of passwords are available via the dark web as a result. If this is an actual concern, then you should disengage from almost all social, mobile and web-based services. You should buy a phone that is extra secure, turn off location services, avoid browsing on sites that track analytics or retargeting data, don't read online news or engage in online shopping. So effectively disconnecting from the modern world, and that gets harder and harder every day. oh...turn off bluetooth and never activate wifi.
To this, I was sorely tempted to reply, "You seem to have me confused with someone who gives a crap what you think." But such bait and swallow bullshit is pretty much why I'm out. Sayonara, Dougie.
And so, I opened my Surface Book, navigated to Facebook, and commenced to closing the pod bay door.
I suppose it only makes sense that Facebook didn't exactly make this easy. Clicking my way around the interface became frustrating enough that I finally fired up Google to find the easy and right way. This was smart, because I needed to be educated on the difference between deactivating and deleting an account. Deactivating is a trial separation. It's a temporary stepping away, a cryogenic freeze of your Facebook body, just waiting for a change of mind and quick thaw. Deleting is a divorce. It's the final goodbye, the last trip to Goodwill before selling the trailer and walking away.
I chose the "delete" route, and Facebook then told me that nothing would happen permanently, not right away. Upon clicking the OK button:
So basically, if I cheat and peek or just accidentally open the Facebook page on a browser with my old logon credentials wired in, I'm back in the fold, in some fashion. Whether that means I'm in a purgatory of sorts, in which the clock resets to another 14 days of waiting, or I need to go through the Delete process again from scratch, it's not clear. Moreover, Facebook won't tell me if all of those pictures and posts and peeks at pretty friends I accumulated over the years will be permanently deleted or not.
But hey, who am I kidding? In 10 years, when the Trumpinista Secret Service strap me into a torture chamber for being liberal, my inquisitor will hold a tablet to my face and say, "So! Mr. Finger! We see you have enjoyed clicking on lingerie ads in the past! Now you shall pay!"
Oh well. I'm at peace for now.
I wondered, before walking away, how I would handle not having Facebook anymore. Like fast food, pornography, watching Comedy Central, and rooting for the Seattle Mariners, it's something I must admit that I've found myself more preoccupied with, at one time or another, than I knew to be healthy. And as with each of those vices, I have thus far discovered no great psychic void in my life in leaving Facebook behind. It's like the warts I used to get on my fingers when I was younger. I couldn't help but fidget with them when they were there. But the moment they were gone, I never much even thought about them again.
That about sums it up.