I haven’t told my friends yet. I haven’t even told my wife. I’m telling you first because I feel you ought to know. This is one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make but, look, it’s not like it’s forever. Who knows what can happen. For right now, though, I’m sure this is the right decision. For both of us.
Facebook, we need to take a break.
It’s not you, it’s me. (Pause.) Okay, it’s you. And, no, we can't just still be friends.
Why? Several reasons. For one, you’re a distraction. You know all those apps that proudly define themselves as “time killers”? You’re like that. It feels good at the time, but I always regret it in the morning. Maybe it’s age, but I am not in the market to kill time. I’m looking to preserve time by making every minute count. And every hour I spend with you – okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, let me take that back; almost every hour I spend with you – feels like a kind of death. A good death, don’t get me wrong. A dying in my sleep death. But death nonetheless.
Well I’m not trying to hurt your feelings, but you want me to be honest, right?
For another, I wanna say that you might be making me stupid. I was at a party last week and somebody said something and I was like, “Oh, definitely. In fact, I posted something about that the other day,” as if the fact that I shared a thought by way of posting it holds greater weight than if I'd just kept it to myself. As though the act of posting made it virtually real. Realer than real. After all…it was posted!
That's not to say that you haven't taught me a lot. You have, I'll admit. But some of it - a lot of it - I wish I didn't know.
Also, you’re addictive and – hm, how can I say this so you won’t be offended? – not in a good way. Aside from the time issue, the neurotic side of me feels obligated to constantly check in because, you know, it’s like there’s all this activity going on and I’m afraid I’ll miss out on something. It’s screwing with my confidence. So I overcompensate by not just posting because I have something to say but just to be in the room. Just to assert my presence. And that doesn’t make me feel good about myself.
But here’s the real deal-breaker. And let me preface this by saying that I’m not a collector of ‘friends’ like some people we know. I have 226 of them, nearly all of whom actually are friends. (Sure there are a few whose invitations I felt it would be impolite to refuse. But still…)
So last year Josh Constine at TechCrunch reported that, on average, posts only appear on 12 percent of friends’ newsfeeds. (First you said it was 16 percent, but then retracted that and agreed to the 12 percent figure; either way, that sucks. My emails get better ROI than you do. And according to Constine, your head of product marketing defended this information firewall by saying “there are pieces of content you create that are interesting, and there’s some that are not.” His grammar notwithstanding, all I have to say to that is, you’re not exactly always scintillating yourself, you know.) But wait, let me...would you let me finish my thought? In March, Nick Bilton, The Times’ tech blogger, saw a drastic reduction in his response rate, only to see an uptick once he paid you $7 to promote his post. I tried that and it worked, relatively speaking. But when we first met you presented yourself as some sort of, you know, progressive free democratic social megaphone, right? That’s the Facebook I fell in love with. But if I have to pay for it, well, that’s not really love, is it? That’s something else. I don’t want to get into name calling, but I mean, let’s be honest with each other if nothing else.
Twitter? Seriously? You’re going to get jealous over Twitter? Sure, we’ve flirted. I’ll go over there once in a while, but please, I can’t stand Twitter. It’s just another time suck. Plus, Twitter’s way more ephemeral than you are, but also…let's be fair...less maintenance. No comparison. A hundred and forty characters? And talk about meaningless. Private conversations like “I love that,” or “You, too” with no links or references. Totally infuriating.
LinkedIn? C’mon, that’s business. Completely different. Don’t even start.
I know I’m going to get flack for this. All our friends will side with you, I’m prepared for that. They’ll say you’re too good for me, that I’m a fool for not appreciating your finer qualities, that you’re better off without me. And maybe they're right. We’ll see.
Look, we can still be friends. I know how that sounds, but it isn’t like I don’t care about you. I’ll check in once in a while. (Maybe.) Peek into your window late at night, see what you’re up to. That doesn’t make me a perv, it only speaks to how utterly irresistible you are. No, I’m not bullshitting you. But I won’t engage. No posts, no likes, no shares. A self-imposed wall of silence. Let’s see how that goes.
And who knows, six months from now, maybe we’ll both feel differently. Maybe you'll change. Maybe I'll change. And maybe we'll learn something about ourselves in the process. Meanwhile, the timing for this is good: summer’s coming, and we should welcome it with our faces toward the sun, not facing down at a screen to see if anybody ‘like’s us.
So farewell, Facebook. It’s been real.