December 4, 2012 11:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm really tired of social media; I've grown to find all of it (FB, twitter, etc.) endlessly boring. For those of you who have come to the same place, have you just faded away, or do you leave notes on your open accounts to the effect that "I'm not really here anymore?" Prolly not going to shut it off altogether.

I haven't posted on my twitter account in years. I occasionally post on FB and I sometimes like to post on a friend's page, or "like" a favorite band, etc. But other than that, I'm pretty much done. There's no drama, I'm not doing this because of new privacy policies (though I don't like FB's sponsored ads), and I don't think less of anyone for being on those networks--I just don't find it interesting enough for me to participate in.

For those of you who have also suffered from Facebook fatigue, have you just faded away? Did you make a post saying that you're not there much anymore? Did you put that in your "about" section? Can you shut off messages so people can't contact you at an account you don't check? I don't think I want to close the whole thing down.

MeFi remains perpetually engaging though...
posted by Admiral Haddock to Technology (26 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I just vanished on Facebook and Twitter. I stopped posting completely, no goodbyes or anything like that. Nobody seems to have noticed.
posted by Solomon at 11:44 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just move on. There's no established etiquette or best principles.

Not really something to worry about...
posted by dfriedman at 11:45 AM on December 4, 2012

Did you make a post saying that you're not there much anymore?

I've seen people do this and, well, no one really cares enough to remember that you did that. It's a courtesy, sure, but after a week, few people sending out Facebook invites to a party (or whatever) are going to think "oh, I better email this to Admiral Haddock. He had that wall post last Tuesday about how he isn't using Facebook anymore."

I don't know anyone who keeps a list of people they can't contact on Facebook/Twitter/etc. I'm a pretty constant social media user and until I'm actually on the profile page of someone I want to contact and see nothing but "hey why u never on???" wall posts (which inevitably push down the "hey guys I don't hang out here anymore" wall post), it doesn't occur to me that they said they were leaving six months prior.

A note in your profile indicating how you CAN be reached would be useful, though.
posted by griphus at 11:45 AM on December 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think you can disable wall posts on Facebook. So you can disable that and leave a note in your profile page with your email address or however you want people to reach you. Or not, if you don't want to be reached.

Twitter is sort of temporary and now focused by design, I wouldn't do anything special there. The account is still useful for logging into other sites though.
posted by COD at 11:46 AM on December 4, 2012

I think how you shut down depends on how you use these sites, especially FB, to engage with others. If people are regularly contacting you through facebook and you just stop being availalbe that way, that's going to be a problem. But if you have it set up to email you when someone sends you a message or whateve,r you're probably fine.
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:46 AM on December 4, 2012

A couple of years ago, I had a FB account, but I quit simply for the same reasons you are mentioning, along with I just didn't want to be bothered by friends of friends of friends sending friendship requests. Anyway, I sent out a note to everyone letting them know that I was disabling my account and that they are free to email or call (I had left my email).

(You wouldn't believe how many "You're quitting FB?!?!? WHY?!?!")

(Just as a side and, FWIW, forward two years later, NO ONE emails - or at least check their emails - or maybe it is just my friends -- who knows?! I heart email! So, I ended up going back on FB a few months ago simply to keep in touch with everyone (and it is allowing me the freedom from regular, long phone calls - I hate talking on the phone).
posted by foxhat10 at 11:51 AM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

On Facebook, rather than disabling your account, you can put a big, obvious HEY I DON'T USE FACEBOOK, HIT ME UP AT ADMIRAL@HADDOCK.COM image as your cover photo.
posted by griphus at 11:52 AM on December 4, 2012 [5 favorites]

I just put up a note saying where it's best to find me.

I tend to take lengthy breaks from various platforms. It's usually because they're stressing me out or I'm just interested in something. I tend to still use things like FB messages even if I'm not posting much - no one emails and many don't text (especially toward the end of the month, when they've run up against their account limits.)

I don't delete anything. Just last week my blogs (from five years ago) sent out little email reminders to me that they still exist, just in case I'm interested. And I still have control over my Friendster account.
posted by SMPA at 11:53 AM on December 4, 2012

Just stop posting. Set your account to email you whenever someone sends you a FB email or posts a photo of you.

This way, it will be much easier to use if you do need/want to post something in the future. Also, people that don't know your email address will still be able to get in touch with you.
posted by NYC-BB at 11:55 AM on December 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

I just dropped off of Facebook completely. (I happened to also delete all of content.) It was no big deal. If you've got your email there, people that really need to contact you will just email you.
posted by ignignokt at 11:58 AM on December 4, 2012

I have always had a note in my Facebook profile that I don't check it daily/often -- though that isn't always true, my usagecertainly comes and goes. Some people have noticed this; others have not and wonder why I didn't respond to [x life event posted on Facebook that I wasn't told about any other way]; it's a complicated dance that not everyone had figured out yet so I'm not sure that there's any right or wrong way and it's very dependent on your Facebook friends/acquaintances unfortunately.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:06 PM on December 4, 2012

Thanks, all--that was pretty much what I was expecting. I stopped being particularly interested a while ago, and FB is blocked at my new job, so I'm rarely on.

I do like receiving event updates, and I do comment if someone has a baby etc., but that's pretty much all I want out FB, and but I can't be bothered to do any more than that...
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:13 PM on December 4, 2012

I've always been really active in fandom circles online, doing creative things with lasting footprints. I know that people are going to want to find some of the content, and other content will fade to complete irrelevance. So I am pretty careful about always leaving a "you can now find me most active here" trail of breadcrumbs, and I leave contact methods open for years and years with email forwarding. But never ever has anybody cared about any of my day to day social media stuff. Twitter, facebook, old livejournal posts, myspace, geocities, whatever it might be, nobody has even once been like "hey here I am five years later trying to find you! Where are you??" Sometimes I check stats on my old places and it's really kind of staggering the difference between a daily noise post or tweet or whatever and something with even the tiniest blip of creative content.

I think it's polite to leave a method of contact for people, just in case. And leaving a brief "I no longer use this account/website" is nice too, in case there are obsessive people who like to organize contacts and remove dilapidated information when they can. But neither of those things are obligatory.
posted by Mizu at 12:16 PM on December 4, 2012

I just delete the accounts - no "hey contact me at ___" or anything. This probably varies, as noted above, by how you use these sites, what your social media/networking goal is - and what those things mean to your "friends."

Whatever your preferred method of e-poofing, be prepared that some people will keep right on using or attempting to use the accounts and will probably be annoyed if you miss any of their announcements/invites/whatevers.
posted by sm1tten at 12:29 PM on December 4, 2012

I almost never used my account and had left it up for people to message me, but ended up deleting it because I got sick of every single site and service plugging into Facebook & trying to post shit. It's gotten to the point where I can't read a news article without worrying if this site is posting on Facebook "Hey ___ is reading ___ right now!" behind my back.

And you know even if all these sites aren't trying to hijack your social media in such annoying ways, they're tracking you through it.

I deleted it and don't miss it, my friends all magically rediscovered my email address.
posted by bradbane at 12:42 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just be aware that cover photos are 100%-no-takebacks public to everyone, so don't throw your email address there unless you're ok with it being easily found.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:46 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Facebook is a useful tool. It's a tool for others to contact you and for you to contact others. It's a real pain for me when I'm planning something and my friend closed down their profile, so I have to communicate with everyone through two, three, or even four channels. Facebook is a tool of convenience.

For example, say you need to get ahold of your hat guy and it's been a while. Has his email changed? Probably. Has he changed phones? Maybe not, but he is visiting his leather guy in Australia. Snailmail is too slow. So you facebook him. Facebook is the new form of permanent address in this decade. You can always get ahold of your ___ guy when you need him. Think of Facebook as your guy guy.

So if all the drama bugs you, don't look at it. Don't log on. I applaud you. As much as you need your vinyl guy, you don't need to see his every rant on the horrors of streaming. Simply talk to your social media guy and have him help you set up email notifications for just the things you need to be notified about. Events, messages, comments, friend requests? All useful stuff. Pokes, likes, and wonderful new people facebook thinks you should meet? Not so much.

Enjoy your new life free of Facebook drama!

Note: For ultimate coolness, get your data visualization guy to build you a fishtank where all this fishies are actually robots plugged into your newsfeed and simulating your friend's lives. It makes for great entertainment.
posted by Folk at 12:50 PM on December 4, 2012

Just be aware that cover photos are 100%-no-takebacks public to everyone, so don't throw your email address there unless you're ok with it being easily found.

Wow, I had no idea. Good to know. In this case you might want to set up a throwaway gmail account (that doesn't resemble your regular email account) and have it forward to your regular email.

Honestly, though, you shouldn't have your main email address visible in your Facebook profile anyway. With the frequency that people get their accounts "hacked," it's nearly as bad as just letting it sit out in the open, if that sort of thing matters to you.
posted by griphus at 1:01 PM on December 4, 2012

I removed myself from social media pretty much all at once. I just deleted my Twitter without saying anything (no one important followed me anyway...just a bunch of spam and, like, the Rabbinical Assembly). As for Facebook, I deleted it permanently. I know you don't "want to do that," but...if you do decide to delete it, you're really not missing out on anything. (Sidenote: I am 22, and therefore all statistics tell me someone like me shouldn't even exist.)

Anyway, now that I'm off my soapbox, I wouldn't say anything special if I were just not posting much...I don't even think people notice how often you post, really. When I deleted mine though, I just wrote one post saying I was leaving, included my phone number and email and blog, and (most important step!) tagged everyone I thought would actually notice that I left, just to make sure they saw the post.

Just curious though, if you really want to make it so people can't even message you...why are you so against shutting it down?
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 1:24 PM on December 4, 2012

I told my friends that I was hardly on and not to try to invite me to things via facebook. On the whole, they've been pretty good about it. I'm slowly putting myself back on, just not that much.
posted by Hactar at 1:45 PM on December 4, 2012

I deleted my Facebook account without saying anything. I was off it for 6 months, but I realized there were some people that I actually consider good friends, that for some reason I didn't have their e-mail addresses and had no way of contacting them for six months, so you might want to consider that before deleting. If you have the e-mail addresses of everyone you truly want to get in touch with, just delete without sending out a message. (Even if you send a message, once you deactivate your account everything you've done on Facebook will disappear, so they won't even see it unless you wait to make sure everyone has seen your message before you delete.)
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 2:06 PM on December 4, 2012

Just curious though, if you really want to make it so people can't even message you...why are you so against shutting it down?

Simply because I don't check Facebook often enough for it to be a good way to reach me, and I don't want people to think I'm there every day and ignoring them. I do like the big life events and the occasional baby picture, though, so I don't really want to close up shop.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:06 PM on December 4, 2012

When I contact friends via FB, I do so only on time-sensitive matters if I've found they're on there a lot. If you just stayed dark most of the time and didn't check it, I think you'd find people would contact you via other means, at least for important things. Just make sure people who are really important to you have your primary phone (the cell, for most of us) so they can text or >gasp< call.
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:21 PM on December 4, 2012

The first time I left Facebook I made an email announcement to that effect, which a few people considered kind of obnoxious even though I'd gone to pains to craft a statement which, to my mind, was not. The second time I left, I quietly deleted my account and no-one seemed to notice for at least three months. The only problem with this approach was that a couple of people noticed me missing from their friends list and assumed I'd unfriended them for reasons unknown.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:15 PM on December 4, 2012

I've mostly given up on Facebook etc, mainly because I just got bored with the whole thing. I only have a small number of friends and was never particularly prolific anyway, so I don't think anyone has even noticed. I think making a 'statement' that you are leaving just draws attention to it and some people will assume you are throwing a tantrum.

Unless you've been someone who posts everything you eat to Facebook, I'd just let it be - for most people, things scroll by so fast that they aren't likely to notice one person missing anyway.
posted by dg at 8:08 PM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had a similar path. Had not used thefacebook for months at a time. I finally just de-activated the account on a whim, after seeing yet another "All Your Privacy Are Belong to Facebook" article.

I would say nobody noticed, but that is not true. One day later, an acquaintance I know that works at Facebook (whom I had not spoken to for nearly a year) sends an email saying, "hey I tried to invite you to all this stuff but it doesn't work? lol" If I were a more paranoid individual, I would attribute that so something more insidious than relentless dog-fooding at HQ.

Either way, I don't think it matters whether you post about your non-use or not. I do know that turning off "wall" posts was possible, and you can set up notifications to email/SMS/smoke-signals whenever you get a message.
posted by jraenar at 8:40 PM on December 4, 2012

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