Deleting Facebook

Source

Background

I have recently been reading a lot about how social networking services such as Facebook could be having a damaging effect on our society and our human values.

When I then decided to delete my Facebook account I found that it wasn't a simple matter of just pressing the "deactivate account" button.

I have written this article to explain why I have decided to delete my Facebook account and how with some difficulty I eventually managed to do so.


Getting Started

Up to a few weeks ago I had a Facebook account. When I first created my Facebook account I was quite excited about the prospect of getting in touch with family and friends I hadn't heard from in years. I also liked the idea that I could share family photographs with friends and family because jpeg files are very heavy to send by e-mail.

My children were already on Facebook when my wife and I created our accounts and though we could see that it seemed to be an important feature in their lives it wasn't until we joined that we realised how important it was in their lives.


Strange New World

It wasn't long before invitations from ex-students from all over the world started to arrive and that definitely made me feel good. After accepting their friend invitation there usually followed a flurry of messages back and forth as we caught up on each other's lives and then it all went dead.

I usually never heard from them again except to see messages on their status to say what they had been up to every time I opened Facebook. I found it hard at first to get around the idea that there were two separate worlds there. The world of "my friends" and my own world "my profile" and they were completely separate except that "my friends" could look at what I was doing in my world without me ever knowing.

The best way for me to describe it is like me watching the world out of my window and seeing the interaction between passers by on the street but those same passers by could look into my home and watch what I was up to without me being aware of it unless they knocked on the window and waved in or as in Facebook by leaving a comment.


Source

"Friendship"

I realised of course that people had their own social circles and though I had once figured in their lives I definitely did not figure any more. I imagine also that once the initial pleasantries had been exchanged and we were now friends on Facebook we could then just go back to the way things were before we ever became friends. I found this weird I suppose because the word "Friend" means something very different to me.

Most of the people who became my "friend" on Facebook were not my friends, well not the sense that I see friends. I found it difficult to see students I once taught, as friends and though they were now adults with families of their own I still remembered them as the boys and girls I had taught.

And then there were the friends I had known when I was growing up and realising how little we now had in common, those communications too just fizzled out to nothing. I hated looking at the ever increasing list of "friends" and knowing that it was all a big lie. These people and I were now worlds apart and Facebook had created an artificial channel to join us and it just was not working for me.

Friendship means a lot more to me than the artificial and superficial relationship that Facebook had created for people. This made me feel uncomfortable but I persevered because I thought that since so many people were doing it I concluded that I was reading too much into things and needed to lighten up.


Trying to make it real

I tried to make my experience on Facebook a little more meaningful by sharing my hubs from HubPages and the articles I wrote for my website blog believing that to be a way to reconnect with these "friends" in Facebook. I started posting hubs written by writers I admire and I also shared movie clips and music to reflect the kind of person I am, the things I stand for and the way I think.

None of this made any difference and I began to see Facebook as something that just did not fit me or my lifestyle. It was a constant reminder of how little I now had in common with the people in my friend list and how uninterested they were in getting to know me.

The only people I felt were my friends on Facebook were the ones who really are my friends and with whom I am in regular contact and had been before I ever joined Facebook.


Source

The penny had finally dropped!

If I hadn't joined Facebook I would never have appreciated the power it exerted over our children. I began to notice how Facebook corrodes the values of our children and undermines the foundations upon which normal relationships and friendships are built.

I saw how children were using Facebook as a means to express feelings they would never express to the face of another child. Facebook created a shield behind which a child felt safe to say whatever s/he felt like saying with total disregard for the feelings of others. I saw things written by children to each other that horrified me and it worried me that my children would come to view this as the norm.

I held a family meeting and I explained my worries about Facebook to my children. I told them that Facebook was no different to any other addiction and like alcohol people do and say things when intoxicated that they would never dream of saying and doing when sober. I explained how their written expression had gone down hill and their spelling had gone to the dogs. More importantly I explained how it was affecting their ability and willingness to communicate with their friends unless through Facebook. They had to learn to develop real relationships without hiding behind a monitor and keyboard and to do so before they completely forget how to. I explained how they were leaving themselves open to the bullying that was regularly taking place and I urged them to reconsider how they were using Facebook. The choice was ultimately their own but I was glad that I had made them think.

I myself deleted my Facebook account and set up two separate accounts, one for my business through which I share professional articles written by me and those whose values and ethos reflect my own and a private account just for family and very close friends.


Deleting Facebook is not as easy as you think!

It is a very simple procedure to "deactivate" your Facebook account and you can easily do that from account settings. The problem with this is that your account and all your information is just temporarily hidden waiting your return. You can reactivate your account at any time and it is as if you had never left.

Even as you try to deactivate your account, Facebook answers all the reasons you give to deactivate in an attempt to change your mind and they do a pretty good job of that.

However, to completely delete your Facebook account you have to jump through some hoops because Facebook does not make it easy. If it is as difficult as this now to delete I can't imagine what it will be like in the future when people try to delete their accounts.

Here is a link to a trusted site called WikiHow that will bring you through the steps to delete your Facebook account. Please note that even after doing this you must not go near your account for at least two weeks or the deletion process may be undone and you will have to start all over again. This is the hard part for the children because they will be tempted to peek during this two week period and that is what Facebook counts on. You will need to explain this to your children.

The children seemed to have taken what I said on board and are not using it as much as they used to. My wife and I are a lot happier now with our new approach to this tool which we have started to use for our own benefit rather than it using us any more! here is link to our Setanta Hypnotherapy Clinic Fan Page on Facebook so you can see how we do it.



Choose your freedom

For the more visually orientated among you following is video clip from YouTube that brings you though the whole procedure of deleting your Facebook account permanently.

Freedom is a choice and nobody can make that choice for you but why give it away so easily!


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Comments 20 comments

epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

....although I have a Facebook account (and ironically I posted your excellent hub about Hubpages) I really don't go there too often and I posted your fine piece because it's the only other 'link' I have at the moment and I just wanted more people to see your provocative writing style - yes you stimulate me too and make me think with your hub subjects.

I prefer Hubpages and spend most of my time here when online because it's more interactive, less BS, and this is the outlet for my creativity - as for comments and reviews I don't think any writer/artist would PREFER NOT to have any feedback - the whole idea for writing per se to induce communication at its highest level (hoepfully) and share ideas, information and abstract feelings - lol - like poetry as entertainment and (perhaps) enlightenment ........and like you said in one of your comments to me I am always trying to engage or provoke my readers in thought, discussion or opinion/


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

You are very good to come by and read my hub and I appreciate what you have said. I am a live and let live kind of person so what is right for one person may not be for another. I tend to suspend judgement of others and do what I think is best for me at the time. Deleting Facebook seems to be a good move for me now. I too would post my own and others hubs on my Facebook wall and found that to be a very good way to direct traffic to my articles and hubs but when I weighed up all the pros and cons I went with my gut feeling.

HubPages is indeed an excellent place to communicate with and share ideas with others. There are however aspects of this communication that can become addictive and I keep a watchful eye on myself to avoid that. I don't like insincerity and tend to ignore people who simply comment or follow me to get me to comment on theirs and follow them. My golden rule is I only comment on hubs I find genuinely interesting and appeal to me and I only follow sincere individuals who write good stuff. I have taken the time to read some of your hubs and will be doing so more regularly now that I have added you as someone I now follow. Please don't feel under any obligation to reciprocate and thank you for your honest comment.


MysteriousOne profile image

MysteriousOne 5 years ago

Spirit Whisperer...I think a lot of people are addicted to the games on facebook..I know people who will stay up and lose sleep,until they harvest their crops on Farmville! I use f/b on a daily basis,but only to check my messages,post some of my poems from hub pages,and I try to post something 'inspirational'...but loved your hub! Thank you! Have a great day,kind sir!


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

No need to explain MysteriousOne each person makes his /her own decisions about such things and I am actually a lot happier now that I did it because its shallowness never really appealed to me. I use Twitter and Digg to share my hubs and website blog posts now. Thank you for the comment and for reading the hub.


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

I wish to delete my facebook account for the very reason you state here. I still have it, but begun deleting people in which I don't communicate or interact. We'll see how long it stays up. Thank you for the insights.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Zavala welcome to freedom.


sassyk73 profile image

sassyk73 5 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

What a great hub! Thank you for sharing. I tried to delete a Facebook account and it would only let me deactivate it. I will most definitely check out the information you provided. Very useful information. God Bless You.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Yes indeed sassyk73 they do not make it easy for you to escape and even when you do delete it you must stay away from it for at least 2 weeks of it is reactivated! Thank you for visiting.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 5 years ago from UK

I really like your hubs! I opened a Facebook account several years ago when on a course to learn about the internet, but I never felt comfortable with it. What you write here is exactly why :

"The best way for me to describe it is like me watching the world out of my window and seeing the interaction between passers by on the street but those same passers by could look into my home and watch what I was up to without me being aware of it unless they knocked on the window and waved in or as in Facebook by leaving a comment.”

My FB account sits idle, and I ignore most of the invitations. I discovered from a real friend, from whom I was regularly getting invitations, that she had not initiated these, and she was getting ones from me that I had not initiated either. Another message came from a friend to write on her wall and again she hadn’t sent it.

I had kept the account open because I kept feeling I ought to use it to promote my other writing, but from what you’ve written here this is probably not needed.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you Melovy. I have heard about this kind of thing happening and I think you are wise to delete it especially since you were never comfortable with it in the first place. I also am member of Quora and find that including links back to my hubs and website blog in questions I answer there is quite an effective way to promote my work. I also have a website blog and I link to my hubs from there and vice versa. The people here in HubPages are very helpful and will give you advice if you seek it. The forums are a great way to pick up some tips.


myi4u profile image

myi4u 5 years ago from United Kingdom

I hate to admit it yet I totally agree with you. It's a bit pointless to login to Facebook nowadays. I only upload photos like once in a blue moon. I don't post on Walls often and I don't even look at my friends' uploaded photos. But I am quite reluctant to delete the account mainly because most of my friends in my home country are on Facebook.

Anyway, it still serves it's purpose and we shall see how long it will last. I read a report just this morning saying that more and more people are dropping out of Facebook in favour of other social networking sites which offers more features and less 'old people'. Apparently, some teenagers are fed up with the fact that their parents are joining Facebook too! Which makes Facebook not cool!


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

myi4u I am actually stunned to hear you of all people to agree with me but I am very happy that you do. I see you as the expert and for you to agree validates my actions which I must say came more from my gut. Thank you for the comment and I really do appreciate the great advice you have given me by e-mail to speed up my computer it really did work a treat.


myi4u profile image

myi4u 5 years ago from United Kingdom

You are very welcome! Naah, I am no expert, just like to fiddle around with computers and stuffs. It's really quite courageous for you to write something like this hub, bearing in mind that there are millions of facebook-ers. But what you've said is completely true which is why I believe most people would agree with you.

My colleagues actually sign up to Facebook so that they can keep an eye of their children!


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you myi4u It is a shame that your colleagues must resort to spying. Surely this must sat something about Facebook.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

You are very right Mr. Spirit Whisperer: deleting a Facebook account is complicated. For the most part, people just deactivate them (all the information is still there just the profile is no longer visible).

Personally, I only accepted as "Friends" people who I am somewhat close to and I kept the number quite low. I share my blogs, information on issues I find important, etc. I find the website useful in the way I use it. It is a "to each their own" issue though because there are many such websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook and some people find some more useful than others.

The matter remains: Facebook will try to hang on to your personal information as hard as they can once you give it to them.

Cheers for another good blog!


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Welcome back, Mr Happy. I missed you. How did your trip go? Are your batteries charged up again?

My wife and I have since created a joint Facebook account so we can do exactly what you do, share our blogs and opinions with like minded people. It tends to attract only those people who we are very close to and those who are really interested in the work we do. It suits us so much better. It is called Manx Hypnosis.

Thank you for your comment.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

I have truly enjoyed Facebook because I have found many old friends and acquaintances that I have long wondered what became of; and I have been found by many people too that I was glad to hear from. Of course, as you say, after the first flurry of correspondence it fades away. I figure I will give it up one day. I only spend five minutes a day on it. Thank you for the information about how to delete the account. That will come in handy.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man Author

Thank you Mr Watkins for visiting and it looks like you use Facebook wisely as a tool that serves you.


annart profile image

annart 4 years ago from SW England

Extremely interesting. I have always refused friends' and family members' attempts to persuade me to join Facebook, for the very reason that I don't want to share everything with everybody! My true friends I can phone or talk to, so no worries there. Family who are far away are available on Skype so again no problem. I joined Twitter to try to find someone whose mail had come to us by mistake - still haven't found them - and now I use it in connection with hubpages. However, I'm not totally happy with Twitter and I must confess I'm not entirely sure how to use it!

My main feeling is that I don't have enough time to spend hours on the computer, be it hubpages or anything else; I do worry that hubpages can become addictive as you say. Now I shall keep even better tabs on my time on hubpages, however much I enjoy it - the old mantra, Everyting in Moderation! Thanks for the words of wisdom. Voted up, interesting and useful.


d.william profile image

d.william 4 years ago from Somewhere in the south

I ran across this article while searching for a "how to" instructions manual on permanently deleting my Facebook account. After several attempts i just gave up. With the help of this hub and the excellent video attached, i followed these steps and was finally able to permanently delete this nefarious account.

Thank you so much for sharing this information.

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