Dear John Letter, or, my Goodbye Ode to Facebook

Dear Facebook,

I don’t really know what year you became popular, but I think I came to you late.  Everyone in my lab in grad school was using you – games, Flair, looking at each other’s crushes – and I joined in what I’ll call my Period of Great Time Wasting.  I enjoyed it, I’ll admit that.

But I’ve had some reservations.  Like the fact that it seems like I constantly have to opt out of things that I think I should opt in to instead.  And the seemingly annual report of random private messages showing up on timelines.  And the compulsory nature of the format changes.  And the fact that if I want to delete my account, I can’t.  And if I want to delete my history, I have to go through it individual item by individual item.  (Which, by the way, doesn’t always work for me, no matter how many times and in how many browsers I try it.)  Then there was the whole using pictures without consent when you “like” a product debacle.  Should I go on?

And yet, still, I LOVED facebook.  My facebook password hint was the phrase: “my favorite website of all time”.  I loved seeing pictures, and I even loved the silly, banal, never ending status updates about where my friends ate and what they were doing.  I loved being able to see where people from my childhood were, without having to actually talk to them.  I liked that I felt like I was “keeping in touch” and as a girl with severe phone phobia, and really horrible small talk skills, facebook let me keep in touch without any of that pesky “touching”.  My dream come true.

But.  I read this article.  And I was disgusted.  I had heard the stories about how facebook came to be – a bunch of geeky college boys rating girls that they wanted to sleep with.  Gross, yes.  A surprise?  Hardly.  But still?  It’s still going on now that Mr. Zuckerberg has millions of dollars and millions more supporters?  14 year old supporters?  And he won’t take a stand against violence towards women?  Like I said, disgusting.  I get it, he’s young.  (28)  And people don’t really think of women as a protected class (imagine trying those pages mentioned in the article but with slurs for minority religious and ethnic groups rather than slurs for women).  But I don’t have to be a part of that.

So, peace out, facebook.  Call me if you grow up.

-K

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