why i un-broke-up with facebook

April 29, 2011

As some of you might have noticed this morning, I’m back on Facebook.  It’s been almost exactly a year since I deleted my profile and blogged about the reasons I left in a huff.

I left Facebook for a number of reasons, but the most important is that I didn’t like how much control I had lost over who saw what.  Since I had been on the site for about six years, I had quite a bit of content up that was posted to be shared with only my good friends — nothing incriminating, but the usual silly pictures from college parties, ridiculous comments everywhere, pretty much what you might expect if someone’s entire college experience is documented (somewhat haphazardly, as I never used facebook even close to on a daily basis) on the web.  My friend network had also become a sprawling mess of a thing — I actually knew everyone when we became “facebook friends,” but at least a fifth weren’t people I really was that interested in staying in touch with.

So what brought me back?  Functionality.

As much as I might dislike Facebook, it’s a very useful tool.  There’s no other network on earth that gives you a way to stay in easy contact with so many people.  Now that I’m planning a cross-country move, along with another move for just the summer, it’s suddenly really valuable to have a way to contact all of my old friends, even those that I don’t stay in regular touch with.

Beyond just planning a big move, I’m also changing careers quite dramatically, and will likely be trying to pick up a lot of contract or freelance work, if things go that direction (still early days).  Having access to my entire network of friends can only help with this.  I’ve been using Linked In, but the more professional nature of that network has meant that it’s used more by my older connections, and less (though increasingly) by others my age.

And so, I’m back.  I’m not going to use Facebook the way that I used to — my usage this time around will be more like an informal version of Linked In.  I’m cleaning up my web presence in general, at least that part of it that’s directly associated with my name.  I don’t make any major effort at being anonymous on this blog, but you’ll probably see that effort step up over the next few months.  This will mostly take the shape of a thorough purging of links to organizations where I’m real-name affiliated, mostly to avoid back-tracking through those sources.  I’m reasonably confident that I’ve done an okay job of this already, as a dear friend of mine who knows lots of my sordid secrets actually had to ask for my blog address yesterday, and the first four google searches I tried using information you might get from casually knowing me didn’t turn anything up. Really, readers who actually know me probably won’t notice any of these changes, though you’ll keep having to get pictures and more specific information about what I’m up to through my real-name web presence, and just come here for the fun stuff that I might prefer some folks not see.

That’s the story for now.  I will grudgingly accept all the shit you want to give me about leaving Facebook and then caving in (my typical Monday booze companion will no doubt have lots to dish out), as long as you’ll be my friend on Facebook.


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