Dear Facebook: It’s Not You, It’s Me (Well, Actually, It’s Mostly You)

Dear Facebook,

I’m writing you this heartfelt letter in hopes that I can get my feelings across adequately.  We’ve been together for so long – things are bound to get emotional; so I thought if I wrote everything down, I might be able get this off my chest.

You’ve changed, Facebook.

Now, I know everybody changes.  It’s part of growing up.  We’re both different from when we got together all those years ago.  You’ve gotten way more popular, and people want you.  The problem is, I think you let that popularity get to your head.  It changed you to the point that, sometimes, I just don’t recognize you anymore.  Is that too harsh?  Really, I don’t want to hurt anyone, but we can’t just sweep that under the rug anymore.

I’m not just talking about redesigning your wardrobe — your whole outlook is different.  You don’t just look different; you are different.

And I don’t want to play this game with you, Facebook.  One minute, you’re acting like I don’t exist — trying to be “in” with the cool crowd and doing whatever you want, without my opinion.  The next minute, you’re getting super-clingy and wanting to know everything I’ve been up to (This may sound rude, but what websites I visit is my business, not yours).  I’m tired, Facebook.  I’m tired of trying to deal with these two different sides of you, and, frankly, I’m not sure either side of you is appealing.

Remember when we first got together?  It was you, me, and some college friends just hanging out and having a good time.  Those were simpler times – no wild expectations of each other, no need to constantly worry about what the other person was up to, and no constant tinkering with the privacy settings.  You were so helpful back then.  When school would break for vacation, you were the best way to keep up with friends.  Attractive, quick, unobtrusive, and simple — just what people needed to share.

But then, something happened.  You grew.

At first, it wasn’t so bad.  A few new features popped up here and there.  I thought it was cute — you were branching out.  Some were actually fun.  Then, the ads started coming.  I kept finding ways to block them, but you really wanted to let me know about Hot Christian Singles in my area.  That wasn’t cute, Facebook; it was creepy.  Then, the games.  Oh, the games.  “Look at your friend play Mafia Wars!.”  “Isn’t Farmville the greatest?!”  “Check out this guy’s Poker score!”  I understand that you found that fascinating, Facebook, but you didn’t need to keep sharing it with me.  It didn’t matter that it wasn’t what I found appealing about you — that’s where your focus had drifted to: marketing.

It got worse when you started sharing my own stuff without my consent.  One day, I signed on to Pandora and found that the two of you had been sharing my musical tastes behind my back.  In a relationship, you need trust, and you were starting to break it. I started giving you less and less because I didn’t know what you would do with what I gave you.  Who else was seeing what I had trusted you with?  Did you think it was coincidence that all my movie and TV show information had disappeared from my profile?

It was around that time that you decided to expand your social reach.  I thought maybe you just wanted some new friends, but it quickly went out of control.  At first, college-aged people who weren’t actually college students could join.  Not a big deal.  But then, parents, some who just barely understood the internet, were joining.  And then their kids.  And grandparents.  And babies.  And dogs, Facebook .  Dogs – creatures who can’t even talk or use a toilet – were getting profiles.  I don’t mind you expanding your social circle, but that was a bit much.  What’s worse, you suddenly became more interested in them than in the people who made you popular in the first place.

And so you grew.  And expanded.  And changed.

But I grew too.  I went through college, graduated, got a degree, became an “adult,” moved away from my parents, and entered the workforce.  You were “fun” when we first got together, but, as my time became limited and I moved away from friends and family, I wanted a simple, effective, yet still appealing way of communicating with people.  But, every time I came back to you, I saw you pulling away from that — almost like you resented it.  You got more cluttered and complicated, and assured me that’s what everyone wanted.  You kept trying to convince me to stay, but it was always on your own terms, for reasons other than why we got together in the first place.

Here’s the thing: I still love technology.  Social media is fantastic.  I will always love hearing and learning about new types of media, and I will almost always be one of the first people to give a new service a try.  Sharing through media is a big part of my life that I won’t give up.  But I can’t do this anymore, Facebook.  I can’t continue watching you just give yourself away in an attempt to please your shareholders, your business partners, and your users.  Maybe I’ve just grown old and grumpy, but not every aspect about my life is yours to share.  I don’t want that, and, if you do, then I’m not sure we’re meant for each other.

It’s not you, Facebook.  It’s me.

(Well, actually, it’s mostly you.)


~ by digitallysmitten on October 11, 2011.

One Response to “Dear Facebook: It’s Not You, It’s Me (Well, Actually, It’s Mostly You)”

  1. Absolutely fantastic. Witty, yet succinct. Ironically, I want to share this article with my Facebook sphere-of-influence.

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