The Digital Gentleman, looking to make sense of the mess called social media, recently deactivated his Facebook account. This is a series about the resulting misadventures.
I don’t have a Facebook account. Or, rather, I used to have a Facebook account but, feeling a bit contrarian and wanting to get a little bit of time back on my calendar, I shut off my account last week. Perhaps it was all of the IPO hooplah, or the rampant disregard for basic economics precepts. Either way, I shut down Old Blue.
For those of you wondering what the process is like, I can say it’s a bit labyrinthine. The first part is straightforward: go to your “account” settings, then to security, and finally to “deactivate.” But after you click that ominous button, you’re taken on a Facebook-style guilt trip. A page with a bunch of your Facebook friends appears. You will be missed, exhorts the page. They could have at least picked some friends that I am more active with on Facebook—the list of people who would miss me was not compelling enough to make me stay.
Push through these ghosts and then it’s back to standard web practice. Confirm your desire to leave the Social Network. Enter in this CAPTCHA. Confirm again.
Finally, Facebook seems to pause, as if contemplating whether or not to really allow a puny human this degree of agency. It considers for awhile. And then the Facebook login screen appears and it’s over.
As tumultuous as the deactivation process is, it’s really easy to reactivate—just login with your credentials as normal and everything is forgiven. I actually did this on accident (call it Pavlovian) and had to deactivate again. Good one, Old Blue.