Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?

I just deleted my Facebook. Yep. That's right. No more Facebook. No, it is not because of the data breach, if you can really call it that, but it was the catalyst that made me start thinking about why I am active on social media.

Clearly, I am not ok with what happend. It is one thing for me to give permission to an app/ developer/ company to scrape my data. I will agree that it is fair game. It is quite another thing for an app/ developer / company to scrape data from a third party who hasn't expressly consented to sharing their data. As the internet comes of age, I fully believe that companies who have a virtual presence should be held legally accountable for personal data end ensuring its confidentiality. I whole heartedly believe in net neutrality and freedom of content. I do not believe in abusing personal data.

But at the end of the day, even after knowing that my friends' data could have been used without their permission, I was prepared to continue using Facebook. I'm a developer. I know what the data risks are. I know how (potentially) easy it can be to hack something and gain access to an entire database, especially if there is an error in the code. It's not that big of a deal. Right? Wrong.

Here's the thing. I had become so sucked in to this virtual world of people, some of whom I haven't seen or really even spoken to in over 20 years, that when this massive tech company was so incredibly opaque about their incredibly shady business practices, I didn't give it more of a thought than “Oh shit. That sucks for them.”

And that is when it hit me: I have been totally and completely sucked in by social media. If my doctor, a friend, or even my butcher gave away my personal details of me and all of my friends, I would be pretty peeved and would be reconsidering our relationship, but when a digital platform does it, I hardly blink first. Why? Because I have been totally and completely sucked in to a digital voyeurism and sense of community. In short, I am addicted.

Over the next few days, I decided to be more conscious about when I was using Facebook without trying to limit my use. I was getting distracted while cooking dinner, tuning out my partner, and missing conversations with my kids. Honestly, I have no idea how many hours a day I was losing, but I was missing out on meaningful human interaction, the kind that is ultimately what life is about.

I decided that for one week, I would log out of Facebook and as soon as I got home, my phone would go into a drawer. It was better, but I definitely cheated. I still found myself arguing with strangers or envying the “perfect life” of a high school classmate whom I hadn't spoken to in 20 years. But, even with the reduction, my kids seemed to be more satisfied with our interactions, they were more relaxed and played more independently, and I really found I appreciated my partner more. I also finished a book, learned a new coding stack and deployed a new app using that stack, baked cookies for all the neighbors, delivered cookies to all the neighbors, and even wrote this blogpost. In short, I realized that when I am just focused on the things that are immediately relevant to me, life gets even better and I get the opportunity to get to know my immediate community.

So here's the thing, if I did all of those things in one week, what can I accomplish if Facebook wasn't a possibility? What kind of projects can I finish, what kind of presence can I have in my community, and what kind of mother am I capable of being? At this point in my life, these things feel so much more important than having a social media presence.

So, Facebook, so long!

For the rest of you, you can find this techie in the real world.


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