Friday, January 28, 2011

Are You Really Sure That You Want To Be a Luddite?

It's not easy to quite Facebook completely. It's easy enough to de-activate your account but deleting it is another matter completely. You have to apply to have your account deleted and that takes 14 days. 14 days during which what you'll see if you decide to log in to Facebook so that you can let all your erstwhile Facebook friends that you've decided to quit Facebook for good is this screen:

So all I've got to do now that I've decided that Facebook is permanently not for me is wait until February the 9th and I'll be dead to the web - or at least that small corner of it that I frequent.

Why delete my Facebook account? For a start, I've read quite a few articles this one over the past few months, articles that had me leaning towards the belief that on-line social networking was a poor surrogate for real world socialising. Then recently, I discovered on-line stories like this one  from Valleywag:
Is Facebook Turning Into a Scammer's Paradise?

Facebook is being overrun by scam surveys, fake applications and bum links, according a new report by an Internet security firm. And it's getting worse by the day as scammers figure out clever new ways to trick unsuspecting users.
then there's this report also from Valleywag:

How an Army of Junkies and Kids Enriches Tech Titans

The company behind Farmville is sealing a deal with Google and has been embraced by Apple and Facebook. That such companies would associate themselves with the exploitation of children and financially depleted addicts is alarming, even in hyper-aggressive Silicon Valley. There's no question Zynga is on a roll. Despite a scandal over the scammy commercial "offers" it once inflicted on users of its online games, the company has been embraced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who in June called Zynga's Farmville a "remarkable phenomenon" and unveiled an iPhone version of the virtual agriculture competition...
Fairfax journalist Peter Hartcher provided the proverbial last straw with this pretentious op-ed at The National Times:
At the centre of the effect that these sites create for the user is a satisfying sort of existential recognition. If the ancient Greeks had developed Facebook they would have recognised that it addresses the innate human need for thymos.
The concept was first described by Plato in The Republic, where he ascribed three parts to the soul - a desiring part called eros, a reasoning part or logos, and a part that he called thymos (pronounced timos) or spiritedness. It is the part of the soul that allows us to feel what, in today's language, we would call self-esteem.
Yeah well maybe but it may be that Plato didn't just describe it for the first time but the last time too. In any case, I've decided that I'm so over Facebook, as we say these days.

One hint for anyone else who might be thinking about deleting their Facebook account: don't, under any circumstances, revisit your account once you've put your "application" for deletion of your account in. That will reset the fourteen day waiting period to 14 days from your most recent login. Facebook really doesn't want you quitting Facebook so it pulls underhanded crap like that to stop you. Which in my view makes another good reason to quit Facebook.

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