Have you guys heard about the “Facebook bug” that supposedly makes all your old messages publicly available on your wall? I saw this on Huffington Post about a week ago and decided to investigate. I’ve been on Facebook since 2004, and there are definitely some Facebook interactions that I did not want to be public on my wall. I signed in, went to my profile page, and scrolled all the way down to when I joined Facebook. Sure enough, there were lots and lots of messages on my wall. Some of them were borderline NSFW (I was a 20-year-old college student in 2004) and said things like “We’re going to get soooo drunk at so-and-so’s party this weekend!” or “I was too hungover to make it to class-what did we talk about today?” Nothing that’s going to get me arrested, for sure, but stuff I don’t need on my wall, especially since I’m now friends with coworkers, my parents, my friends’ parents, etc.
I went through and “hid” all of these interactions from my wall for
each year. Then I refreshed my profile page, just to be sure everything
was gone. I’ll be damned if more annoying/slightly embarrassing
messages didn’t pop up--a whole new crop of them! I sure was active on
Facebook at certain periods in the last 8 years. I went through and
hid/deleted each and every single one of these new messages, and then
refreshed again just to be sure. And more messages/wall posts popped
up. I googled around to make sure I was hiding/deleting correctly, went
through my wall for the last 8 years and got rid of pretty much
everything that wasn’t a fairly benign picture or birthday wish, and
then refreshed again. More. Effing. Messages. Some of which seemed
very personal. For example: now public on my wall was a back and forth
between me and another former RA, us flirting, asking each other out,
and then one of us harshly ditching the other--not something I think I’d
keep public on my wall. Facebook swears it didn’t publish private
messages, and that anything that seems that way is just their users
being stupid luddite laypeople, but I’m unconvinced. Once I came across
that exchange, I was done. I had spent the better part of an hour
messing around on Facebook trying to hide information that I didn’t want
personal but that the site seemed insistent on keeping front and center
on my wall. I went into the settings and shut down my account.
Goodbye, Facebook. You have irritated me to the point where I don’t
want to talk to you anymore.
was about a week ago, and so far I am still irate enough not to want to
re-activate my account. I’ve also thought a lot about what I use
Facebook for. I post things from time to time (pictures, mostly, but
lately also several political rants--yes, I’m one of those people). I
use it to keep up with friends near and far. I also use it to, ahem,
spy on people. You know what I’m talking about--looking up that old
boyfriend or the girl who was mean to you in high school, and comparing
your life to theirs. This enabled me to be petty and awful and dwell on
things in the past that I really didn’t need to be thinking about 10
years after the fact. Yes, that girl was really mean to me our senior
year. It looks like she now has an incarcerated boyfriend and an
illegitimate child. By my completely made-up scorecard, I’m winning.
But really, she’s probably not sitting around thinking about someone
she knew ten years ago. She’s probably out there, living her life,
while I’m hunched in front of my computer cackling over her
(as-perceived-by-me) misfortune. Who’s the winner now?
also noticed that I turn to Facebook when I’m bored or procrastinating.
I’ve never been more fascinated by Facebook than when I have a
difficult assignment or project in front of me. Deadline coming up?
You can probably find me clicking through someone’s photos that I’ve
already seen a dozen times. Do I learn something new? Does it get me
closer to finishing my nagging task? Do I gain anything from this? Not
I don’t think I’ll stay off Facebook forever. My goal is to last until
the election is over, in part because I have a diverse group of friends
and in part because I can’t say anything nice about the other candidate
so I should probably just refrain from saying anything at all. After
that, I’m going to go through and do a serious purge. I will unfriend
anyone that I wouldn’t stop and say hello to on the street, and anyone
I’m friends with only so I can make fun of them in my head. I admire
people who don’t check Facebook daily (or even weekly) and abstain from
joining the fray of insults, political rants, and posts about was for
breakfast. I want to be one of them. Until I can trust myself to
transform, though, I’m going to stay away.