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Sylph

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Disillusioned Facebook users quit social-networking site

They say what started as a personal, close-knit community turned into an alienating experience.

June 17, 2010|By Wailin Wong

<span style="font-size:10.5pt;">Facebook still has plenty of friends.Even amid last month's firestorm, which forced executives to hastily revamp the site's privacy settings, the social-networking juggernaut has held steady in membership and traffic. Quit Facebook Day, an online campaign May 31, resulted in about 30,000 departures — a negligible percentage of the platform's nearly 500 million active registered users.

Yet people do quit Facebook, often without fanfare. Their stories are varied, but there is a shared sense that what started as a personal, close-knit community turned into an alienating experience as the site began adding millions of members and more ways to share content.

This cycle is a common one in the technology world, where early adopters discover a cutting-edge platform only to grow disillusioned with it once the masses arrive. But admitting to being a Facebook malcontent represents more than smugly declaring a trend to be passe. For some defectors, the decision to leave is part of a broader debate about the role of social media in shaping the values of a Web-tethered generation.

"Once [Facebook] started getting mainstream … there was a culture that came on that's like the fast-food culture of quick and easy and cheap," said Joseph Dee, 33, a Web strategist who co-founded Quit Facebook Day and deleted his account after about three years on the site. "There was definitely not a lot of real depth to the social interaction I had on there."

Kory Farthing, 25, a Californian who recently quit the site after a nearly seven-year stint, said he initially signed on two or three times a day to check updates and send messages. It was only after graduating from college that he became uncomfortable with how the site blurred his work and family lives.

"In my opinion, Facebook is a childish, insecure way to publicize one's personal life," said Farthing, who still uses social media to publicize his fitness training products business. "My personal life should not be broadcasted to the entire world.… Nothing bad has ever happened to me because of Facebook, but over time I found it to be less and less appealing."

Leaving Facebook was easy for Farthing. It wasn't that way for Mary Jane Skelly, who tried unplugging when she realized that her friend list was dominated by people she barely knew. Skelly's hiatus lasted three weeks. She rejoined Facebook, although she pared her friend list from 250 to 50 people.

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Not planning on quitting. I keep Steve's memorial page there and still plan to do that. I keep up with the many friends he had via that.

I have a page ....don't use it as much as Steve did his. I have about 10 friends who are all either family or real life friends. We use it as a way to keep up. Many of us live across the country from one another. I'm not a big Facebook user so I don't see a lot of the problems that other people do.

I also don't get into all the complaining about it or making fun of people who do use if in certain ways. I figure if a person wants to have a 1000 friends that is their perogative. If they want to risk their personal information so be it. If they want to play games and broadcast it so be it.

I get so mad to go on there and just read complaints from people that they get tired of hearing about this person's game playing or whatever. I say if you don't like it either shut up and ignore or just drop them as a friend.

To me everyone's Internet experience or Facebook experience is just that IT'S THEIRS. They should be allowed to do with it whatever they want too, and not try to be ridiculed or forced into comforming to what someone else wants.

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I don't know what some were expecting, but this kind of stuff happens at almost every site..........

I also don't get into all the complaining about it or making fun of people who do use if in certain ways. I figure if a person wants to have a 1000 friends that is their perogative. If they want to risk their personal information so be it. If they want to play games and broadcast it so be it.

I get so mad to go on there and just read complaints from people that they get tired of hearing about this person's game playing or whatever. I say if you don't like it either shut up and ignore or just drop them as a friend.

To me everyone's Internet experience or Facebook experience is just that IT'S THEIRS. They should be allowed to do with it whatever they want too, and not try to be ridiculed or forced into comforming to what someone else wants.

+1

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I used to think of quitting awhile ago, but it allows me to keep in touch with my rather large family. I realized all I had to do was delete people I didn't want on my page, and ignore requests from people that were not my close friend or family member. Pretty simple to do really--I am content with my small 112 friends, rather than 1000 of people I have never met in my life.

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Facebook has become a bit "detached" from its original purpose, but I still like to have it to keep in touch with old college and high school classmates, kind of like an evolving yearbook as I've mentioned to many people over the years. And people I don't like, I don't delete them. But they have their own place where they can't see my wall, my pictures, status updates, or any other information about me.

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Friends of mine bitched at me for updating my status to much. Then, when I was busy with papers and school, and had no time for updates, people complained and were like, "Are you okay?" blah. Quite a few of those complaining about my lack of updates, were the same that complained that it was TO MANY. I think people would rather just complain about all the stuff they see in their feed, then to get ride of the friend/hide their updates if they don't like it.

There are always ways to keep your info from people, to get info to people, to control your updates and who sees them. IMO, all people need to do is start taking control of their own account, rather then worrying about what the people who run Facebook are doing with others accounts.

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I'm hoping it dies. :) Soon. :)

Just like MySpace is a barren wasteland.

But, Sylph, if you don't use it, then it's already dead to you. I think it's an important tool for many, many people, especially considering it's cheaper than long-distance calls, mail, and actually driving somewhere to see family and friends who are no longer at arm's reach.

The guys in the article, IMO, are being so dramatic. "There was definitely not a lot of real depth to the social interaction I had on there." Well, then. It sounds like the problem is with you and your friends, not Facebook. Not everyone who uses the site sits there and posts thousands of pictures of themselves standing in front of a mirror or thousands of status updates saying "I'm bored" or "I'm eating."

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I think... people are missing the point. If only it served to hear from old friends or family that lives far.

It has become a place for advertising one's personal life, insecurities, passive-aggressive status updates, porno light photos etc.

Which is fun, but then it stops being.

I never said I didn't like it.

I just think it will die. And will eventually be replaced by something else so it's a vicious circle. Once the madness starts, there is no stopping it. :)

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I think... people are missing the point. If only it served to hear from old friends or family that lives far.

It has become a place for advertising one's personal life, insecurities, passive-aggressive status updates, porno light photos etc.

Which is fun, but then it stops being.

I never said I didn't like it.

I just think it will die. And will eventually be replaced by something else so it's a vicious circle. Once the madness starts, there is no stopping it. :)

But that's with any site, though. Including Soap Opera Network.

Name one site other than JesusBook and Christian Singles that doesn't have those things on it.

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