Flirting with Facebook

Pam
Pam Frampton
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You'd think that after giving your mother a nice dinner and some presents on Mother's Day, she wouldn't try to wreck your happy marriage.
You obviously don't know my mother.
"I was only on Facebook for a week …," I was telling my sister-in-law Sunday evening.
My mother interrupted me with a burst of laughter.
"Ha! I thought you said you'd only been unfaithful for a week!"
My husband looked momentarily taken aback, but then saw the humour in the nonchalance of it all.
"Yeah, it's not like you were Tiger Woods or anything," he quipped. "It was only a week ..."
"Don't worry," I said, reassuringly. "I'll get in some rehab program for 30 days and everything will be fine."
One of these days, I swear Mom's hearing problem is going to land someone in serious trouble.
Meanwhile, I'm pleased to report that I have not experienced any sense of infidelity about deactivating my Facebook account.
Actually, I feel relief.
I had somehow avoided the whole social networking whirl for years, despite the peer pressure. The thought of slavishly uploading photos from every family event and vacation and sending out cheery status reports smacked more of business than pleasure.
I know people who have spent more time getting party photos from the camera to the computer than they did at the actual party. I work at a computer all day and had no desire to spend so much of my off time online.
And then my nephew had to go and get married in Jamaica and there were far too many lovely photos to distribute via e-mail.
The only way to see them was - you guessed it - Facebook.
I was caught. They had me hook, line and sinker. I could almost feel the tug on my flesh and the pain in my cheek.
So, I dutifully set up an account and told them all about me. Well, not all. Just as much as I had to, actually.
I hadn't even had a chance to see all the wedding photos when I got my first hit. My niece in P.E.I. sent me a note: "Yay!!! you finally got facebook!"
That was promptly followed by an onslaught of messages from people who wanted to be my friend.
Sisters, brother-in-law, nephews, friends of sister, friends of nieces, people I barely know, people I used to know, people I don't know.
Ping! Ping! Ping! went the inbox, insistently. I could almost hear it hissing: You've got mail! Deal with it! You wouldn't want your "friends" to get angry …
I didn't even have a profile picture, and one of my "friends" had more than a thousand photos and videos uploaded.
I couldn't compete with that. Real friends don't make friends feel inadequate.
Then there were all the new comments to read.
Kim likes Lisa's picture.
Bunny thinks Biff's puppy is too cute!
Here is a picture of Whiskers and Buttons and a blue chair.
I'm feeling happy today.
I like spaghetti.
It felt like it was raining minutiae and I was soaking wet.
Yes, I'm being a bit facetious. Facebook has some wonderful applications - it's a great way to energize a group, celebrate a life, increase awareness or raise funds for charity. It just didn't work for me.
Before long, I decided I didn't have the motivation to be a member of this virtual community. I love my family and friends and love hearing from them - better yet, seeing them - but not like this. I don't want to send shout-outs or pokes or write on someone's wall, and I sure as heck don't need pressure from a computer to keep up a constant flurry of quips and exchanges.
My status? I prefer to keep that to myself.
So, last Saturday, I pulled the plug.
But not before meeting with some opposition.
Before you can deactivate your account, you have to answer an online questionnaire - and be prepared for an electronic interrogation.
Click on "I don't find Facebook useful," and you'll get a pop-up box that says, "You may find Facebook more useful by connecting with more of your friends. Check out our Friend Finder to see who you know on the site …"
Choose "I don't know how to use Facebook," and they'll respond with: "Learn the basics with the Getting Started Guide. You can also find answers from us, as well as other users, in our Help Center."
Select "I have a privacy concern," and they send this persuasive reply: "Please remember that you can always control the information that you share and who can see it. Before you deactivate, please take a moment to learn more about how privacy works on Facebook."
It was like having a conversation with one of those smart-alecky people who have an answer for everything.
My husband said it sounds like I was trying to extricate myself from a cult.
Frankly, the thought of what could happen to all that private information, not to mention all the location shots and pictures of spouses and kids that people post online - well, maybe you have to work in the media to let your imagination go to such dark places.
In the end, I chose "I don't feel safe on Facebook."
It was the truth.

Pam Frampton is the Telegram's story editor. She can be reached by e-mail at pframpton@thetelegram.com. Read her columns online at www.thetelegram.com. Pam has a new food blog at http://www.wininganddiningwithpam.blogspot.com/

Organizations: Help Center

Geographic location: Jamaica

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Recent comments

  • Shyloh Jacobs
    January 11, 2011 - 11:42

    Thank you for this! I found it to be a very interesting read. A while ago I was looking for some good bmw repair and I found Facebook helpful to finding a business in my area as well as customer reviews and all the information I need in one place including a link to their site. So, just like everything else around, it has it's ups and it's downs but doing research never hurts. http://www.eurobahnmotorsportsnc.com

  • Gen X
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Pam,

    At best, I find you annoying, and can't bring myself to say that I agree with your view of Facebook. I'll just have to say we share the same view point. People truly don't understand the implications of uploading so much personal information. Shame really that people are that ignorant.

    :)

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Pam,

    While you may have deactivated your account, you likely have not deleted it as Facebook makes this difficult to do. Businessinsider.com has a list of ten reasons to delete your Facebook account. #3 is especially telling.

    #3. Facebook makes it incredibly difficult to truly delete your account.

    It's one thing to make data public or even mislead users about doing so; but where I really draw the line is that, once you decide you've had enough, it's pretty tricky to really delete your account. They make no promises about deleting your data and every application you've used may keep it as well. On top of that, account deletion is incredibly (and intentionally) confusing. When you go to your account settings, you're given an option to deactivate your account, which turns out not to be the same thing as deleting it. Deactivating means you can still be tagged in photos and be spammed by Facebook (you actually have to opt out of getting emails as part of the deactivation, an incredibly easy detail to overlook, since you think you're deleting your account). Finally, the moment you log back in, you're back like nothing ever happened! In fact, it's really not much different from not logging in for awhile. To actually delete your account, you have to find a link buried in the on-line help (by buried I mean it takes five clicks to get there). Or you can just click here. (see link below) Basically, Facebook is trying to trick their users into allowing them to keep their data even after they've deleted their account

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/10-reasons-to-delete-your-facebook-account-2010-5#ixzz0o00ttc2J

    Reason #3 outlines how to delete, not deactivate, your Facebook account.

    Cheers,
    Chris

  • just
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Facebook will not let you 'delete' your account. The best thing you can do is remove all your pictures and change all your personal info to something bogus, then go through their useless account deactivation process.

    Oh, and if you have it linked to a hotmail account, make sure your hotmail account security question has an answer that cannot be easily figured out by friends or non-friends. Hotmail is the easy back door into many peoples accounts...and not just Facebook!
    Cheers.

  • Mr. Soundoff
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I agree with previous post. You must delete your account not deactivate it in ordeer for it to be permanetly gone and you must not log in again or try to for 2 weeks because that's what Facebook needs to hmm err click a mouse.

    Legally speaking - a deactivated account is still live with Facebook and the information is not deleted. Facebook makes it a very tedious task to delete the account and should be taken to task on this.

    Here is a link I found useful for deleting your Facebook account on WikiHow's great site:

    http://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account

  • Gen X
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Pam,

    At best, I find you annoying, and can't bring myself to say that I agree with your view of Facebook. I'll just have to say we share the same view point. People truly don't understand the implications of uploading so much personal information. Shame really that people are that ignorant.

    :)

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Pam,

    While you may have deactivated your account, you likely have not deleted it as Facebook makes this difficult to do. Businessinsider.com has a list of ten reasons to delete your Facebook account. #3 is especially telling.

    #3. Facebook makes it incredibly difficult to truly delete your account.

    It's one thing to make data public or even mislead users about doing so; but where I really draw the line is that, once you decide you've had enough, it's pretty tricky to really delete your account. They make no promises about deleting your data and every application you've used may keep it as well. On top of that, account deletion is incredibly (and intentionally) confusing. When you go to your account settings, you're given an option to deactivate your account, which turns out not to be the same thing as deleting it. Deactivating means you can still be tagged in photos and be spammed by Facebook (you actually have to opt out of getting emails as part of the deactivation, an incredibly easy detail to overlook, since you think you're deleting your account). Finally, the moment you log back in, you're back like nothing ever happened! In fact, it's really not much different from not logging in for awhile. To actually delete your account, you have to find a link buried in the on-line help (by buried I mean it takes five clicks to get there). Or you can just click here. (see link below) Basically, Facebook is trying to trick their users into allowing them to keep their data even after they've deleted their account

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/10-reasons-to-delete-your-facebook-account-2010-5#ixzz0o00ttc2J

    Reason #3 outlines how to delete, not deactivate, your Facebook account.

    Cheers,
    Chris

  • just
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Facebook will not let you 'delete' your account. The best thing you can do is remove all your pictures and change all your personal info to something bogus, then go through their useless account deactivation process.

    Oh, and if you have it linked to a hotmail account, make sure your hotmail account security question has an answer that cannot be easily figured out by friends or non-friends. Hotmail is the easy back door into many peoples accounts...and not just Facebook!
    Cheers.

  • Mr. Soundoff
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    I agree with previous post. You must delete your account not deactivate it in ordeer for it to be permanetly gone and you must not log in again or try to for 2 weeks because that's what Facebook needs to hmm err click a mouse.

    Legally speaking - a deactivated account is still live with Facebook and the information is not deleted. Facebook makes it a very tedious task to delete the account and should be taken to task on this.

    Here is a link I found useful for deleting your Facebook account on WikiHow's great site:

    http://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account