Saturday, January 4, 2014

Goodbye Facebook: How to Phase Facebook Out of Your Life

It's the new year. It's time to say goodbye to more than just the previous year. More and more each day, people are beginning to permanently log off of Facebook. Many different reasons have been given to explain this mass exodus. After polling my readers, I found the most common reason to be age. Yes, age. Apparently, my readers feel that they have outgrown not only Facebook, but social networking in general. The second most common reason I was given was time. People began to notice how much time they were wasting on social networking at the year's end. Searching through their most active posts and photos left many feeling like they never logged off. The third most common reason for walking away from Facebook was over-sharing. One reader said she new it was time for a change when she began posting the funny comments her children were making during Christmas dinner, DURING Christmas dinner.

No matter the reason, departing from Facebook is definitely going to be a good decision. Just think, no more pesky alerts sending your smartphone into a short seizure. No more thumb cramps. No more speaking in hash tags or acronyms. You will once again become a fully functional human being.

Step 1: Make the Announcement

When I decided to step out of the line of drones, I realized that all of my friends and family were still shackled. Therefore, my much desired relationships would end if I shutdown my Facebook pages. So I decided to make a series of announcements. First there was the general post before the New Year's action. I posted a picture with a warning that the big day was coming. When the day came, I changed my profile and cover photos to help remind my friends and family that I was leaving. I requested everyone's contact information in the general post. Instantly, I received updated info. I also learned who my real friends were not. Anyone who doesn't want to keep in touch with you outside of Facebook is not worthy of your friendship let alone access to your family photos.

Step 2: Hunt Tags

You've been tagged in photos and posts galore. If you delete yourself before removing these tags, your photo and/or post will remain. By "untagging" yourself, you will trigger the question box that will inquire why you want to remove it. Mark the appropriate reason. If you don't find one that fits, mark the "Intellectual Property" option. This will force the person who posted the photo to provide proof that the photo belongs to him or her.

Step 3: Photo Bomb

Start downloading your photo albums and deleting them. Make sure they have been backed up on your hard drive as chances are, these are your only copies of original digital photos. If you don't delete your albums, Facebook will force you to delete each one before you can deactivate your account. Each time you choose to delete, you will be asked if you are sure you want to...repeatedly. If you have business pages on Facebook, be sure to repeat steps 2 and 3 for each business page, AFTER setting up a separate website. Facebook does not allow business pages without a personal account to which to link it. Convenient.

Step 4: Abstinence

Don't post ANYTHING. Don't "like" ANYTHING. This is perhaps the most difficult step. Just one comment or "like" will trigger a conversational relapse. If you like something someone said, call them and tell them. If it isn't important enough to tell them personally, it isn't important enough to comment on. Ask yourself, "Can I say this in person?" The answer will always be affirmative. If by chance it is not, then it isn't worth saying.

Step 5: Radio Silence

Your smartphone is equipped with alerts galore. Turn them off. Until you have received all of the photos and numbers you need, simply turn off any alerts. This prevents the knee-jerk reaction to check the app for that little red number telling you about meaningless activities. It also let's you see just how unimportant most of your notifications are. I left Facebook for 30 days. I came back to over 90 notifications. None of them were significant.

Step 6: Last Call

Contact the specific people you want to keep in contact with. Ask for either their emails and phone numbers as both can change. If comfortable, exchange addresses. This will e the last change for those laggers to stay in touch with you.

Step 7: Delete Account

Don't "deactivate" your account. Actually delete it. Deactivating an account simply places it on hold. To permanently delete your account, you have to choose that option. Facebook will offer to let you download all of your activity. However, the only way to access that information is sign back into your Facebook. 

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