Facebook Erases Me, and I Feel Liberated

A couple days ago my Timeline and Activity Log on Facebook disappeared. Three years of posts, links, and interaction erased! All that remained of me on FB were my About page and photos. I was outraged! I was in despair! So much of my life history zapped into nothingness. How dare they! (Ha ha. Like Facebook owes me anything. A good wake-up call.)

Silver Lining #1

Soon, I got my brains back. I remembered that as a Boomer, I grew up without any of this electronic crap. How important was it, really? Sure, if the photos were ever lost, that would be a bummer, but with digital photography, I’ve got so many photos on my hard drive right now, would I even notice?

Silver Lining #2

But all that Internet history erased, lost as a historical record. I would never be able to back and access it again. And then I thought – Really? Would I ever have done that, seriously? And don’t I feel better to have that big chunk of data scrubbed from their data base? Kind of a relief, even though I’m not one to post topless photos of myself smoking a bong. But still. Clean slate!

Silver Lining #3

Have you ever wondered what you’d do if one of your networks became unusable, say they started charging or went belly-up or redesigned the site in a way that you hated?

When I thought FB erased me, I quickly made an alternate plan. I would leave my page intact, but add a referral to my profile on Google+, LinkedIn, or somewhere else. Who cares where? There’ll always be a place to “live” on the Internet.

Because here’s another stupid situation that suddenly provides a brilliant solution: Have you ever felt frustrated that you’re connecting with the same people on multiple networks? (i.e. Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google+, etc.)? Doesn’t it seem like overkill? What good is all that duplication?

However, it could be useful, because if you left one platform, you could go somewhere else and most of your friends would still be in touch with you. (If you’re one of those people with 20,000 Twitter followers, I’m sorry. I guess.)

Maybe that’s how this saturation of social networking is going to end up. The people who really like what we have to say, or want to keep up with what we’re doing, will always be with us. The rest? They’ll churn and reattach, to us somehow, or to someone else.

The upside of all this crazy profusion of platforms is we’re all cross-networking. And the result of that? I think we become our own presence, our own brand. If one platform is sold or shuts down or becomes a corporate asshole, we pivot to another. Our followers follow, because we’ve made it a point to be WORTH following. And life goes on. This, I think, is the future, and the only path to true independence as a web-reliant entrepreneur.

For what it’s worth, Facebook restored my life. And I just really don’t care.

Comments

  1. says

    I’m a keeper, notes, letters, cards, all stuffed in crumbling boxes. I figure my “digital” life is a lot safer online, especially with the cloud access from anywhere. Looks like I’m odd man out here, because I would seriously mourn the loss of my collective electrons!

  2. says

    I want to take a break from Facebook, just for like a month or two. I read somewhere that if you still have it deactivated after 30 days, all of your stuff will be erased. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but I wanted to make sure before I did it. I have years of pictures, notes, and messages that I really don’t want to be deleted. And when I reactivate it, will everything be there like nothing happened? Thanks in advance!

  3. says

    I have been surprised lately by my children (in their 30′s) leaving FB and deleting their profiles. My daughter got tired of her friends knowing her business- and my son had a funny picture of himself posted on a restaurant blog and voted the best picture. He was embarrassed. It’s funny because they got me on FB, and now they’re gone. i miss seeing their photos updates so much- it was an easy way to stay connected.

    • says

      Virginia, that is one of the most interesting things I’ve heard in months. Your kids are really smart. And your last sentence proves how this “new” tech stuff really does get under our skin. When my data was deleted, my first thought was, “I am bereft.” As if my cabin in Big Bear had burned with all the memories. And then I realized how dependent I had become on something over which I have no control, and the part of my brain that craves independence started working. Now I’m tempted to start deleting things, too.

  4. says

    I appreciate this. I thought I lost four years of blog history and was devastated to think such a record of life experiences and relationships had vanished. Connection through social media is another story. I respect it, but I have to manage it. It can take over.

  5. says

    Lynne, I also miss snail mail, rotary phones, phone calls (where are my nickels?) – those were the days! I am curious why FB did they to you – do you know?

    I admit I am addicted to FB because I have a huge learning curve for gather information on the tech side of widening my audience for my blog. I read comments, read blogs, leave comments, share blogs. I need to WRITE more. Agh!

    I love your attitude and wisdom. Great post.

    • says

      Cathy, I don’t know why they did that but have since learned that it’s not unheard of! Kind of like a brown-out with home electricity. It flickers and then is restored. And I too am addicted to FB, for this reason: sometimes you just need to say something to a bunch of buddies, and hear back. Like yesterday, watching that cruise ship limp into port, my husband said, “They should load Congress onto it and tow it back out into the Gulf and leave it there until they solve the budget problem.” I just HAD to shoot that into the universe, and FB complied. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. says

    OMG Lynne…this is a great post! My brain wires are so scrambled trying to keep track of all the social media that I can barely function in the real world. I think you are right, once we find the links we like, we never lose them even if the platform collapses due to technical difficulties. I love Any Shiny Thing and will track you down, not matter what happens out in cyberspace!

  7. says

    I’m with you, Lynne. While I do use FB, it is not my main platform though I do enjoy the social connections and photos. I use LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter and that keeps me busy enough. It is a huge challenge to minimize distractions enough to get the actual writing done. And you are right. It’s not the end of the world.

    • says

      Kathy, you are the tech queen. There was a time in my young adulthood wherein my brother and I “competed” re salaries. When I’d get a raise, I’d tell him and vice versa, and we happily kept neck-and-neck for years. You and I are that way with author-tech. I love that you surprise me with new ideas and new tech accomplishments. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. says

    The same thing happened to me on Facebook, and it made me angry–especially since the little box on my page asked “What’s going on, Sandy?” Gee, if they didn’t know, we were all in trouble! Eventually everything was restored, but it sure made me realize how much I rely on Facebook to keep in touch with some people.

  9. says

    Like how someone used to feel if their home burned down. All their history. Journals, hand written letters, pictures…there are advantages to being on line and yet, as you’ve noted here, our history can be erased in a flash on line too.

    But it often leads to, as you’ve so positively spoken to here, a realization that it’s not all necessary.

    Reminds me of Mazuta Mazahide’s line, “Barn’s burnt down, now I can see the moon.”

  10. says

    Love your perspective. I don’t know if I would notice if they erased my personal things, but I use it for business for others…so maybe I would…hmmm….if they erased me would I not be able to post for them? Conundrum. And, I spelled that right! Wow!

    • says

      Lee, since they only removed Timeline and Activity Log, I still had my About page, so figured I’d use it as a billboard, referring all viewers to my blog. And then I thought, cripes, I could do that with ANY network. Long as I have a place to refer them to. It was so freeing! As they say, a paradigm shift.

  11. says

    Ah, Lynne, this is quite thought-provoking. While we writers need social media (for the “social” aspect of being in touch with people in our otherwise-solitary existence, as well as to build our “platform”), putting ourselves out there definitely takes time away from what we say we want to do, WRITE. I’m finding it especially hard because I’m still working and running my own business (meaning I’m duplicating social networks, for my writing and for my biz). So no, I don’t do FB, but I still meet myself coming and going, ha!

    • says

      Oh, I know, Sis! I wrote this on my whiteboard the other day, but I have not yet adhered to it: 3Xday: check email. 2Xday: social netting. 1Xday: write. And the writing was supposed to be a giant chunk. Bummer.

    • says

      I’m a happy girl at heart. But the dark side is this: I hate being played, and I WILL find a way to prevent it in future. PS babysitting ends June 1. Hope to see you more then!!!

  12. says

    Lynne,
    After taking workshops and webinars on Social Media, I’m still clueless. The other night, I discovered that I had 38 views on Jan. 27 on a blog I haven’t used in two years! That’s more than I get on my current blog. WTF? Just a couple of years ago, I felt like a technical whiz, but today, it’s like staring into a black hole of the unknown.

    As long as you still have your pics saved on your hard drive, you’re good. To be honest, I’m thinking of clearing out my own FB. It’s time to reinvent myself…for like the 17th time. Teehee.

      • says

        Reminds of my traveling days-Marriott points and the United Gold card. Kept me traveling in the style I was accustomed to, but followers? Followers are for my writings, whether 140 digits or novels, and of course eventually followers are my gold card, for they too will keep me in the style I am accustomed to. I used to worry if heaven included books, but now I also wish for Twitter, Amazon, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe and Any Shiny Thing. Do you think this is asking for too much? Oh, and one more thing shining thing, cats and dogs. Maybe that is two. Amen?

  13. says

    Ha! Hilarious, Lynn, and so true. I long for a week (at least) away from the E-monster to write, think, read, play (gasp) offline. Then again, I love being in touch, however remotely, with people I might otherwise lose track of. The important thing, I think, is to retain balance, and, as you so eloquently point out, to know that there are many options. Who knows what we’ll have in 5 years, or 10?

    • says

      Sheila (and Bob “Fitz”) I love the toys. When my babysitting gig lightens up a bit, I look forward to creating a robust channel on YouTube, even. But we get wedded to any one network at our peril. Better to be light on our feet.

  14. says

    I am one of those who love all this Internet stuff. Losing what you did would be right up there with the Patriots losing in the playoffs. I commend you for you fast recovery. Maybe you have the makings of a new counseling website.

  15. says

    On Facebook, I’m definitely not worth following. I’m surprised they haven’t removed my profile for lack of a social life. I considered making one up, but I can’t even manage that. I quit LinkedIn because I had nothing to say. Sometimes I wonder why I even use these social media sites. Blogging is the only one of them all that I can sustain.

    • says

      Cindy, our age gives us an amazing gift of perspective that the younger peeps don’t have, doesn’t it? I remember party lines and black rotary-dial phones, for example.

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