For the last forty-eight hours, I have been unreachable via Facebook. This is intentional.
Depending on how you’re actually getting to my Facebook profile – specifically, the URL – you may be seeing “Oops, this content is unavailable,” which is a generic error page displayed when Facebook’s backend thinks you’ve clicked an expired link or a link to content that’s since been deleted, or you may be getting a simple pop-up like this:
At this point, I’d usually say something along the lines of “long story short…” but in this case, I can’t.
It’s not a long story at all. I’ve deactivated my Facebook account. I created it 20 March 2007 and deactivated it 18 September 2015. That’s over eight years of constant social media presence. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly a third of my life.
Social media is great. It keeps us together, keeps us in touch, lets us know who’s doing what, whenever, wherever – and, naturally, therein lies the problem.
Who is this “us?”
At the time I deactivated my account, I had 724 Facebook friends. I’ve kept track over the past few months, but regretfully haven’t actually plotted data points to create a graph – that would have been an excellent idea, considering I meticulously keep track of all sorts of other data in my everyday life. Oops. Oh well.
I can say, however, that the number was significantly higher even just a month or two ago (in the 760 range). What happened? Did I go through my friend list and delete all the people I didn’t really know, with whom I didn’t keep in touch, about whom I frankly don’t give a damn?
Nope. In fact, I’ve never “un-friended” or “blocked” anybody. Ever. I let the other party make that call, should they choose to. And, apparently, the “other parties” have been more than willing to block or “un-friend” me fairly consistently.
Now, obviously, I don’t give a fuck. If they’re petty enough to think “un-friending” or even blocking me is somehow “making a statement,” then they’re no friends of mine regardless. No, my real problem is with the aftermath of some, uh…encounters.
I’ve been targeted, slandered, harassed, “cyber-bullied,” whatever you wanna call it, on multiple occasions, and certainly not just via Facebook. At some point, though, even a disabled queer autistic kid with PTSD needs to grow the fuck up and accept that this is how the world is today. I can’t fight them, but I can make them stop – sometimes permanently.
I’ll give ample warnings. Of course, nobody ever listens. Why should they? If they can say whatever the hell they want online, well, so can I! Short of “I’ll fire-bomb your fucking house at 555 Elm Street, Townsville, PA*,” there’s a whole load of cryptic semi-threatening stuff I can say, completely legally, to a potential stalker or anybody who poses a threat to me via the internet.
Now, for (hopefully) obvious reasons, I can’t say stuff like “I know where you live.” Even if it’s true, and that information was obtained through totally legal, publicly-accessible systems (such as Google – seriously), it’s still mighty fucking suspicious. The fact is, though, you’re never anonymous online. I tried that whole “anonymity” thing a long while ago. Obscuring one’s identity is actually really difficult, and (more importantly) in many cases, motive. For whatever. Think about it.
I’m not stupid, so I don’t sink to that level. If somebody harasses me online, such as the debacle with my ex’s cronies and bodyguards or fuckbuddies or whatever the fuck last June – yes I curse a lot, so sue me – I fight back.
Again, I’m not stupid. I’m certainly not going to call the police, because that’s possibly the dumbest thing I could do. Plus, what police? Call the ones here in Affluent Suburbia, PA? They’d just laugh at me like the last time (when they attacked me and left me to die – not the topic at hand, though).
So…what, call the ones in Millville, NJ, the city to which I’ve traced the harassing messages? Even if I gave them the street address (which I approximated within 100 metres), the make and model of the device used (a smartphone, the make and model of which I knew exactly), the make, model, year, and plates of the car the offender drives (a piece of crap 2011 sedan, all of which I also know exactly), and of course the IP address (which I obviously knew, seeing as that’s never hidden from a site administrator, derp) used to obtain this information (except the car – that I knew because I have a good memory and was threatened in person to begin with)…they would not have done anything.
Nobody takes cyber-threats seriously, especially when it’s a “male” accusing a “female” of abuse, and subsequently her male “friend(s)” of harassment.
In short, nobody believes a “male” can be abused.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to have therapists and doctors who do not think this way, and have been more than willing to help me cope with the trauma I’ve endured throughout my life.
Most of that trauma, of course, has been self-inflicted, internalised, what have you – for example, I was never, ever “abused” by my parents in any way, yet took everything they said to heart and practically beat myself into submission over it. I think they’ve stopped blaming themselves by now – about time, too. I was a failure then, and I’m still pretty much a failure now. At least now we know it’s not entirely my own doing. Small comfort, right? 😛
So, then – why deactivate my Facebook? Well then.
See, here’s the thing. I don’t trust myself. It’s not other people. It’s not what they say or do. Other people are shitty. We know that. In fact, in many cases, we damn near take it for granted!
Fact is, I don’t trust myself not to say things I won’t ultimately regret. There’s a good reason, I’m sure, for having lost so many “Facebook friends” in a relatively short amount of time.
I know there are people who hate what I have to say about religion. Tough shit. You don’t like my presentation of facts? Well, why the fuck are you my friend?
I know there are people who hate what I have to say about gender and sexuality. Tough shit. Again – don’t like my presentation of facts? Well, why the fuck are you my friend?
I definitely know there are people who despise my posts about science and technology, especially medicine. In this case, I have no desire to associate, even indirectly, with that kind of person. I hope they all die, and considering their absurd resistance to modern advances in medicine (see: Munchausen’s by Proxy, or better yet, Special Snowflake Syndrome**) that’s not a terribly unrealistic or even particularly “offensive” statement.
You know what we call people historically suspicious of advances in medical treatment? Dead.
Finally, I’m well aware that Facebook is very much like prison. You sit around and waste time, all the time. You write on walls, and your words and actions are plotted on a timeline – whether you know it or not. Your profile picture is always viewable by anybody, anywhere – again, whether you know it or not.
That’s an ancient meme (presumably as old as Facebook itself, or at the very least, the Facebook opened to the public on 26 September 2006), but I believe it still applies.
Of course, I’m not one of those “Big Brother” conspiracy nut jobs. I don’t think Facebook is “evil,” nor do I think they’re “spying on me.” Get over yourselves. Nothing you and I do or say online could possibly be of interest to the government, let alone a multi-billion-dollar corporation. I’m not important. You’re not important. We don’t matter, and we never will.
Unless, of course, you’re a powerful authority figure, an officer in the Armed Forces, a wealthy businessperson with serious Wall Street and/or Washington sway. In that case, yes, Facebook and others probably care a whole lot about what you’re doing online, so please, get off my silly blog and get back to work.
I am still on Twitter, but that’s about it. I don’t exactly have a small digital footprint, nor, admittedly, would I ever really want to.
I’m just sick of Facebook. I’m sick of the trouble that starts there and I’m sick of how it ends. I’m sick of the relationships it creates and even sicker of those it destroys.
I have no desire to keep in touch with people who really wouldn’t give a shit if I dropped dead, and realistically, the last forty-eight hours kind of proves my point.
* this is obviously not real, but for legal reasons I am obliged to point out this address is completely fake, made-up, imaginary, all that jazz. Go ahead, put it into Google Maps or something. You can even try Bing, provided you are a Reptilian or practice Wicca. Satisfied? Good, now get off my back. 🙂
** not officially recognised by the NIH or APA as a legitimate psychological condition with significant diagnostic validity…yet.