A retrospective of 14 years of Facebook
I opened my Facebook account in 2006, during the tail end of my senior year at Western Washington. With a .edu email address — as was required for registration at that time. As irony would have it, it was recommended to me via my mom, who had run into a high school friend of mine and his mom at the grocery store, and requested we connect.
We never did connect. Even though I would quite have loved to stay in touch with Trent all these years. Now, in retrospect, that origins seems entirely fitting.
Too many essays and videos have already been created about leaving Facebook — including by yours truly. I’m not going to rant about being shadow banned, or about declining visibility of my work, or increasing censorship. I’m not going to lament the politicization of the platform, and of the corruption of data selling and covertly funded propaganda. I’m not going to talk about the toxic, casino-modeled addiction that is newsfeed scrolling, and the toll I estimate it’s taken on my mental and physical health. I’m not even going to focus on the outright danger I feel Facebook’s data collection poses for my family — or that I’m 95% sure that Mark Zuckerberg and his buddies (funded by the US military) are building a clone army.
The decision is already made. It’s done.
This essay is me chronicling the experience for posterity’s sake. Like a time capsule. And perhaps for my own edification. I find that when we walk away from something that’s been a large part of our lives, we’re doomed to repeat our patterns of trauma unless we lay ourselves bare and perform an honest post mortem. We need to understand what just happened. Not because we have the hubris to believe that we can prevent all bad things and abuses from happening to us. But because if we can understand the cycles, we can adjust our expectations, and better prepare ourselves for the seasons of suffering and joy life brings.
So what the hell happened with Facebook?
I don’t know, man. Maybe it’s a sign of my age. But it just seems like one day, I’m walking around with a simple flip phone, reading and writing and working and hanging out with friends and doing shit like a person, and the…