I have created at least three Facebook accounts since 2006. My temperament is not one to do things in moderation: check Facebook 30 times a day, or not at all. As professional and personal life becomes more demanding it is increasingly important to give each proper attention. There are some people that have no problem maintaining a balance in their lives. However, I see far too many colleagues and students “just checking” Facebook in meetings and classes.
Facebook, and most social media, has some good. However, the good afforded by social media seems too fleeting. For a time, I relied on Facebook for a news-feed from my favorite publications; New York Times, Guardian, The Economist, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic. This worked, kind of. There were too many stories hidden from view by relying on this method of getting news. Perhaps not surprisingly most of my friends are left of center which only created an echo chamber for what (at least part of the time) wanted to read.
The need to create distance from Facebook started in September, when the
crazy town banana pants variety show 2016 Presidential Campaign was in full swing. In part, it was the torrent of vile things being said about, and by, people. Personally, the amount of fake news was the most troubling, especially when people who wanted to believe falsehoods dismissed facts with no regard to authorship. This signified a culture that dismisses education, and it not a culture that I want any part of.
There are a dizzying number of studies about the the advantages and disadvantages of social media, for every positive there is a negative. The only thing Facebook is good for is annoying others with pictures of your children.
This is not a total abandonment of Facebook, my account will remain active. The only reason to keep the account is to ensure that when people come looking for me they realize that I do have an account, but that it is rather locked down. Also, my twitter account is linked to Facebook and every Tweet sent out (which are few) are posted to my wall. In order to keep myself from “only checking up” on my account I have changed the password to a 40+ character of letters, numbers, symbols, and capitalization that is a bit absurd.