Deleted My Facebook Account of 15 Years and Some Tips

I credit my return to breathing life back into Metafrost with my departure from social media, specifically Facebook.

As some may recall, Metafrost has been in existence on and off for nearly two decades, in various incarnations. This current incarnation came a couple years ago when I made the decision to delete my Facebook account.

I joined Facebook back in 2006 during my studies abroad at the behest of my international friends as a way to keep in touch during our studies, sharing our international adventures and to stay connected as we eventually returned to our respective countries. At first I was slow to warm up to Facebook, recalling memories of MySpace. However, Facebook proved extremely useful, allowing me to re-connect with my friends and family back home and enabling them to follow my antics abroad.

Eventually, I became an expat, remaining overseas for a couple more years and Facebook would be my regular connection to friends and family spanning multiple continents, continuously growing.

I held Facebook in high regard and harbored immense thankfulness for it allowing me to stay connected with those that had touched my life, no matter where my travels/work would take me. I would have happily paid a subscription for this service if there was such an option.

Eventually, my traveling ceased and I settled down with the anticipation of a new stage of my life… parenthood. Facebook again, was a loyal companion, a clear lens through which those dear to me could see the new bundles of joy that I lost myself in and all the wonder that came with a chance at childhood again. (Yes, I did buy some toys for myself, while telling myself it was for the kids.)

Sadly, this was not to last because slowly over time I started to notice some unsettling trends each time I checked Facebook. From Facebook initially showing feeds from my friends and family (along with some ads), I started noticing the emerging creep of junk articles that would start to clog my feed. By junk article, for lack of a better term, I am referring to the click-baity articles that you often see at the bottom of some webpages, with the exceptional/catchy headlines. I usually ignore those when I browse the web and found it weird to see them starting to pop-up in my Facebook feed. I would guess that was the beginning of the decline.

Around that time I also started hearing from my contacts, that I had “Liked” such-and-such article/news piece, which they agreed or disagreed with, or that they noticed I had stayed up late one night from my activity on Facebook. I found it startling that Facebook is sharing that level of minutiae about me. (This was prior to them launching Privacy options.) Also, I noticed my Feed was showing less and less of my friends and family but more and more time-wasting article after article. I had a significant number of Contacts for which it would be near impossible for me to check each of their Profiles for updates, and so I relied on my Feed to see the latest updates all in one area. This was sadly deteriorating in a cringe-worthy way.

Not long after that, news about a big Facebook scandal surfaced and it just left a very bad taste with me. So, I ran a thought process, or two, through my head… “keep and tone down usage” or “delete”?

Some quick considerations were:

  • Feed is wasting a lot of my time on articles, and the comments are getting nastier, with less and less updates from my Friends/Family
  • At the time, it was impossible to delete all of my photos/videos in one swoop without deleting my Facebook account and with 15 years of history, it’s a lot to manually delete one by one
  • Facebook scandal revealed that 3rd party app developers had access to all your photos and all your FB Messenger messages (what if one of those app developers was a pedophile?)
  • If I kept my FB account, I would be fearful to post anything personal on there again in light of the violation. Many of my friends and family reduced their posting as well. So what’s the point? I don’t post, they don’t post, just share random articles, deals and food photos?
  • and several other annoyances…

… and so I came to the conclusion that it was not worth the trouble of keeping and I would delete my Facebook existence of 15 years.

(I think I was one of the very few people who actually deleted Facebook during that #DeleteFacebook movement, though I was not driven to do so because of the movement. It’s not the first time, nor the second time, that I’ve made an atypical choice. It is also perfectly fine for folks to keep their account, as it truly is a personal preference, especially if they didn’t share much on there in the first place. )

I have been asked by friends on the process of deleting Facebook and next I will share the process of how I did it.

Tips on the Process of Deleting Facebook

If you have decided or are seriously thinking about deleting your Facebook account, here are some simple steps for your consideration. (I need to type this out otherwise I am going to forget, because when I was recently asked about it, I had almost forgotten my process.)

If you simply want to Suspend your Facebook account to reactivate in the future, there are other guides you can easily find online.

  1. I believe you can now download all your photos to your computer? If so, be sure to download and backup anything you want to keep.
  2. Take some time, a week or two if needed, to think about alternative ways you will keep in touch with some/all of your contacts.
  3. Choose one or two methods of alternative methods to stay in touch and start drafting your message.
    • Example: Dear Friends and Family, I will be deleting my Facebook account on <insert deletion date here>. My decision is made due to <insert reason here, such as Privacy Concerns, no longer using Facebook as much and wanting to clean up social media, etc>. I hope we can continue to keep in touch from time to time. You can reach me at <insert contact info here> or pass me your contact info and I will reach out to you via <insert alternative method>. I cherish our time together on Facebook and look forward to staying in touch afterwards! Thank you!
  4. Now that your message is drafted and ready. Go to your Facebook Profile and change your Cover Photo to something noticeable. Maybe something like this…
  5. Post your Message and make sure that is your final Post.
  6. Twiddle your thumbs and await the date. You will get some reactions, comments, and be pleasantly surprised by contacts that reach out to you that you haven’t directly connected with in a while. Also, reach out to some of your inactive contacts that you want to stay in touch with and leave them your contact info, in case they miss your announcement. Also, be prepared that realistically you will lose touch with some of them due to the change in medium.
  7. On the day of deletion, check through your messages and record down the contact info of those you will stay in touch with. Check everything. Make sure all your photos and videos are downloaded, if desired.
  8. Go to your Facebook Settings page (or follow the instructions here), take a breather if you need to, and Delete your account.

Facebook Alternatives

It’s been a couple years since I deleted my Facebook account and I have not found a full replacement. During this time, I no longer feel like I need a full replacement anyway. It’s been nice for me, personally. I keep in touch with friends and family via email, iMessage, iCloud photo sharing, Discord, and a bunch of other random methods. I will share that I am less in touch with a large portion of those that were on my Friends List, though I do hear about major events from time to time. It also don’t bother me, since I have enough active close-knit social groups.

But I Need Facebook for Personal Reasons

I have the same problem. I needed a Facebook account in order to join such and such personal/academic group. I solved this by creating a dummy Facebook account, which you can do as well. I maintain zero friends/contacts on it, as well as set all the privacy settings to maximum. I used a nickname, a random image for a profile photo and no cover photo. My friends are aware I have such a dummy account to use for these purposes with zero friends, and have kept it that way. It is a nicer and cleaner way to join groups, or follow your favorite businesses with. You log on to do what you need and then leave; no longer wasting more time on Facebook than that.

I Do Marketing and I Need to Have Social Media – Work Reasons

I also have the same concern. How can a Marketer not have social media accounts? My suggestion would be to have separate Personal vs. Professional social media accounts. It seems it’s generally people’s personal social media that brings them grief from time to time, so if you have them separated, you can always take a break from the personal and just maintain the professional for work as needed.

Post-Facebook

No longer having my old Facebook account has been fairly nice for me and much less of a burden. I did miss it at first, but it was also very refreshing to be free of it and shortly after I rarely thought about it anymore. Now I only login to my dummy Facebook account on workdays to check in on those academic groups for updates. I must also say that it’s been nice for my mood too. I am a naturally positive person and Facebook had the uncanny ability to get me down. I can’t imagine its degree of effect on those less optimistic than I.

In addition, I am once again dabbling and exploring with various publishing mediums, just like before I joined Facebook. I am also sitting down and writing longer pieces, which I rarely did when I was busy drafting short-form FB updates. I also wonder if I had documented my adventures through the years not solely on FB, how many more interesting pieces would I now have to share with my kids.

Presently, my website Metafrost has a Twitter and Instagram account for announcing content on my site and I will see how that goes, as I still need to be on top of social media channels as a professional. That wraps up my personal motive for #DeleteFacebook and the process that I used. Till next time…

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