Why I Left Facebook

Yesterday I put my Facebook account in a hole, and shoveled dirt over it. Don’t worry: I checked it. It was dead already. I wrote about the mechanics of it yesterday in my post about how to delete your Facebook account and leave it write-only. Today I thought I’d spend a little time writing about why I did it.

First of all, I’m not trying to convince anyone to join me here. It’s not like we’re going to go camping or something if you quit Facebook too. The chances are pretty good you have no reason to leave Facebook. For most people it’s either a harmless diversion or a vehicle they perceive as having some potential for growing their business.

For me it was neither. That’s why I left.

My Allergy to Facebook, and What that has to do with Arthur Miller

Some of you may recall the title of Arthur Miller’s play, “The Death of a Salesman”, which the well-known sales trainer Tom Hopkins calls “an abomination of a play”. I read it a long time ago, but to refresh my memory, I looked it up on Wikipedia:

Miller’s play represents a democratization of the ancient form of tragedy; the play’s protagonist [Willy Loman] is himself obsessed with the question of greatness, and his downfall arises directly from his continued misconception of himself—at age 63—as someone capable of greatness, as well as the unshakable conviction that greatness stems directly from personal charisma or popularity.

I left Facebook because of a certain allergic reaction that I have to it: I become Willy Loman.

Kool-Aid Salesmen: Social Media as Business Opportunity

I know some people who work in marketing, some online and some in real life. All generalizations are wrong, of course, but every single marketing person that I know believes religiously that social media is a wonderful vehicle for promoting a business. Why do I say they believe it religiously? Because religion is belief that survives evidence. Tell any marketing person that you’re not making money off of social media and you’ll be told this: “You’re doing it wrong.” That’s religion. You can’t argue with it, because evidence doesn’t matter. Of all the things I’ve done in my life, arguing with religious people is the single least satisfying activity I know.

Now let’s recall Willy Loman’s tragic flaw: “the unshakable conviction that greatness stems directly from personal charisma or popularity.” What is this but the “reputation economy” that we have supposedly entered, now that social media is going to make all of us fabulously well-to-do, provided we’re “doing it right”.

This is Facebook Kool-Aid 101. The reason I feel like Willy Loman on Facebook is first of all the personal flaw I have in my habit of comparing my accomplishments to others, but that’s not all of it. Like most dysfunctional relationships, there are two sides to this one, too. The idiotic notion that my numbers are down because I have mismanaged my reputation (whatever that means) didn’t pop into my head fully formed like some of the other idiotic ideas that occasionally flourish there.

This idiotic idea had more than it’s share of salesmen.

I know how hard sales can be sometimes, so I don’t have any particular malice towards these people, and wish them luck as they knock on the next door.

Now that church is over, let’s give each other the sign of peace, get the heck out of here, and go enjoy our Sundays.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alek.davis Alek Davis

     Are you going to leave Twitter, too?

    • http://www.sacramento-home.com John Lockwood

      I did leave a note there that I’m not monitoring it, but so far I still have access. I haven’t quite decided, but to this point my thinking is that if it starts dragging me down like Facebook did, I will. If not, it’s not hurting anything. To be honest, I don’t find Twitter to be engaging enough to do much damage.

  • Renee

    I left Facebook today…..I hadn’t really posted anything in awhile, but I left because it just became annoying to me.  Facebook killed any interest that my classmates had in a 25 yr high school reunion….why did they need to pay $50.00 a plate when they could catch up for free on Facebook?  Don’t get me wrong, I understand the logic.  But it feels like a place where people can say, “Hey, check me out” and I too, had become that way for awhile.  I didn’t like it, I’d rather have people get to know me in person and decide.  I think that I am missing ‘the good ol’ days’ of when you called someone at home to catch up, pass a note in Biology class, etc…..I realize those days are long gone, but I wanted to drop out of ‘Facebook Society’ and go back to before for myself.

    Renee