A message for my friends at Facebook:
For almost two years, I’ve been working as the community manager at a new blogging and social media platform called Micro.blog. It’s a blogging platform, like WordPress, but it’s optimized for short posts. It also has a social timeline where you can follow bloggers and engage in conversations. It’s built on open standards, which means you control your content and can move to another host at any time. It’s ad-free, supported by fees paid by people who want us to host their blogs. It doesn’t interfere with the chronological timeline, so anyone who follows you sees all your posts in chronological order. (You might think that would be the standard in social media, but it’s not.)
Offering an alternative to the closed corporate social media silos is a key part of our mission. The other is creating a safe space for a community engagement that is free of harassment, guided by community guidelines that are enforced.
Working with Micro.blog founder Manton Reece has been one of the best collaborations I’ve ever experienced. I have learned so much from him, and I feel like I have a lot to contribute. He has very specific ideas of how we get out out of the mess that Facebook and Twitter have created in our personal, business, and civic lives. I have come to share his vision, and we are pretty excited about the future Micro.blog.
The more time I spend on Micro.blog, the worse I feel about participating in other social networks: the creepy targeted advertising, the outrage, the endless lists of tips that imply something is wrong with me, all the notifications and suggestions that are intended to capture more of my time and attention for the benefit of the platform.
For example, about a year ago, I decided to stop following Facebook’s instructions to “wish a happy birthday.” It felt so false. Instead I texted, emailed, or called the person. If I didn’t have someone’s contact info, I didn’t wish them a happy birthday. Which seems right.
It’s time for me to pack up my presence on Facebook. The company’s actions regarding privacy, harassment, and political manipulation make me very uneasy, and I don’t want to support it any longer. I don’t want to lose touch with people I’m engaged with here. I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with old friends, cousins, my godmother and her family, and I will be making an effort to keep those connections alive. I have a few options to offer if you want to keep up-to-date and in touch.
1) Subscribe to a personal monthly email that will include updates on me, my family, my critters, work, and travel (including my July trip to Slovenia). Of course, there will be guinea pig photos in every email, guaranteed.
Instead of newsletter, I’m calling it a “friendsletter.” I don’t care if 2 or 20 or 200 people sign up for it. I’ve turned off all the tracking and stats on this account, because it’s not intended to be a list for marketing. It’s just a low tech way for people to keep up-to-date. And if you reply, I’ll answer you back.
2) Send me an email with your email address and (if you like) your street address. I plan to send out more quick notes, photos, and postcards going forward.
3) Follow my personal blog. You can add it to your RSS reader, if you have one. If you don’t have an RSS reader, I suggest you try one. If you don’t know anything about RSS (Really Simple Syndication), here’s an introduction. It is in fact really simple, a great way to keep up with new material on websites without having to visit each site individually.
4) Listen to my podcasts. The Weekly Review is a good choice if you are interested in how to better manage your life, even if you’ve fallen off the organizational wagon a few times, like me. My cohost James Dempsey is a great friend who helps me on the way to my goals by keeping me accountable. He is also a great songwriter who wrote our catchy theme song. I do a few podcasts. I also like helping people start podcasting.
I have downloaded all my Facebook data to keep, and I will be deleting this account on January 31. I don’t want to contribute any more of me to Facebook’s relentless data marketing machine. The company has not proven themselves worthy as the steward of what I treasure most: my relationships.
Hope to keep in touch! - Jean
(Update, Feb. 22, 2019: I clicked the Delete button today. It took me more time to get eveything prepped than I expected. My post “Preparing to Delete Facebook is Hard Work” has some tips for others contemplating making this move.)
PS. I’m also quitting Instagram, which is being ruined by Facebook. I’ve already loaded all my Instagram posts on to my blog. There are a lot of good guinea pigs and dogs on Instagram that I will miss, though. (Update, Feb. 22, 2019: And cats! I didn’t mean to dis all my kitty friends.)
PPS. Next month, I’ll sign off from Twitter. I’m working on a strategy for that. (Update, Sept. 25, 2019: I did not quit Twitter. Yet.)