Saturday, June 25, 2011

Unfriending Ourselves

Sometime in August, I am planning a single-person exodus from Facebook.  I have paid my way through school, including two years of undergrad and a year of grad school, by working in internet marketing and social media.  So how can I want to leave Facebook?  Because I like to be different, I guess.  Whenever I hear that "90% of people do this stupid thing" I no longer want to do that stupid thing. (I know that 90% of the freakin' WORLD is not on Facebook, but according to some studies, 90% of people who use the internet are on Facebook.)  I read a dumb article that the internet is "shrinking" while facebook is growing.  The article was poorly argued, but we can all see how Facebook is taking over like AOL once did long ago, making every user think that Facebook IS the internet.

As far as marketers are concerned, this means we need to focus more and more on conversions (a dirty word for getting your money) through Facebook.  Marketers are like the linguists of advertising culture.  Linguists just watch what language does and record it, take note of it, respond to it.  They don't try to influence it.  Marketers do the same with people's buying habits and spending trends.  They don't try to influence what you buy or what ads you like -- they watch what you are already buying and responding to, and try to profit on that.  No marketer (or linguist) says "This trend is bad! People are idots to let Facebook tell them how to interact with businesses!" Or, for the linguists, "People are idiots to always type in text message lingo!"  They just accept it, and work with it. They make no value judgments.

I don't agree with the linguists or the marketers on these things.  I value-judge like a mofo.

I've read too many reports about how we need to keep focusing on Facebook.  But Facebook is eating our brains! Why can't we just decide to say "FUCK FACEBOOK" and move on?  Well, the bottom line is, online companies won't make as much money (at least not right away) if they do that.

But I'm not concerned about making money off of Facebook anymore.  Next month I will have far bigger concerns! Concerns we lucky denizens of the First World have contended with before Mark Zuckerwhatever was even a twinkle in anybody's eye!  "How do we teach people how to write?"  That will be my main concern.

So yes, I am worried about losing touch with real friends.  But if they are real friends, they can email me pictures of their daughter, or an interesting article they found.  Or they can Tweet at me all they want.  I have no desire or need to flee from Twitter.  (It's only words!)  Leaving Facebook does mean I won't see myself in other people's eyes in quite the same way.  I will sort of be unfriending myself.  But I will continue to have alternative social outlets, and an ongoing message of blather.  I can't help myself.  I'm a writer.

So email me, tweet me, blog me, or Flickr me if you like to look at things.  Just please don't Facebook me.  I'm too cool for that now.

I had hoped to wax more philosophic about this, but here is a good article on why to do it and how to do it from my friend Mike Johnduff, who was off Facebook before "off Facebook" was cool:

How to get off Facebook

And here is an article from a couple years ago when Facebook first started fucking with my brain:

Robyn Byrd is Itchy Typewriter Finger


  1. Never knew that you worked in social media. I thought everyone was quitting facebook last year though...

  2. Yeah, that's how I pay the bills. I couldn't leave while it was the fashionable thing to do because I have to stay on Facebook for work. In August, I will no longer have an excuse.

  3. Hi, just passing by...What's the credits for the image below the title of this post. Thank you.

    Anne-Claire, a fellow grad. student(complit)

  4. Hi Anne-Claire,

    The cartoon is "The Window" by Bids, and it has a Facebook page (ha!) that tells its story.


I publish all the comments, the good, the bad and the ugly. Unless I have no idea what you're saying. If you want to email me (with only good I hope), I'm at rbyrd [at] niu [dot] edu.