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Mid-year Personal Assessment

Final Launch - AtlantisI made a number of New Year's resolutions back in January. At the top of my list, at #1, was to get rid of my Twitter and Facebook accounts. I'm in the process of deleting the Facebook account. I say "in the process" because when I went to explicitly ask that the account be deleted, I was informed that they would wait two weeks before deleting the account, in case I had a change of heart.

I had a Facebook account for nearly five years, with the majority of the activity in the last two. The first three years of inactivity were due to the fact I signed up and then essentially forgot about it. Then, in 2008, the current company I work for started to make something of a fuss over social networking in general and Twitter and Facebook specifically. So I signed up to Twitter and found an excuse to do something on Facebook.

The sad thing is, I didn't accomplish much of anything on either except waste a lot of my time. At first I tried to tweet/post what little mundane thing I was doing at the time, only to discover how embarrassing that can be; so embarrassing that I've made my tweets private. I wound up deleting them on Facebook. As time wore on I started to post headlines on stories that I cared about, turning both Twitter and Facebook into a kind of running digital scrapbook.

Then I wound up embarrassing my poor daughters by friending them on Facebook, followed by liking their posts and adding my own comments. This, of course, was a great source of hilarity to the girl's twenty-something friends and further embarrassment to the girls. I got more than one lecture from the younger daughter about how she loved me, but would I not make comments on her wall?

Worst of all was getting tangled up in a number of the games, such as Farmville, Farm Town (yes, both), Mafia Wars, and several others for a limited time I've since forgotten about. Talk about an absolute time sink. In the end all of the games turned out to be the same; repetitive tasking to accumulate points in order to move endlessly from level to level. And the games constantly dunned you to purchase, with real money, more points in order to purchase more items to increase your strength and further advance in the game. And onward and onward and so-on and so-forth. Nobody held a gun to my head and forced me to play these games, which makes it all the more embarrassing.

What finally pushed me out are the screwy privacy policies (we essentially have none and never did) that Facebook and Twitter have, especially Facebook. I'd been stripping out all personal information from those accounts for months (birth date, home address, etc). In the end, before I asked to have the Facebook account deleted, I "un-friended" everyone I had a link to, "un-liked" all the groups and pages I had a link to, and then went in and deleted a good chunk of my posts back six months into the past. I tried to disassemble as much as possible the pile of information junk I'd accumulated on Facebook.

The problem with Twitter is you can't delete it. You can deactivate it (I have), and you can hide your tweets (I've done that too). But deactivating the account does not delete the account; it's still there. I took advantage of that "feature" to enable the account a second time, so that I could hide my tweets before deactivating the account yet again, just to make sure nothing was left to find and read.

The older I get the more I find I want to build a buffer between me and the rest of the digital world. Social networking as it's currently setup and practiced crowds far too closely. I need my space and my privacy.

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