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Monday, January 6, 2014

Why I Deleted My Facebook Profile

Facebook doesn't really want you to know it, but there is a way to permanently delete your profile. Most every user knows about deactivation and I'm sure most have actually used this feature at least once or twice in their life on the social media site, but few know that there's a way to permanently delete it to the point where your information can no longer be retrieved. (I'm sure there are limits to this, of course, such as law enforcement's court order, Facebook employees, etc.)

For anyone wondering how you can permanently delete your profile, click here for the link. This requires that you also wait at least 2 weeks and not log into Facebook for it to completely finalize. If you do so happen to log back in, you have the option to get your account back before the 2 weeks is up.

So why would I delete my account that I've had for over 7 years? For a few reasons actually...

I've been wanting to delete my Facebook for a few years now; it had grown too much apart of my life and became an unhealthy addiction. There are many studies that have also linked depression in people with social networks like Facebook. I was starting to feel depressed myself; watching my friends' lives and how successful they've become and how much fun they have while I was sitting in on a Friday night.

In truth, I have a love-hate relationship with the social network. I'll probably be back but not for personal reasons, it'll be for business-related reasons. I was able to connect with family members across state-lines and rekindle old friendships from my childhood which was mostly enjoyable. However, there were lots of negatives.

In more recent years, I began to question the website and it's effect in my life. Why was I sharing the information that I was with these people? While many of them are close friends and family, I always wondered why they needed to know what was on my mind or what was going on in my life. Not that I have anything to hide, but I don't need people knowing my whereabouts before I even speak to them. In my years on MySpace, I also found that one of the people on my friendslist had some sort of grudge against me. To this day, I still have no idea who it was and what their true intentions were. It's scary thinking that I shared private information with people including some who may hate me.

There is not only a concern of privacy for family and those we call friends, but also from Facebook and others. Recent news articles suggest that Facebook is sharing data with other websites and it's not hard to believe considering how well connected Facebook is with other websites (the "like" button, "share" button, etc.). There is even at least one conspiracy involving Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg and the FBI saying that he is very close. It's safe to say that 99% of the things posted on Facebook pose no threat to public safety, but why share the data with them in the first place? Why give them an opportunity to know where you are? Why release this information where it can potentially be seen by others like someone who wants to learn your schedule and break into your home? Highly unlikely, but it's not something that makes me enthusiastic to stay.

As I said before, I had an active account with Facebook for over 7 years. Can you imagine what kinds of things you said and believed 7 years ago? Chances are that you believed and thought much different things. Considering what little we thought of the internet 7 years ago compared to today, it's also scary thinking what sorts of things we shared with the world wide web back then that we wouldn't consider sharing now. However, not everyone is so understanding if they were to read yesterday's story today.

I considered some of the better things, but these were just many of the things that I considered when deleting my profile.

As I said before, I may return but for different reasons than before. Unfortunately, Facebook has become so much of a huge part of our world, both digital and physical, that we sometimes need a Facebook profile. A few of the dating apps that I used required a Facebook profile (to ensure that you are a real person) and some games use Facebook to save data.

Facebook is a tool and can be used for bad as well as good. Many companies and start-up businesses use it to promote their business and it is a smart and cost-effective way to advertise. It's free (or cheap) and word-of-mouth goes a long way especially considering that users can connect with others from all over the world with the click of a button in a second.

I'll miss my friends and family especially those that I rarely see, but I figured that this was the best decision to make for myself and my future especially considering this is a new year and a great time to make new choices.

What about you guys? What's your relationship with Facebook? Love it? Hate it? Never used it? Wanna leave it? Wanna stay?

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