I can't remember how long ago I deleted my Facebook account. Three years? Four? Maybe. I gave it up for a variety of reasons.
First, it was a time-suck of epic proportions. I spent more time than I'd like to admit scrolling through friends' pictures and posts. Twitter can be time-consuming, too, but I personally find scrolling through a timeline of 140 character tweets less daunting. And really, having one less account to check saves me just a bit of time each day.
Second, it occasionally got awkward. There was a lot of pressure (perhaps only my perceptions, but I still felt it) to friend people I'd rather not. Folks I went to high school with, but haven't seen since I was 16 (some of whom didn't even like me then, or vice-verse). Distant relatives with political and social views so divergent from mine, that seeing their posts pop up in my newsfeed made me cringe. (My mother once showed up at my house and asked, "What is the facebook, and why have you unfriended your cousin?") I have never felt the pressure to follow on Twitter. There are no "follower requests" to accept or deny, no assumption that if I don't follow you, I don't like you. I can also follow, but then mute a person if need be. Not that I do that. Ahem.
My growing interest in internet privacy and the control of my own data was the straw that broke my account's back: I just don't trust Mark Zuckerberg to care about users, beyond the cash he can make from us, at all. Of course, I still use social media, so I know my data is not safe and sound and completely in my control. My data is mined on Twitter, yes, but I do feel that 1. I have more accessible control over my security, 2. Twitter has been more transparent about their uses, and 3. the company has consistently responded thoughtfully and well to the user-community's concern (often indignation) over changes to interface and security. I can't say that about FB. I use all things Google. I have more trouble rationalizing the trust I have put in this megalodon. Sure, their moto is "don't be evil," but we've all seen that tested, and Google hasn't always passed. I do think, though, like Twitter, that Google has made much greater efforts to be transparent, and it has made my control over security settings easy and accessible. Bottom line: of all the skeevy social media platforms, and they all have a level of skeeve, I think Zuckerberg's is the skeeviest. (Now I want to create a Skeeve Scale of Social Media. That needs to be a thing.)
Yet now I find myself considering a return.
My growing activism in higher education labor reform is very important to me. I've connected with a lot of really inspiring people on Twitter, had great convos, shared their work (read: retweeted), and even met up with them beyond the screen. I've participated in # chats that have taught me much. But most of these people at one time or another have asked me, "Are you on Facebook?" Many people I'd love to learn from and interact with are not on Twitter, but are friends on the BlueBook of Face. They have networks and groups that share stuff I don't find on Twitter. I know I'm missing a big part of a national conversation that is really central to my professional life.
What really threw me happened yesterday, when my best friend, a guy with not a single social media account, a job in IT, and a healthy mistrust of The Man, said, "You know, I think you should go back to Facebook." What?
I've written it all out, and I still don't know if I can give Zuckerberg the keys