Leaving Facebook

Sometimes I feel like I should just leave Facebook and social media for good. Ever since I was at the Miami Ad School and I learned all about how advertisers and marketers are using our information from social media sites to serve us extremely targeted ads and content I thought, maybe I shouldn’t be here anymore…

Last year, “The Social Dilemma” came out on Netflix. Although it was a bit exaggerated with the re-creations and profile tracking, it was still a pretty good representation of what these companies are doing with all our data. They are using our Face ID cams to figure out how long we look at certain ads and posts, they are watching our every move on the internet, and now they’re even showing us only things they think we will “like” which is how people get caught up believing in QAnon, the earth being flat and other dumb stuff like that…

Of course, working in the ad industry made it nearly impossible to not be on social media. As a digital copywriter, I had to pay attention to what was going on social media and online platforms. I did meet a few people in advertising who weren’t on Facebook (or any social media) and it was strange that they worked in this business (usually on the data gathering side) and decided not to have their data collected.

Social media is highly addictive and I know this because I’ve deleted the Facebook app and Twitter app from my iPhone quite a few times. Both apps are now back on my iPhone, but when they weren’t my screen time was way down. Our phones are taking over our lives. Humans have become super dependent on smartphones and technology. This is both good and bad at the same time. It’s good that we have all the knowledge in the world right in our pockets. However, if the zombie apocalypse ever does happen and the internet goes down, we will all become useless idiots.

Back in the day, my dad used to draw me little maps when I was driving somewhere new. Older generations can still get around without using their phones for directions. The rest of us are lost in life. When driving back to Miami from New York with my college roommate in 2012, we picked up paper maps from AAA (since it was a free service included with my membership). We were going to attempt to drive all the way back home using real maps, like people used to do. That idea quickly went out the window (with a bag full of maps) in the first minutes of our road trip. We had no idea how to find out where we were on the map (without the little GPS triangle). Even at the mall the mall map always tells you, “You are here.”

I plug my destination into my iPhone GPS, even when I’m going home from somewhere I’ve been to hundreds of times before. Maybe I just want Apple to be aware in case something happens to me? (I don’t want to end up being another Amber/Silver alert on your iPhone). I also like to race the clock and try to beat Apple’s predicted “arrival time.”

It was my birthday recently, and I realized that my birthday is the main reason why I can’t leave Facebook. Back in middle school, I used to know all of my friends’ phone numbers — their home phone numbers — by heart. I still know everyone in my 8th grade class’s home phone number. Our neighborhood had a simple system where every number started with the same three digits, so we only had to memorize the last four — 361-XXXX (it was a time before area codes).

Today, everyone’s number is saved in our cell phones. If I met you after high school, I do not know your phone number. If I lose my iPhone along with all of my contacts tomorrow I would lose about 90% of my friends, forever. I would even lose my girlfriend — Sorry, bye bye Boba… (I had to look up her number on my phone the other day at Walgreens to pick something up for her).

This is the same for birthdays. Back in middle school, maybe even high school you knew your friends’ birthdays. I know many of my oldest friends’ birthdays or around when to expect their birthday in the year. But, we’ve all gotten lazy. Now we let Facebook tell us when it’s someone’s birthday. And we all had those stupid friends who would change their birthday on Facebook just to see which friends didn’t know their real birthday (If you changed your birthday on Facebook to trick your friends, then YOU are the jerk).

If you don’t have Facebook nowadays who’s going to even know when it’s your birthday? You’re stuck going around telling your friends and co-workers, “Oh, by the way, today is my birthday.” You’re not going to get any cake or presents like that.

If you don’t have a Facebook account on your birthday you’re only getting a “happy birthday, love mom” text and possibly some emails from your dentist, your gym and whatever big corporations know your birthday (because they are tracking all of your info). If you’re lucky you may even get some Nintendo Bucks in an email.

I’m stuck with Facebook because of my birthday, but also because if I didn’t have a Facebook I wouldn’t have a place to share these posts with you… so you’re welcome!

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