Facebook, You're Banished

Over the past few months, I’ve been getting increasingly fed up with Facebook. The signal to noise ratio is getting worse everyday and I’m spending more and more time investing in something that is returning less and less value.

For instance, earlier today I went in and declined 17 application requests and ignored 32 “Which Bible Character are you?” kinds of questions. It’s pointless noise that is distracting.

Here’s my goodbye video.

So this is my message. People, get real with this social media stuff. Social media is a tool. It is a means to an end. The end is creating a better life for yourself, increasing your productivity or increasing your business profit potential. I find it highly unbelievable that the ultimate value in life is wasting time on insignificant social interaction.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that social interaction is not valuable. Social interaction is highly valuable – when it helps you meet your end result. I use Twitter because it increases my “presence” marketing. I use Flickr because photos speak a thousand words. I use Tripit because it helps me organize my travel. I use my blog because it increases my chances of marketing myself, my brand and producing tangible business and personal opportunity.

In other words, social media in my life is a tool. There comes a time in everyone’s life where information overload becomes too much. Where the signal to noise ratio makes it impossible to be productive. Where the chaos makes it difficult to stay on target.

Today is that day in my life and the biggest culprit is Facebook. Goodbye Facebook.

For the things that I have benefitted from Facebook in, I encourage you to connect with me other places:

Good night and good luck.

16 Replies to “Facebook, You're Banished”

  1. Seems like one common thread in the social nets you like is specialization. Flickr specializes in photos – twitter specializes in quick thought streams. Facebook, especially with the app framework, now increasingly does more and more all in one place. And the zombie bites aren’t helping much!

    In the larger picture, do you think that as social media developers, specialization will be more and more important?

  2. Aaron, please don’t do this to us. We need you. Cmon, you social media geeks hurt my feelings enough at SxSW. I will try to get the Bible beaters, pirates and zombies to a minimum, okay?

    Poke you later, sweetums ;-).

  3. Hey Aaron,

    thank god I’m not the only one who think like that. It is sometimes really annoying with what they come up with. In the beginning it was very good and much better than myspace. Clean and simple. But now everybody dumps everything on their page and it looks cluttered as it does on myspace. And I get requests for apps I really don’t care for. Like, what is your favorite toilet paper?

  4. So I didn’t watch the video, did you say which Bible charecter you are?

    Yeah, I am surprised when I check in at FB every few weeks and do find some value.

  5. You’ve outlined the reason I never really signed up for FB and why I didn’t have a myspace page for more than a week. My attention only goes so far and there’s lots of other competition for it.

    Unsolicited video pointers: don’t slouch on the couch and try to apply twitter brevity to your videos. It’s hard I know, I constantly do both too :)

  6. What Facebook needs RE: app invitations is an “ignore permanently” function so you don’t get any more “buy your friends” invitations once you’ve decided it’s stupid.

    As far as events go, I use that with fbCal and couldn’t be happier.

  7. Aaron,
    I’ll agree that, since the launch of the Facebook Platform, the noise has increased on Facebook. I solved this by responding to each annoying application request with a message asking my friend to not send me stuff like that. It’s worked so far.

    Beyond that… shouldn’t you also consider your criteria? Facebook was launched years ago as a way to interact with your real-life friends online. For many that holds true… 99% of the people I am friends I have some other relationship with, be it friend, family, co-worker. So Facebook still holds real value to me.

    With all the other SM tools you use, couldn’t you also agree? If you’re following thousands, doesn’t it become essentially useless? If you have so many contacts in Flickr, doesn’t is just a stream of random photos?

    I’m not going to urge you to reconsider. I was never Facebook friends with you anyways :-(

  8. Could that be the actual Zuckerberg or an imposter? Hope it’s not an imposter.

    Anyway. Useful social media?

    Interesting concept, oh wait, I’ve been saying for a while now that the value of social media is far beyond simple.
    Social media, to me, represents a transitionary (this is a word, no? is now) phase in the evolution and development of the human species.
    As our population continues to explode, and our globe continues to effectively “shrink,” humans are developing “apps,” as the socnet geeks say, which aid us in learning to effectively communicate.
    Effective communication is the foundation for civility and justice, and gives us many useful tools, such as journalism, Marketing, Legal process, the Constitution, and twitter (if we choose this to be so, that is), etcetera.

    I applaud you in not only seeking to highlight the importance, the larger scale importance, of social media and human interaction, but also to critique a growing trend which does tend to distort what is, IMhumbleO, a necessary tool for the advancement of our species.

    A bit off topic, but at a recent convention, I mentioned a desire to build a “shopping mall” on the moon. Similar to the real benefit of social media, and like the masses who use facebook, “shopping mall” in a metaphorical sense, escaped my audience.

    Nonetheless, we can “shop” on the moon. I fully expect this to happen near the end of my lifetime, if not sooner.
    Interestingly, folks scoffed, and refused to see this as a viable and necessary goal. My response returned those skeptics and non-believers to the wisdom of a great chemist, humanist and communicator, as well as a not-half-bad science fiction writer (the guy coined the phrase, robotics).

    This man, an active member of the US Navy during the ’40’s, and involved in the proliferation of Nuclear Energy, said that in order to better understand ourselves and survive at an optimum level, we must colonize the moon. His point is that in so doing, we will learn to effectively manage an economy of scale, in a very strict and harsh environment, and that the knowledge gained in so doing will allow us to sustain life on Earth, given the strain our increasing population puts on the Earth, with both our increasing numbers and mobility.

    Humans are intrinsically inclined to participate in social activity, but some interesting phenomena occurs in this regard. Studies of network news show a trend which demonstrates a need people seem to have to connect to people they aren’t actually interacting with. For example, people humanize and identify with their network news anchors, and often call them by first name, become outraged at changes, write in regarding new haircuts, etc…this phenom is noticeable in elderly populations, especially, and in those that just “don’t get out much…” so to speak. But yet, it also occurs widely enough to be of interest.

    Further, other research shows that while online interaction is widely used, it is not a direct substitute for actual socializing, as it uses few of the whole gamuts of processes we have at our disposal for socializing. We get something from online interaction, but it seems unlikely to ever replace actual human interaction, which occurs in face-to-face settings, and not ViaCMC. In some ways, the facebook noise seems to be a way of attempting to make computerized interaction/social networking a more valid way of replacing actual human interaction. Somehow, as you’ve noted, those attempts seem to fall short, and create only noise.

    While you may not have intended to reach the levity of “survival of humankind” with your post, it gave me a forum for preaching my optimized evolutionary advancement rhetoric.
    Thank you.
    Oh and ps, if you leave me a commnent on facebook, likely I’ll get it in a couple weeks, as I log in on a regular (ahem, not) monthly basis…if not even longer…
    However, I will respond to your tweets, typically instantly, but at least, within 8 hours, as I prefer the lack of “apps,” and the increase in actual knowledge, sans clutter and “noise.”

  9. Go Aaron! I do still use facebook, but I use few apps. I get more out of the simplicity of Twitter for now. I do think that Facebook is very useful for some, but I totally get your decision.

  10. I’ve recently noticed an increase of commentary like this, and its very interesting to someone at the intersection of two communities – the original college student users and the more recent social media adopters.

    I get your argument here, and I can understand how Facebook would become nothing more than a timesuck. Actually, that’s all it’s ever been for me… but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever quit it. And I could confidently say the same for 90% of my 400+ friends.

    If enough of your “real life” friends are on Facebook, or any social network, there is absolutely a value in social interaction purely for social interaction sake. No end result needed. I get your point about the need to market yourself or organize your life, but can you really value these things above personal relationships? I find that hard to believe.

    Facebook has become the place to stay in touch with my closes friends, long lost acquaintances, and even family, who might now live across the country, and feel apart of each others lives.

    I don’t know if later adopters will ever get this same “value” out of Facebook, but I don’t think it will ever lose its core user base. A few anoying application or quiz requests everyday is a small price to pay for what this network gives us… but I’m sure the same can’t be said for everyone, so I commend you on your decision to give it up if the investment isn’t worth the return.

  11. I normally just ignore the invitations that don’t matter. Uncheck box for notifications that I don’t want to have. Still, I find Facebook useful in disseminating and reading latest feeds. Post and find out upcoming events. I suggest that you still stay and just ignore the invites that you are not interested in.

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