I’m considering breaking up with Facebook. I’ve started to pull back a little, that gentle tug that hints a separation could be on its way. Only I probably won’t make a clean break; but I am considering my options, the value of the relationship, how much time I put into it and what I get out of it.
I’m also bravely looking at my feelings and that sense that things maybe just aren’t right and this isn’t really what I thought it would be. The feeling that something’s just not quite right. It’s not that Katie Holmes’ they’re brainwashing me feeling, maybe more that Katie Holmes’ they’re stalking me feeling.
This comes at a strange time, this need to evaluate my involvement with FB, because my husband, who has been skeptical for the last few years about Facebook, has finally joined. He has gone from sniping at the sidelines to scanning his feed and checking his friend requests with that unmistakable FB glaze.
Maybe I’m just jealous? I don’t think it’s that; I’m genuinely happy to see him enjoying Facebook and I feel vindicated about what I’ve been telling him the last few years that there is some good to Facebook and some purpose. It’s an platform to communicate, share, discover and peer into the life of others.
But I’m also increasingly uneasy about the personal data I’m leaving behind and I think I have a responsibility as a parent not to plaster my children’s photos, videos and anecdotes all over Facebook before they even arrive on the site themselves.
I worry about these little children who in not too many years will want to join Facebook themselves and finding they’re already on it, or the school bullies finding their photos and re-posting them. I think I have a responsibility to let them start on social media with a clean slate.
My slate can never be clean but I made that decision to give over some of my e-life to the social media giant. Just today I’ve deleted all my personal photo albums as I am uncomfortable with them being on the site. I’ll let my friends see my photos at my place and I don’t want them stored on some server I can’t see and don’t know who has access to.
Sometimes I want to shrink back from social media. Now I realise there’s a certainly irony about writing this on a blog, but it’s not a simple thing. I love blogging and enjoying writing, reading comments and also following other’s blogs.
But I’m feeling increasingly wary about my privacy online in general. Just how much data does Google have about my searches and my emails? Is my internet provider or my mobile phone provider sending my data overseas to be scanned and collated? Why when I’ve visited a certain shopping site do the ads keep appearing on other sites? Who has put cookies on my computer and is gathering my internet movements?
The concept of privacy is changing, but it hasn’t, and should never, disappear completely. As internet users we must not let this happen and we must not forget that privacy is ours – don’t give it away too easily and