Reconstructing Facebook

After deleting and recreating my Facebook twice, I want to explain my indecisiveness. I've long held strong objections to the monetization of my personal information by Facebook, and still do. I also object to the complicity of tech companies, including Facebook, in morally reprehensible mass surveillence. After reading Nicholas Carr's The Shallows, I had the additional reason that frequent use of the internet makes us better at making snap decisions while detrimentally affecting our ability to concentrate deeply, and Facebook was a clear transgressor. My last reason came from Cal Newport's two posts that argued Facebook doesn't really solve any problem in my life. The vast majority of my friends have my phone number, email, or LinkedIn, or have ways of reaching me. So I deleted my Facebook.

But this winter break, my friends suggested hosting another holiday party. The last one I had hosted was two years ago and it was fantastic. Staying in touch with friends is difficult, and the party provided an excellent reason to reconnect with so many people I missed. I could see them (albeit briefly) and learn what was new in their lives. Now that the majority of my old friends have graduated (or are about to graduate), I had the additional motivation of wanting to learn what was next in their lives. But coordinating such an event, without Facebook, posed a massive logistical challenge. After discussing my reservations with my dad, he told me that he wished he had a way to reach out to the people that had drifted away over the years, and that irrespective of my beliefs, Facebook is unequivocally the way that my generation has chosen to remain in touch.

So, I'm back. I'm still not convinced this is the right decision. Recreating an account is not a minor undertaking, and I intend to be far more cautious with what I post and what I permit to be posted. I'm as curious as you are to see how this ends.