I’m trying really hard to not read Hacker News these days, as the contrarian argument-for-argument’s-sake nature of the comments tends to enrage me, but one of the more mystifying memes that seems to persist down in the Comments Dungeon is that the social contract of the United States of America requires you to be on Facebook.
In each thread where the topic appears there’s someone that says “I wish I didn’t have to have a Facebook account but unfortunately it’s required.” Someone responds and notes that no, it’s not required, and all they have to do is delete their account. That (sensible) response is then responded to a million times with the now-ubiquitous oath: to be a fully-fledged member of a social group in 2012 requires one to be on Facebook. And to that I restate the obvious: no, it really isn’t.
How many devices do you use on a daily basis? Phones, laptops, tablets, desktops, kiosks, and more. There exists a whole world outside of Facebook and all you have to do is grasp it. I prefer phone calls or coffee with friends over email but it’ll do in a pinch. I share my photos through Flickr and Twitter (depending on whether they came from my DSLR or iPhone). I blog at a skrillion different venues. People know where to find me online and IRL, and I’m confident that within my social circle I won’t be left off some invite just because I’m not on Facebook. My friends are my friends— we enjoy each others’ company! What I found when I deleted my Facebook account was that none of my friends really used it for anything meaningful. My wall was eternally filled with high school people I hadn’t seen/talked to/cared about in a decade, and extended family that I didn’t talk to much anyways.
In the last 5 years I’ve taken two significant (though very First-World-Problemy) steps: I got rid of my car, and I deleted my Facebook account. Interestingly enough at the time I did each of these things I was much more uncomfortable and worried about having no car than that I would miss some crucial social interaction by leaving Facebook.
When I left Facebook there was much more a sense of relief than anything else; I suggest you try it.