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Monday, May 31, 2010

Chp 299. Quit Facebook Day.

I woke up this morning and got ready for office, when I suddenly realized, “Crap, it is STILL freaking May!”
Just one of those days when the month just doesn’t seem to end… Salary, where art thou?

Lolz. So, today is Quit Facebook Day.

Today is also World No Tobacco Day.

Ironic, huh? Two habits difficult to quit, on the same day. Declaring today as “Quit Facebook Day” was a really bad idea. Millions of smokers worldwide who are on Facebook would definitely need an outlet to vent their frustration for not smoking today. And where else can one do that except on Facebook?

Stuff like, “Oh I haven’t taken a single puff today! Oh the stress!!” and then a couple of your friends liking your comment as if it is some profound statement that can change the course of civilization, and a few others adding their own two bits about smoking. I mean, Facebook is perfect for this.

Twitter allows you to say the same boring self-centered stuff, but other followers cannot read what others have tweeted regarding your tweet, unless they are following you both or doing some complex search which is… complex.

Of course there are various other platforms where you can do that, but Facebook has the numbers. Ranked second by Alexa right after, there are more than 400 million active users currently.

I’ve been following the “Quit Facebook movement” quite closely the past few days. The May 31: Quit Facebook Day Facebook fan page had around 25,000 members yesterday. Today, on D-Day, there are around 5000 members. So is it safe to assume that the other 20,000 people actually left Facebook? Wow, that would be like… 0.005 percent of Facebook members… Ooooh, scary. Did you feel the tremor? I thought I did, but then again, maybe it was the beans I had last night.

I was following this movement just to see if people are actually going to do it. Of course I’m not that jobless to track each and every l’il person to see if they had really quit or not. It’s interesting because it’s something like a suicide pact, you know. You get together with your friends and make a promise to end your lives together. First guy drinks the poison. Second guy follows. So does the third guy. And then your turn comes and you suddenly chicken out… “Err… guys, actually I’m… having second thoughts about this… gotta go, bye…”

I find this whole drama of creating a Facebook page to quit Facebook really corny. It’s like somebody barging into my house and telling me he doesn’t like living in my house even though he doesn’t even pay me rent. And then he and a couple of other people squatting right inside my house shouting slogans and proclaiming how much they hate my house. Seriously, you don’t like it here? Then get the hell out.

People are complaining that Facebook can delete your account or page according to their Terms of Use. Like the recent controversial “Draw Mohammad Day” page on Facebook which had been removed [Digital Journal] – that eventually led to banning of Facebook in Pakistan etc. Ah. Free speech and the Wild Wild West. It is indeed difficult to draw the lines when you are brought up in such a culture I guess.

Writing an angry post about a product you’ve just bought is different. In this case, you have actually paid for the stuff. As a consumer, you are not happy about the product, so you have every right to write a negative review about it. And other people may read what you’ve written and follow suit. But in case of Facebook, you are not even paying for the service directly and if you are worried about electricity bill or internet bill, then please, it is so simple to NOT visit Facebook.

I’ve been reading a lot about why people are leaving Facebook. One of the reasons is that Facebook doesn’t let you design your own page – lolz. Damn myspace users. Go back to myspace if you want to personalize your page. I loveeeee this comment by a user called Eulatos on

(Regarding the reason) “And, yet, somehow, I can't even change colors or apply themes or do anything to make my page look personalized”, I’ll put this succinctly and clearly for all the myspace people in the back.

I dont fucking want to see your awesome customized yellow type on a a neon green background, I dont want to hear your fucking shit music and I dont want to see your fucking shit videos when I load up your profile.

I dont want to look at your 75 layers of unorganized trash you have flopped here and there all over the place. The one redeeming quality of FaceBook is its lack of customization. Most people dont have the eye for design, and letting every asshat who thinks they are an artist customize their page and font colors and backgrounds made myspace a completely useless place to go.

And I’ll quit facebook the second they allow people to start doing that. It's why I use desktop or phone based twitter clients, because I dont care about your fancy godawful background.


Yup, even I will quit Facebook the day Facebook allows personalization. It is simple this way, and easier on the eyes. As a UI designer (ok fine. As a person who works daily with UI designers ), visiting sites like myspace is the worst nightmare one can possibly have. Arrgh, the horror!

Here are three articles you must read (there are many others out there):

Overall, hey, I am no fan of Facebook. But the reasons stated above says it all, why I will not quit Facebook. Remember Orkut? Yeah, back in 2004 when membership was strictly through invitation only, it was quite fun because it was exclusive then. Although there weren’t that many Indians around those days, I found a lot of new friends and eventually formed a bond we preserved even till today. And then came the mass exodus of new fraaands and orkut sucked eternally after that.

With Facebook, sure there is the issue with privacy that many people are complaining about, but considering the amount of things we can do on Facebook, both personally and professionally, I think it is a small price to pay.

Seriously, if you feel so deeply about privacy, then simply don’t share private stuff. Worried that your wife may find out about your Facebook mistress? Then stop mailing her on Facebook. You should know that there is no such thing as a 100% privacy once it’s up on the net. There are always ways to hack things and obtain information, and if you don’t know this, then maybe you shouldn’t be online at all. Stick to the good ol snail mail. At least in that case, the post man is the only dude who may read your letters.

I will not rant on why I love Facebook because the three links given above says it all. I am no big fan of Facebook either. It’s just that, there is so much potential with Facebook, especially in my line of work – digital advertising. Dumping Facebook just because of a few privacy issues and other minor flaws when there are no promising competitors around, is really not a good idea. And making such a loud noise about leaving Facebook is stupid. 400 million plus users. Seriously, nobody gives a crap about you or me. Stop trying to sound really important.

Update 21:30 IST: Yup. The Quit Facebook Day today was a failure as expected! I will post the links tomorrow as the news coming in today are still vague (it is still evening in the US, so the numbers can change. But judging from the trend so far, it’s going to be a big flop).

I wonder what those brave 20,000+ people who had quit are going to do now? I mean, if they are truly dissatisfied with this whole social networking and privacy issue etc, then they will not join again. But for those real networking junkies, they will definitely come back to Facebook. Lolz. I wonder if they will change their names when they sign up again? Even at a community site we run, there had been many instances of members leaving the site and deleting their account due to issues with the admins. They storm out, abusing the admins and other members, but most of them always come back, and we just grin at them from behind our computer screens as they sign up using a slightly altered username… as if we can’t see their ip addresses.

Cheers, and hope you weren’t one of those who quit Facebook today… hihihi…