There are several reasons I have been considering taking a break from Facebook and although they have all been floating around for several months now they coalesced into a big unavoidable decision over the last few days.
We all have different approaches to how we use Facebook – but like it or not our posts are not as superficial or ephemeral as they sometimes seem. Every time we log on to Facebook we are playing several roles:
- custodians of our private data
- ambassadors of our personal brand
- curators of our life experiences
This means what we communicate has a long lasting impact in both the digital footprint left on the web and the mental impression left in the minds of our friends. This impact transcends time, so what we post today can influence how people think of us in the future. That includes people we haven’t yet met, employers we haven’t yet worked for and children we haven’t yet conceived.
Does it matter? Probably not. Of course there will be moments when it matters, when we are judged, when we will be made to regret a post, a tone - but in the long run, for most of us, our Facebook posts aren't going to cause us any serious grief. But still it concerns me, the impression I give and take from those seemingly transient interactions.
Maybe the impressions I take are the biggest worry of all.
But for me Facebook has become a mindless occupation. I joined on 25 April 2007, and I have been reading, reacting, liking, posting, sharing and commenting on a daily basis with half an eye and half a mind for over six years.
I can't even remember what life was like before Facebook.
That alone is reason enough to take a break.