I had a "FUCK FACEBOOK
" attitude early on (and a "don't trust the big dot-coms" attitude dating back to the 90s), encouraging people to use message forums run by prominent libertarian institutions
that I thought were trustworthy. For many years I've been a top promoter, financial supporter (circa 2006), and content contributor to message forums like Free Talk Live
and many others.
As some of you here know, that had backfired on me in a huge way circa 2010*...(*Since I've been using my real name online from the very beginning (the polar opposite of a "troll", BTW), being libeled by malicious so-called libertarians has completely destroyed my life, and has driven me to the brink of total a mental collapse... I could handle all the other hardships of being a serious tax resister, losing my career, etc - but I just couldn't handle being stabbed in the back by some of the people I had respected... And so then, as I found myself unable to trust other libertarians, and as "we cannot all run our own message forums", my once-prolific contribution to the libertarian noosphere had dropped to zero. De-facto bullied out of FSP, but still psychologically unable to let go of my tax resistance ambitions, I stayed in NJ and went almost completely silent for a while, drowning in depression and for many years accomplishing absolutely nothing...)
What I should have done, obviously, is organized my ideas into books / Web-sites, but, well - I was just too depressed... It seems that the social environment of a message forum did something to inspire me
, and that inspiration and hope was just drained out of my life for the next few years...
And then, in spring of 2013, I've heard about the anti-homeless legislation that was being passed by my hometown of Lakewood, NJ in order to break up "Tent City" - the largest homeless camp of its kind in north-eastern USA, that's been homesteading on unused gov-stolen land for 7 years. I decided to move my proverbial sad-sack hermit "boogar hut"
, so to speak, and spearheaded the "Save Tent City" cause.
It was for that most worthy cause that I've finally given in and started using social media to do targeted local outreach, and it had worked wonders. There was almost zero response to the wiki/SSG-based Tent City Web-site and some other things I've tried, but the response on Facebook was HUGE!My use of Facebook was initially a pragmatic "means to an end". But then, well: I became addicted! It feels good to actually reach people, en masse...
I gradually started using Facebook for other libertarian advocacy causes, for which it was far less justified... Facebook became my primary connection to the outside world, the way message forums had been a decade earlier
Countless times along the way I cursed myself for my addiction, especially when Facebook's endless supply of glitches and retarded mis-features screwed me over, but I just couldn't leave... It kept sucking me in
further and further and further - the more likes I got, the more I would have to lose by leaving...
But, like with quitting smoking, I kept trying to quit... And now I hope that I finally did!
Yup, I am today celebrating the 20th day of my newfound sobriety from posting*
on Facebook - and this time I am 100% serious about quitting for good! (*Full disclosure: I have not yet entirely quit using Facebook's Messenger to keep in touch with just a few people, because we haven't yet agreed on the proper alternative. This is mainly because, in my extreme tentsteading tax resistance lifestyle I've been avoiding cell service, thus no SMS - but I may rethink that in the future. And with my extreme copyfreedom ambitions, I've been frowning on the natural alternatives like I2P, Tox, TorChat, Freenet, and even Bitmessage. It was the public posting that was the problem - the switch to a different PM system is less crucial. We might have to go back to just using bad ol email and IRC for a while, like in the 90s, but I'm sure a proper IP-free libertarian P2P IM alternative will come along, even if I'll have to write one myself...)
I tried simply walking away from Facebook, and I've disabled my account many times, only to return a few days later. Account disabling on Facebook means everything you've ever created, including other people's writings on your pages, disappears completely - a horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE thing! (This is immeasurably more retarded and evil than "account cycling" on SMF, which just locks your past posts as read-only, which is a very good thing.) And just walking away means people don't understand that you've really left and keep commenting on your old posts, which you can't set as read-only... I bet this is all by design - Facebook makes it as hard as possible for anyone to leave!
After much trial and error, it seems that I've found the proper strategies for quitting Facebook: take one final snapshot of all your posts via archive.is
/ API export
(which is something you should have been doing all along), as well as their mostly-sham "Downloading Your Info" feature, then take a deep breath, say a prayer if you like, and then... Auto-unfriend EVERYONE and auto-unlike EVERYTHING!
There are different browser plug-ins to try, but it can be done!
Bonus points if you set the profile pic & cover image of all your pages to something very grotesquely "FUCK FACEBOOK"ish, like me.
I've abandoned a dozen (1
) libertarian-related advocacy pages (some puny, but about 11,000 likes total; plus at one point my personal account
had 3,000+ friends). Many thousands of brilliant posts... I've abandoned all the assets through which I used to get thousands of impressions every single day (in large part due to sharing to groups) for the past 3.5 years...
It's very hard for someone like me to give that up and go back to being a nobody with almost zero real friends and almost zero reach... If you actually have a life, I'm sure you can quit Facebook with MUCH greater ease than me!
Don't worry, I'm not coming back to message forums (and especially not this one) for my sad futile attempts to reconnect with humanity. I know that y'all hate my guts (though I still fail to fully understand why). Back in my hole of solitude I go - forever hated, forever alone - yadda yadda yadda... The moral of this story is: It doesn't matter if it's CIAbook or open message forums run by saints - don't let the desire for instant feedback / popularity / online social acceptance influence your life.
If you're having a hard time either finding meaningful friendships or organizing yourself to write serious essays / books / etc, then those are the problems that need to be worked on - online social interaction is not a good substitute for either.
Learn from my mistakes.