Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Deactivating Facebook


I know that I’m not supposed to do this. I know that as an activist — particularly an activist on college campuses — I’m required to genuflect before the golden calf of “social networking.” I know that there’s virtually no better development in the history of human interaction than the ability to “friend” and “energize” vast networks of people. I know that Facebook is so vital to understanding today’s youth that not having a Facebook page is this generation’s equivalent of showing up at a Kiss concert in a Sinatra T-shirt.

But I just can’t take it anymore.

I can’t take the “discussion groups” that contain such insightful comments as “ROFL.”  I can’t take the idea that I’m somehow “maintaining relationships” by reading status updates like, “OMG, I love my kidz!” or “That Derby party was so great!” or “I’m shopping for shoes and just hate the prices!”  I also can’t take the positively insufferable idea that Facebookers are somehow changing the world by talking about themselves at great, great length.

Now you could say that I’m just one of those grumpy old guys still cracking the whip on his “horseless carriage” while the rest of the world zooms past on their shiny Model T’s, but not really. I’m actually just checking out of an impossibly dumbed-down world of meaningless information flow and pseudo-discourse where like-minded people build virtual temples to themselves and “LOL” all day about who knows what. I’m not on that bus. Not at all.

And don’t even get me started on Twitter.

So far, the whole world of “viral video,” “social networking,” and “tweets” seems to be mainly useful for making stars out of Paul Potts, Susan Boyle, and sleepwalking dogs. Why? Because they require nothing from the viewer. Facebook is even better. It requires nothing from you, and the only real work is the indescribably enjoyable act of building a (virtual) shrine to yourself.

This is genius marketing. But changing the world? Not unless by “change” one means “further devolution down the narcissistic path of echo chamber ignorance.” So, in the grand tradition of NR founder William F. Buckley, I’m “standing athwart history yelling ‘Stop!’”

In the grand tradition of Facebook, I did so in a way that required zero effort or personal sacrifice: by clicking a mouse button marked “deactivate.”


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