The downsides of leaving Facebook

As I mentioned on Friday, I am taking a break from Facebook. I did a little bit of this in mid 2015, and one of the hard lessons learned was how pervasive Facebook is across the web for the SSO (single sign on) convenience. Sigh.

At that time, I was astounded at how many places that Facebook had wormed their way into for validation and authentication. My Strava, Spotify, and others were all tied to my identity on Facebook.

Fortunately, at that time I bit the bullet and did much of the extrication from reliance on the Facebook identity and authentication, so this break isn't quite as bad.

Then this morning, I sat down to do some light (or heavy blogging), and fired up the Pandora app on my iphone to listen to some soothing classical.

You guessed it, the app, even though I am signed in by email/password, was insistent that I "fix" my facebook connection. Finally, after the third try, it realized that indeed I do not have a valid facebook account right now.

Jesus christ monkeyballs, that was a raft of stupidity.

I am sure that as time goes on, I will find more shenanigans to work through.

One thing is sure though, this pervasiveness is leaning me towards fully deleting my Facebook profile.

Taking a break

I am going to step back from the great time suck that is Facebook. Sadly, it it taking too much of my time, and is too addicting. Being on my phone, my ipad, and on the browsers, it is just too damn available, and irresistible.

I will be sad that I am going to miss some epic meme’s and other fun stuff, and I will also miss the hilarity of some of the communities I am a part of. Yet, I still feel the need to take a hiatus.

Staring down another election cycle, the clown car of the GOP candidates, the coming ugliness that I can see in the Democrats, I can say that this is a good time to give it a rest, to improve my blood pressure and stress levels.

I took a short (few week) break in mid 2015, and a 9 month or so break in 2009, but ultimately came back. This time, I might make the break permanent. I plan on redirecting the facebook URL to 127.0.0.1 in the hosts file, so that I can’t have even a moment of weakness and reactivate my account. I will delete it off my iphone and my ipad.

I will miss my friends, those I know IRL, as well as those that I have only known via the magic of social media.

I will remain active on Twitter (@ganders2112 is my handle there), and of course, you can follow/subscribe to my blog, where I will continue to post.

Cheers, au revoir, auf weidershen, さようなら, adios

End of an Era – Passing the Torch

For the last three and a half years, I have had the pleasure of running the Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption web page. I was there at the beginning when Diana Hansen, then acting as the Communications Director, hosted us volunteers in her house, to discuss the public facing image of the brand spanking new organization.

There were 6 or 7 of us in the room, and we were discussing the establishment of our social media presence. I volunteered to begin the creation of the website, and to assist with the other bits and pieces.

I could have not known that it would last almost three and a half years.

On that fateful night, we decided to use an open source CMS, Joomla! as the desire was to have a largely static web page, and to have a system that could be used by the other volunteers to create and edit content (oh, how naive I was), and the other two CMS options, WordPress and Drupal, were either too “blog” like or much much overkill.

So a quick site was created, while in the background, I created the Joomla! site for the long haul solution.

After a lot of hammering and shaping, the site came together, the best that a design by commitee could accomplish, and it went live in early June 2012.

Not too surprising, the Joomla backend interface was a bit daunting for the casual volunteers to work with (I think one volunteer worked on it and did like three whole pages) so I setup front end form tools to allow the entry and maintenance of things like available hounds, membership lists, and the like.

Over the years I got adept at handling the requests for changes in the supposedly static front page (turns out that wasn’t as important as we originally thought).

Life changes

In the interim, I took a new job, moved first to Phoenix, then to San Jose, so I became a lot busier. I still kept up the website, maintaining it, fixing it, and adding/adjusting what was requested by the Communications and board.

However, in late 2014, the version of Joomla! we were using went end of life. The daunting task of migrating to a new version (version 3) and with it, re-doing all the plugins and controls was beyond my ability to achieve.

So, when the email came in late June that the board, working with a new volunteer (who is now the Communications Director,) had been working on a replacement, it was a major relief. I was unsure how much time I could put into a new website, and knowing what I put into the original one, I expected it to be measured in the hundreds of hours, it was a welcome notice.

Sidebar: I think the President was worried that I would be offended, or put off by their side project. The email was a bit cautious, trying not to offend me. Ha! I am in Marketing, I can take a lot of offending.

The last week or so, I have helped with the final touches to the website. The new site is WordPress, which has matured greatly in the last 3 years, and it looks incredible. I see many touches of my original designs, so I know that my trailblazing set a standard.

Friday night, July 3rd, I pulled down the old Joomla! site, archived it for posterity, and moved the new WordPress site to the hosting.

It is up, it is live, and it looks like the new owner is well capable of carrying the torch.

Best of luck!

I’m back from a 3 week break from Facebook

A little over three weeks ago, I deactivated my Facebook account. No particular reason, but not the first time.

However, since my last “vacation” in 2009, a lot has changed, and not being part of the Facebook community was difficult.

There is a frightening number of applications and websites that don’t work well if you are not associated with a Facebook account. Everything seems to want to either connect or authenticate via Facebook. Strava, Spotify, and others seem somewhat “lost” if you are not connected.

My blog, Tralfaz (here, dummy) dropped by at least a third in daily viewings. The irony is that when I look in google analytics for traffic sources, Facebook is almost non-existent in sources, but the trends are clear for traffic. (I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook does some anonymization to deny Google any leverage from their traffic.)

I have several pages that I admin, and some of them I have a “secondary” account to log in with. It is amazing how lousy the Facebook experience is with < 10 friends.

It took a full week for the first friend to hunt me down. I was a bit surprised it took so long, but since I didn’t do a “rage quit” and announce my deactivation, I guess it is cool that some people missed me enough to try to hunt me down.

The last time I took a break, I lasted 9 months. However, this time, 3 weeks was a struggle. I am disappointed that I folded so fast, but it is a testament to how essential Facebook has become in the last 6 years. It is the principal vehicle that more than casual acquaintances use to keep in touch. It is how I talk to my siblings, and some of my friends there are far closer than any of my IRL friends I have had forever. Powerful and frightening all at the same time.

Quitting Facebook (at least temporarily)

When this goes live, I will have been a full week of not being on Facebook. Last Tuesday, I decided to do a drastic thing, to deactivate my Facebook account.

It isn’t the first time I had done this. Back in 2009, not long after I joined Facebook, I deactivated my profile. That time, I held out 8 months before peer pressure caused me to turn it on.

In the intervening time, it is astounding how much the web now relies on Facebook as an identity verifier, authentication path, and collector of all sorts of personal data.

I had paved the way for this for some time. By adding logins to things like Goodreads, and Strava (among many other sites where it is just easier to connect via Facebook). But it wasn’t easy. There were dozens of places where I linked my identity to Facebook.

Of course, over the last 5 years, I had built quite a cult of personality on Facebook. An outspoken atheist, with a wickedly sardonic sense of humor, I collected like minded friends. It was almost a challenge to see who could post the most outrageous things.

That said, Facebook was taking over more of my life. I probably spent 2 hours a day combing my feed, and looking for new, fun things to post. Checking email? Quickly hop over to FB. Finished a document at work? You guessed it, check Facebook.

Even standing in line for the grill at the cafeteria, using my iPhone to check Facebook.

It was an addiction, as much as coffee or nicotine. More than a habit, it was an obsession. Did my friends “like” the latest snark? What rude douchebag politician said what?

So I deactivated my account. It is sad, Facebook has on the deactivation page a list of some of your top friends, and how they will miss you. Really pouring on the pity-party.

But I didn’t go to the trouble of deleting the profile (I understand that actually deleting the profile requires you to deliver a Kidney and half your liver to Mark Zuckerberg), so I am sure I will go crawling back.

But for now I am on a break.

I am still on Twitter, so please hit me there @ganders2112 if you miss your snark.