Still alive, still social
Yep, there's life after deleting your Facebook account.
After I had announced my account deletion I stuck around for a little while and convinced some friends to come join me on Signal. They didn't delete their accounts but many of my friends did join me on Signal.
So, that's a pro-tip for anyone considering leaving FB. Announce that you're leaving and stick around for a little while to answer questions and give them a chance to find other ways to contact you.
I then went and downloaded backups of my profile and the FB pages I was responsible for. Once I went pressed delete, FB went and did a last ditch effort to make me stay by showing me my friends and saying that they would miss me. But I'm not gone, just gone from FB.
When I finally pressed delete-delete I was once more thwarted by one last responsibility, and that was a FB app integration I had setup many years ago to enable FB comments on a Wordpress site I had made for someone. So, on this Sunday morning I had to enlist some help from my non-technical friend to transfer the FB app ownership away from my account.
Finally the deletion process was underway and I set a date in my calendar, April 23rd.
The date then came and went.
And sure enough, when I tried logging I was denied entry and even using the “forgot password” functionality showed that there was no trace of me. My programmer friends have since mused that FB never truly deletes anything but I do believe they do. FB would face harsh economical penalties if they did not perform proper deletion. (I hope.) The fine print says that after 14 days your account is deleted but it might take up to 90 days for your user data to be purged from their servers.
“So, what about social life?”
Many of my friends have been asking me this question. And I can say that I feel not much has changed really. When I was part of that blue matrix I would catch many glimpses of the lives of my friends but I would rarely contribute more than likes. It was not like I partook in lengthy discussions in comment fields or spent much time perusing funny videos. Gone are the birthday reminders I failed to react to.
Keeping up with events is still a challenge though. There is no easy way to get event information without being logged in. I have toyed with the idea of programming some service to extract FB event data but I might be better off exploring a real sustainable alternative.
Presently, it's thanks to friends that I'm able to stay up to date with some events but I'm probably missing out on a lot of stuff. Probably maybe.
I remember sitting in my friend's small apartment some days after the deletion. It was raining outside and we were chatting about programming and drinking coffee and in between it all I thought, “hey I think I'm doing alright.”