A graphic showing multiple stop signs with white hand icons depicting STOP imposed on them and the F facebook logo imposed on the hands

An Open Letter To My Facebook Followers

Dear folks who follow me on Facebook,

I am super done with this bullshit social network.

The other day I got put into 24 hour FB jail because of a thing I shared. I can’t remember if it was an article or a status with pictures, but the thing was about a dude who messaged a woman via OKCupid and became abusive because the woman did not respond to him or, when she did, did not respond in the manner he wanted. So she created a post with screenshots of his words and his profile. Facebook says this is against their community guidelines and cut me off.

There may be a conversation to be had about whether that post or the guidelines around it are appropriate. But what strikes me is that time and again I’ve seen how FB doesn’t protect marginalized or minority folks from cishet white dudes when they attack, but have punished women and POC when they share screenshots of those same attacks. The way their community guidelines are set up means they will readily punish stuff like I posted but pages that literally say all Jews are evil and part of a global conspiracy continue on even though they’ve been repeatedly reported. I also notice that Facebook continues with the ridiculous Real Name policy even though it specifically hurts vulnerable groups, such as trans people, political dissidents, activists, people escaping abusive situations, and more[1].

Plus there’s all the crap that goes on with fake news, how they refuse to address this in a meaningful way, how the algorithm works against creators and folks who want to share their personal projects, and overall just keeps people from seeing all the folks they want to see.

It’s just become a cesspool in here. A cesspool with some very lovely pool partiers around, mind.

By that I mean you.

I connect with so many of you through Facebook. I truly enjoy the conversations, and keeping up with your lives, and seeing your thoughtful shares of links. And if that was 90% of my experience on Facebook I would stay. But it’s not. So, I am slowly edging toward the EXIT.

I’m not leaving completely. For one, I know I will be cut off from many people if I do that. I also know that easing people over to new platforms will take some time. And I will have to wean myself from my habitual checking of FB every time I have a moment of boredom or procrastination.

I am going to make a major change to how I use Facebook.

Step 1: I will no longer post much on my regular profile/wall. I’ll auto-post links to new stuff going on with my projects, and I will sometimes share something or make an original post, but I’m mostly leaving the traditional way of interacting via Facebook behind.

Step 2: I’m going to use my Group more. For those who don’t know, I have a Group on FB called Tempest in a Teapot. It started as a way for people who wanted to be sure they saw posts about my podcast and Patreon and other projects to do so. Groups have a few extra abilities in FB, such as sending notifications for EVERY post, so you don’t miss them. I’m now going to use the Group as my primary way to interact on Facebook. That is where I’ll share things, post statuses, all that. So if you want to keep following me on Facebook, join the group. Right now I am letting anyone in who asks. Which leads to…

Step 3: I’m going to aggressively protect and moderate my space. This is a thing missing from Facebook that we used to have when we were mostly on blogs and such. Groups give admins the ability to moderate posts and comments, if need be. I will not be shy about booting people from the group if they act out. It’ll be harder for them to stalk my posts if they’re booted and blocked. And there will be far fewer drive-by comments from people unconnected to me.

Step 4: I’m going to spend more time posting in spaces that are less toxic. More blog posts here (and linkspams, cuz I do love sharing), more journaling with friends over on Dreamwidth, more having conversations in Google Hangouts, in Slack, via text[2]. I’ll also shift most of my general social networking over to Twitter. Yes, Twitter is also a problem for different reasons. However, it doesn’t have all the same problems (the algorithm deciding what you see, some news sources given priority, real name policies, etc.), and so I’m willing to shift my energy there for now.

There are other steps after this, but I’ll talk about them later. What’s the bottom line for you, my follower on Facebook? I’ll break it down for you.

If you want to keep following me and seeing my social media shares, join the Tempest in a Teapot Group or follow me on Twitter.

Follow my blog posts. Yes, there’s about to be more of them. I have an RSS feed or you can subscribe to alerts for new posts via email (check the right sidebar).

Follow me on Patreon. If you’re already a member of that platform, you can follow my posts even if you don’t pledge. You’ll just see the public ones.

Every week for the next little while I will remind people about this post and these bullet points.

And if you’d like to join me in leaving Facebook in the dust, I’m posting several how to guides on that process on Medium.

Footnotes

  1. I’ve chronicled a bunch of what I’ve seen an read about in a post with the extremely apropos title It’s Time To Abandon Facebook.[]
  2. P. S. Friends, close friends, those I love dearly: Please, please, please slide opn over and tell me your most preferred method of communicating either one-on-one or in small groups. I’m bad at communication but I want so badly to just spend time talking with y’all and having great conversation. So tell me how to make that happen. Invite me to your Slacks. Add me to your hangout groups. I am ready.[]
divider with ancient egyptian scarab I'm writing an Afrofuturist novel set in a matriarchal ancient Egypt where queer women of color rule the sand and sky. Want to know more? Read about it here. Want to help make it happen? Become my patron (& get free fiction)!

1 thought on “An Open Letter To My Facebook Followers

  1. Most of my really personal stuff I tend to chronicle at Dreamwidth. I use FB, Tumblr and Twitter for voyeurism right now, until I’m done my dissertation for certain. But I’m always hankering for company on Hangouts!!

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