Posted by: Brad Nixon | October 7, 2021

On Leaving Facebook

A few weeks ago, after years of being one of its ever-growing number of participants, I resigned from Facebook.

There are a lot of reasons to be a Facebook subscriber — good and bad, positive and negative — depending on your point of view.

I had excellent reasons to be part of The Social Network. There are all these siblings, cousins, friends; not to mention the sons and daughters of those people, and Facebook let them tell me — and most of humanity — what was happening at some human level, once removed.

One of the reasons to subscribe was that a few people saw this blog posted there.

There are also plenty of reasons to quit.

Like most subscribers — or so I think — I’d weeded out (“unfriended”) the irritating people who inherently opposed whatever it is I believe to be so. Some of them — as I thought more than once — would never have wanted their sainted mothers back in Iowa to see the horrific things they posted there. But their mothers are either gone to their eternal reward or don’t subscribe to Facebook.

As a result, I occupied my own bubble of siblings, nieces and nephews, friends and former colleagues who are more or less of one world view as I. With — I must say — really cute photos.

Still, it wasn’t enough for Facebook.

Yeah, yeah, okay, I did sign up to belong to a few groups with interests in things like old neon signs and pictures of iridescently colored birds that live in tropical climates.

Why, then, did that subject me to an incessant barrage of promotional messages from companies that wanted to sell me water filtration systems or ways to improve my quality of life by ingesting drugs not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration?

That, in the end, was what did it.

No, we cannot be responsible for every act or lobbying effort by every company included in our IRAs or 401Ks, try as we might. But, really, Facebook, does every other message that shows up have to try to sell me something I neither want, need nor care about?

I wearied of clicking “not relevant,” because there was always some other pitch Facebook’s algorithm thought might be “more relevant.”

So I quit.

I miss seeing the photos of kids who are now 65 years younger than I am, and will only see a limited number of times again. Send ’em to me in an email.

It’s unfair, of course, to invoke people who lived in another era, long before the concept of “social media” existed as avatars.

Still, somehow, Tolstoy wrote compellingly about Napoleon’s march on Moscow, and wrote a book about it, years after it happened.

Had there been Facebook, Tolstoy followers would’ve inundated his author page, second-guessing his description of how it was that Napoleon, whose troops burnt down a considerable portion of Moscow, had to retreat, and — in the course of things — lost a third of a million humans to frostbite and starvation.

Dante imagined hell, and had there been social media in Florence in the 14th century, well ….

Even earlier, once Beowulf had knocked off Grendel, one can only imagine what Grendel’s mother’s followers (and, I point out, no author in the history of the language has ever written “Grendel’s mother’s followers”) would’ve warned her about Beowulf’s superhuman ability to hold his breath under water while wielding a mighty sword.

Still, one can imagine ol’ Beowulf, hunched down there in Heorot, once he’d dispatched Grendel and his mother, paging through endless dross on his laptop, clicking “Not relevant” to endless appeals for the latest: “We Make Your Viking Funeral a Snap,” or “Call us if you need dragon-slaying gear.”

If only he had known.

And even earlier, one can only imagine Agamemnon’s followers, after ten years, camped there outside the besieged city of Troy:

“Ag, baby. Forgive Achilles and let him go out there and face Hector. And sign up for our no-risk one-year warranty on all armor at a special introductory rate!”

And, at the end of the string of western literature — after Agamemnon, Beowulf, Dante and Tolstoy — we have Jake and Brett in that cab, rolling through the streets of Madrid. Brett is paging through her iPad and shows it to Jake.

“Look at this,” she says. “One of your followers. She says you should forget all this nonsense and live with me.”

“Ah,” Jake says. “Yes. Wouldn’t it be be pretty to think so?”

And so I (and Jake and Agamemnon, Dante, Leopold and Beowulf) left Facebook.

Copyright Brad Nixon, 2021


  1. Brilliant, my friend. Especially the Hemingway sign-off. I myself still enjoy Facebook for my own social reasons. I tend to completely ignore the annoying ads as I do and have always done in every other medium in which they appear. On the other hand, I have also impulsively purchased more than a few t-shirts there that are now among my favorites. So, you take the good with the bad and just try to have fun and get the most out of it where you can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steve, I agree. I may have been having a bad week. Goodness knows, it’s not as if I’ve not been subject to advertising on TV, billboards, junk mail, pop-up ads on every website I visit. I’m doing my best to put my non-FB time to good use, including a return to blog posts … about Facebook, for heavens’ sake. What’s that say?


  2. Yep, within minutes of looking something up on Google, the ads start poring in on FB.
    So long, old scout, ssd you on gmail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Or call. Lines are open.


      • By the way, I shared this on my FB page.


      • The mind reels.


  3. Bravo, well said. I love your literary spin! Brett and Jake, the perfect ending.

    I’ve thought of leaving FB many times, so weary of the endless marketing, among other things. (Although I am sometimes amused by the ridiculous things they think would interest me.) I only go on when notified of posts by family and friends I care about, many of whom largely communicate that way. I’d miss seeing their photos, milestones, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One can only imagine what Jake would’ve posted on that last, disastrous night in Pamplona, trying to keep the room from spinning around him. He’d’ve regretted it. Instead, he read Turgenev, which I recommend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s the possible middle ground of checking Facebook only once in a while and scanning through posts from friends and family that accumulated during your absence. That’s often what I do. There’s also a Texas Flora group I find useful in learning the identity and location of native plants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. That is clearly the prudent advice, which I accept. Maybe I was simply having a bad week.


  5. I never joined, and never missed it. I decided there were other and better ways to communicate with those you care about, and better protect your privacy in the process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate what you say. On the other hand, there must be something close to 100 friends, former colleagues and so on from whom I’d see something on the FB network daily, weekly or maybe only once or twice a year. That leaves me with work to do, attempting to stay in touch with them.
      Oh, wait. That’s what life has been like, long before there was a social network.
      As for the privacy thing, I think that is an obsolete notion. Every time we click on a website, someone already knows who we are, where we are. Somewhere — once I publish this reply — some algorithm will have it and be parsing it, examining it for any leads that will let someone, somewhere, to sell me something.
      Still, I like this, here: Writing things and having people reply. Goodness only knows what we’d’ve had from M. Proust had there been an Internet in 1920.


      • I agree, in part. My sense is that Facebook is a lot more casual about protecting privacy than other platforms, or even aggressively breaching it for its own profit, while at the same time misleadingly stating that it’s “working hard to protect members’ privacy.” What a laugh!


  6. Long, long ago, I joined Facebook. For six weeks, I didn’t post or add any ‘friends.’ I just watched. At the end of six weeks, I’d not found a reason to continue, so I left. I’ve never regretted it.

    I’m hardly a social isolate, though. I talk with family members on the phone. I write letters and thank-you notes. I swap recipes in emails, and develop new relationships through my blog. I’ve met a dozen bloggers in person and vacationed with one. It works. I’m not averse to new technologies, either.Last summer I finally bought an iPhone and learned how to text. The phone is yellow, its name is ‘Sunshine, and I’ve become rather fond of it.

    Ironically, there is something happening with Facebook that’s affecting friends who have children and grandchildren. Suddenly, the kids are gone, along with their photos and updates. They say that Facebook’s for old people; they’re off to SnapChat, TikTok, or the ‘Gram. Say what you will about Facebook; when they acquired Instagram and WhatsApp, they knew what they were doing. Brand loyalty starts early.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have something to say about this. Thank you. Will take me a while.


  7. Thanks ! Comical and fun read! Of course with some serious undertones — so perhaps a tragi- comedy ??!!😎Appreciate your observations and, as you mentioned, except for all the family and friend pix and news I would not subscribe either! Unfortunately, rarely get emails or even texts from most of them! They are loyal Facebookers! So I stay on…at least at the moment! Sigh…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hmm … sounds like a hint I should email occasionally! Thank you.


      • Goes for me, too!


  8. Brad I have to confess I HATE Facebook with a vengeance. I see it as a necessary evil. I don’t want to see a picture of your breakfast, or how far you have run, or look at my feet on holiday. Like you say it’s good for family stuff. But now days technology is good enough that you can video call on your TV. I don’t want zucherberger or what ever his self proclaimed god name is spying on me. I don’t actively post on it, only via the blog. But I get why people like it. You are now a free man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just stay in touch. And keep driving. As fast as the Mustang will allow, but safely.


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