I had an early Facebook account a few years ago and eventually killed it. I mean really killed it. I scoured the internet to find a way to actually go into its guts and get my profile completely expunged. This can be done quite easily with a little detective work, even though Facebook’s administrators make it tough to find the roadmap.

In retrospect though, it was driven by a combination of misunderstanding, misuse, and some inherent ’60’s paranoia (“Don’t trust anyone over 30” type of stuff). I had found Facebook invasive because I had admitted way too many “friends”; anyone who asked, no matter how remotely connected, I said “yes”. As a result, my Home page was crowded by hoards of people I didn’t know well and had little interest in tracking what they were up to. My wife (as usual) had a much more mature and balanced approach. She has only a few close friends as well as the kids and other family members on her Facebook account, and she uses Facebook to keep up with where they are and what’s new in between phone calls and get-togethers.

In my born-again Facebook presence, I have taken the same approach and it is actually quite useful and fun. For example, when planning card-night it’s useful to know if one of the gang is traveling and unavailable. Wedding and baby pictures are easily viewable. Jokes easily shared.

Facebook shouldn’t replace human contact (although for many, it does), it simply enhances it by keeping one in touch with friends one can’t see as often as desirable (in other countries for example, or where time-zones make ear-to-ear contact more difficult). Like any technology, it’s a matter of how you choose to use it, which is also a reflection of your personality and “issues”. A compulsive will abuse any technology and stamp it with his compulsiveness. An antisocial or paranoid person will use it to isolate himself from direct contact with others. Guns don’t kill people…crazy people kill people!

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