I was attempting to delete every single Facebook post I’d ever made. This year, I stopped posting on Facebook and unfollowed all my friends so I can’t see any of their updates. I blogged about this not so long ago. The next phase of the process was a no-brainer: remove all my Facebook posts, dating back to 2007.
This seemingly simple task turned into a voyage of discovery.
The first thing I discovered was that it is really, really, really hard to delete all of your Facebook posts in one go. There is no magic button. I found a Chrome app that claimed it could do it for me. It couldn’t. I then found a different Chrome app and it kind of worked, but required me to pay $2.99 to do the job properly.
I paid the money and set about deleting everything, but even with the app fully functional, it was still frustratingly difficult. There’s nothing straightforward about any of this because there are all these different kinds of Facebook activity to trawl through – literally thousands of things
I’ve been going at this for most of the week and I’m not even sure if I’m anywhere near finished. It would probably have been easier to just delete my account and start again. There are some of my posts I just can’t seem to rid of. They are seemingly immortal.
I thought this was all soul crushing enough… until I started to read some of my older posts.
It turns out that in the past, I was exactly the kind of person I’ve come to hate on social media. I was that guy posting cryptic emo messages desperate for attention. It was me who was happily showing off pictures of my food and blurry concert photos. I had no qualms about posting updates of outings and social events that I thought would show everyone how awesome my life was.
I was basically that idiot posting complete bullshit that absolutely nobody cares about. A prime example would be the endless inane updates I used to post about being in the process of writing a story (I was a journalist in a past live) or else editing a story or researching a story. I shared little titbits about things I was doing and places I was going like some kind of needy schoolchild.
It’s embarrassing how much of a pillock I was. I imagine that everyone’s old Facebook posts are at least a little bit cringey. It’s normal to feel a little bit ashamed of how much of a clown you were when you were younger, but Facebook keeps physical records of this shit. Old photos are one thing, but status updates are a manifestation of our inner thoughts. Some things are best kept archived.
Also, I have no idea who a large number of the people I was talking to actually are. No clue. Then there are all those public conversations I had with old school friends and acquaintances I found on Facebook. The initial excitement of reconnecting was rarely enough to warrant a follow-up conversation in the seven or eight years since.
All in all, the whole debacle made for a horrifying experience.
Maybe it’s time to just hit delete?