The Etiquette of Leaving Social Media, in Whole or in Part #Facebook #SocialMedia

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I’ve seen this and similar Facebook groups cited a lot recently: “This group is not an airport, no need to announce your departure.” I know it’s nothing new, but they’re cited even when people are very polite in their announcement.

Do you know what else you don’t need to announce?

  • What you had for dinner last night.
  • What you think of voter ID.
  • Why you bought the car you just bought (this one’s mine!).
  • Why you quit your job.
  • Whether you prefer hot or cold climates.
  • Where you’re going for vacation next month.
  • Storms: Scary or fun?
  • Whether you think you have too many keys on your keychain.
  • How great your new bed is (also mine!).
  • Why you don’t care that the person is leaving the group.

You don’t have to announce any of those things, but you do. Why? Because that’s probably the most important use of social media. Sure, except for Elvis, it would be awkward to announce your departure, whereas the rest of the list is common party fodder. That said, Facebook isn’t a party. It’s a social media platform. We’re communicating our thoughts, often to strangers and sometimes mundane, in a medium designed for that very purpose. Most of what you say means nothing to most of the people to whom you say it (even at a party of strangers), but the means to say it is a primary reason why these platforms are so popular.

I’ve only once had people do that to me, and surprisingly it wasn’t when I told everyone I was forming an exit strategy for Facebook (so far unsuccessfully). I left an XFL group and said I was giving up on the league because of a tremendous lack of integrity they showed. Officials at headquarters allowed a game to end when it shouldn’t have. The members laid into me. I laughed it off, but some take it more personally, and I thought we were all supposed to be nice to one another.

Instead of telling everyone, “Bye, Felicia,” or posting snarky animated GIFs (pronounced gif, not jif, obviously), how about you just be honest and say, “I don’t care about anyone else’s opinions but my own and those that agree with me.” Someone saying they’re leaving, and especially when they say why, can have value, but only to the open-minded. The rest may continue citing those groups. Which group are you in?

By all means, add a comment that you’re never going to read my blog again, but if you do, please tell me why.

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