Quitting Facebook Is the Cool New Way to Annoy Everyone Around You

Tech Talk 18

Is quitting Facebook the new "I quit television"? Is making a big public stink about how you refuse to take part in social media essentially the same act as making sure everyone knows you eschew mass media, because lord knows you can't toss out your television/delete your Facebook account without announcing it to the world?

According to NYU assistant professor Laura Portwood-Stacer, who recently examined why people leave Facebook, how they communicate their rejection, and how their abstention comes across, quitting Facebook has become "a new, elitist form of 'conspicuous non-consumption,' on par with refusing television."
 
In other words, it's pretty hard to quit Facebook … without sounding like an asshole.

The thing is, it's pretty rare that someone just closes up shop at Facebook without making some sort of grand announcement about it. In my experience, it's the same with television -- most people who deliberately choose not to own a TV seem to go out of their way to mention this fact on a regular basis. 

Portwood-Stacer agrees:

Many Facebook refusers actually revel in their difference from the mainstream, seeing it as a mark of distinction, superior taste, and identification with an elite social stratum. This is consistent with (the) finding that families who chose not to consume television share a belief that they were iconoclasts, and for the most part, they relished that role.

So, how do you quit without bugging the crap out of your friends and family by implying that your hip no-Facebook lifestyle is infinitely cooler than their lame status updates? Can you still explain your motives for quitting, like Stir writer Nicole did recently (or NOT quitting, as Jeanne did) without coming off as holier-than-thou?

I think the answer is that of course you can, you just need to resist the urge to lord it over people as though your personal opinion of Facebook makes you a better person. Remember, as Time writer Dan Fletcher once wrote,

Hipsters manage to attract a loathing unique in its intensity.

Finally, before you decide to quit Facebook in order to make a grand stand against the evils of social media, consider this question from Portwood-Stacer:

Can refusal make a persuasive point about one's values where media consumption is concerned, or does it just end up making one look like a giant douchebag?

I say it all depends on how you decide to loudly promote -- or quietly carry out -- your decision.

Do you think it's annoying when people make a big deal about quitting Facebook?

Image via Keep Calm Studio

facebook, social media

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nonmember avatar Francois Arouet

Those of us who don't miss junior high school and don't feel any compulsion to create a fake life trying to convince people we don't know that we are cooler and more fabulous than we actually are and don't think the world is just dying to hear about our latest bowel movement never joined facebook in the first place. Does that make us elitist a holes then?

happy... happyhappyPAmom

@Francois LOVE your comment, so true! lol

nonmember avatar April

I quit. Never posted that I was going to quit. Just deleted my account one day and that was that.

nonmember avatar Liz

I guess I'm a rare breed because I quit facebook and only discussed it with people who either mentioned it to me, or who mentioned something that was on facebook, as if I must have seen it, not realizing I no longer had facebook.

Nancy... NancyJ422

If I were to quit, I'd just quit.  I have decided for 2013 to spend less time online and more time reading or just enjoying life.  7 days in so far so good!

nonmember avatar Tonya

Amen, Francois! I am one of the only people I know who never joined in the first place. But I'll go ahead and admit to being an elitist asshole at least part of the time. :)

nonmember avatar Amberg91

I've had people count down the days till they deleted their Facebook... Like "I'm going to delete my Facebook in 2 weeks if you wan my number better message me".... "13 days till I delete my Facebook" (I'm being serious too) I deleted mine an hr after I posted letting people know I was deleting it (long enough to save some picture)

nonmember avatar Amberg91

I've had people count down the days till they deleted their Facebook... Like "I'm going to delete my Facebook in 2 weeks if you wan my number better message me".... "13 days till I delete my Facebook" (I'm being serious too) I deleted mine an hr after I posted letting people know I was deleting it (long enough to save some picture)

nonmember avatar Fake book

Lol. Laughed in agreement with so many of you Am 31 and not on fake-book . Every person in my age demographic is, and after getting over the fact that I miss many social updates, invitations, etc on Facebook, I proudly tout that I am not on Facebook, aka keeping up with the jones 2.0!

nonmember avatar susan

I was reunited with my long lost nephew while he was i foster care. I took him in while he was in a group home. I don't think "the system" would have looked for me. I actually love FB and I think a lot of good can come of it too. I know I'm in the minority tho.

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