Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

19 Oct 2010, 2:20 a.m.


Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2010 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I am not on Facebook. If you see a Sumana Harihareswara there, it's not me. Continuing to abstain from Facebook makes me something like a digital vegan. I wonder how many parties, job opportunities, mildly interesting discussions, and other connections I've missed by abstaining. Probably still worth the tradeoff.

Even though it takes positive effort to eat meat or to join Facebook, when most people around me make that effort, some believe that the fact that I passively and inertially continue as I was requires explaining. (See also: teetotalers.) So, a few of the reasons I'm not on Facebook:

  • Mark Zuckerberg has a plan for your life! (Phrasing borrowed from Christianity.) I don't care for it.
  • It's clutter I don't need.
  • I don't like walled gardens -- users can't easily save a backup of the data they put into Facebook, for example.
  • I don't like monocultures, in any ecology.
  • The firm deliberately, over and over, changes users' privacy settings to make it harder for people to control who knows what about them. (See also: the importance of the private, as separate from secret.)
  • "What makes you think you can control what happens to your personal data?"
  • Stuff that I put on my blog or on, anyone can read. Most of Facebook requires you log in to access it, and I don't want to limit my readership and close the conversation that way.
  • I figure if it's a utility then it should be nationalized. I can wait.
  • Stubbornness.


Thomas Thurman
19 Oct 2010, 9:34 a.m.

Mark Zuckerberg has a plan for your life!

This just makes me want to write a spoof Chick tract about online privacy.

19 Oct 2010, 9:48 a.m.

I think so far the only things I've posted on my Facebook account are links to articles critical of Facebook.

Andrew Willett
19 Oct 2010, 15:33 p.m.

IJWTS that I love the phrase "digital vegan."

20 Oct 2010, 0:16 a.m.

I don't have one either, Sumana, for many of the reasons you cite. But I am curious to see the new flik.

20 Oct 2010, 16:51 p.m.

OK, evidently there is now a partial download feature so you can save some of your FB data. Still.

Thomas: I'd be surprised if one weren't already extant.

Avram: Good on you!

Andrew: I invented it, and even so, I have to say, it's pretty great.

John: Brother in arms! And -in-law-in-law. I, too, am curious about The Social Network but figure I can wait till I have some free time next year.

20 Oct 2010, 19:39 p.m.

I think Facebook is terrible. Terrible, terrible, terrible. But it's so delicious.

Seth Schoen
25 Oct 2010, 6:00 a.m.

I'm an analog vegan, and I'm not on Facebook either!