There is a word in German that I have come to appreciate and take to heart these past months: Befreiung (liberation, relief), which is very apt for Easter. If you have been following my decluttering writings, you will know what I am referring to. Last night, as I lay in bed and skimmed over the news before calling it a day, something caught my eye which made me bolt in shock and fury. Once again, the data security of 533 million Facebook accounts has been compromised and is floating around the internet unprotected. The first Facebook security debacle was in September 2019 (accounts compromised at the time were 400 million) and sources claim that this issue was resolved. Two years later, here we are again, with another security breach. This was the last straw for me.
I had been toying with the idea for several months now to close down my Facebook account, which I set up in 2017 only for my author and photography activities and never really enjoyed it. As the number of followers grew I felt somewhat encouraged, but still saw no point in it. I quickly realised that this was an absolute dead end for photography and if my cat ended up with more followers, there was definitely no intellectual challenge. It was only much later on that I joined the various writers’ groups and a semblance of validation but then the flood of posts that turned out to be major time wasters began, which magnified to unprecedented proportions during the pandemic, and I again began to question my reasons for remaining.
Procrastination got the better of me in 2020 and I chose to hang on a little longer, which resulted in some wonderful reconnections, but again, these are people I can communicate with away from Facebook, and I don’t need to see who went shopping or checked in somewhere. This need for information-sharing of the most inconsequential things is beyond my understanding and a total waste of time. Then there are those who over-market themselves or their product and make me feel as though I am being digitally assaulted with the sheer amount and frequency of material posted. On the one hand I admire and appreciate the effort, especially during a time when there are limited options available at the moment. On the other hand, I’ve just about had it.
When you sign up for any social media platform, you do so at your own risk but hope that the programmers of the site have taken sufficient security measures to protect your data, especially here in Europe after May 2019 when the strict data protection laws came into effect. Years of working in the IT branch have taught me to trust no one, least of all social media, unless you want to find out the hard way just how much data you can possibly lose irreversibly. When Facebook betrays this trust for the second time, it’s that wake-up call to walk away and not hang around for the third wave. Our worlds are twisted enough already with the pandemic waves, by aggravate it further with cybercrime.
I’ve worked immensely hard the past three years to liberate myself from everything that was weighing me down. I am no longer chained to family obligations, standards, roles, and public performances. Neither am I imprisoned anymore by the toxicity of abusive and abrasive interactions. I finally learned to put myself first protect my own identity, soul and image. I don’t own any real estate and have no ambition to do so because I want to remain free and unchained, with the ability to simply pack up and move around in life with my new life motto 2-2-2: two cats, two cameras and two suitcases.
It has been tough learning to detach and minimise my material possessions, and I am still working on it but compared to all the years I spent carrying my parents’ and in-laws furniture and traditions around, it is truly a relief to be surrounded only with the few items that make a difference, but would have no qualms leaving them behind if need be. Befreiung. Not everyone aspires to become a digital nomad and semi hermit like yours truly, but I think anyone over 50 should seriously consider decluttering physically, emotionally and digitally.
There is no such thing as 100% guarantee in cybersecurity, but there are steps we can take to minimise the risk without compromising the professional / business exposure without over-saturating the market. So if Facebook leaves that door wide open, hell yes I’m walking out. For the record, I walked out on Twitter as well.