Liberating My Facebook
I did it. I finally make that agonizing decision to cut the virtual cord and quit Facebook.
I announced it publicly both on Facebook and through my blog here. I wanted to give my friends time to download all my information and I knew they didn’t all log in daily.
Then it hit me. That horrible sinking feeling as I realized I didn’t have all their information either. I couldn’t just arrogantly announce I was leaving and expect all of them to contact me if I wasn’t willing to put some effort in from my end.
I suddenly realized that if I didn’t save their information before closing the account it would *poof* vanish into thin air. Terrorized at the thought of all their phone numbers and emails evaporating from my phone in a mere instant, I broke into a cold sweat as I painstakingly attempted to export their data.
Once again I’ve grown lazy. It’s so easy to just link the accounts and never have to manually track phone numbers and emails. And again, the point is crystal clear that I’m not taking ownership of my relationships.
Then, the popular argument for keeping Facebook, “I’m just doing it to stay in contact with my friends” suddenly hit home hard. As much as I detest how far our interactions have deteriorated, I paused to consider leaving a placeholder behind to keep the contact list. Unfortunately, that would entirely defeat the whole purpose of closing the account. Moving forward, resolved strengthened, I knew I needed to cut off the Facebook serpent right at the head.
This next part is about how I managed to liberate my contacts from the iron-clad Facebook grasp. Facebook clearly didn’t want me leaving but I was determined. Some of you may have different experiences, but I thought I’d share how I finally managed it.
My first stop, the download feature within Facebook turned up fruitless. This only works if people have opted in and all the default email addresses were now Facebook email addresses rather than their main ones. One Google search later yielded the Yahoo – Facebook solution. Seemed simple enough, log into Yahoo and use the import Facebook feature. The problem was, it just hung there. It said it was downloading, but no. No error messages, no completion, just a frustrating, endless loop.
The next time I went to my Yahoo account it gave me the opportunity to sign in with Facebook. When I took that route, the Facebook contacts dropped right in! Better yet, they had their real email addresses. Turns out I had a nice list, but the export function apparently went no where. It seems the Big Bad Facebook worked very hard at breaking as much download functionality as it could muster.
Weary at the prospect of copy/pasting each person into my regular contact list my entire day brightened when my Knight in Shining Armor charged in and automated the process. Fueled by a fierce debate on my Google Plus commentary, he made me a script that gathered the data and saved it nice and neat in a ready to upload CSV file. Want to do the same? He even freely posted it for you: http://campkludge.org/?q=yahoocontactexport
Within minutes my Contacts were complete and I disabled my Facebook account. Of course Facebook tried to guilt me into staying first: Are you sure you want to leave? Your 219 friends will miss you no longer be able to contact you.
Oh yeah? Who cares….I can contact them any time my little heart pleases. Suck on that Facebook. My communications are no longer held hostage by you.