See you around, kid. | Photo illustration by Sean Kelly.

If you’re just joining me here on my blog, it might be because I spoke about it in my very last post on Facebook.

I made the decision to leave after some long deliberation and some consideration of how it would seem to people. In Red Planet, Heinlein introduces us to the martian species, and one thing about their culture is that withdrawing from everybody is cause for concern. They can roll themselves up into balls, basically shun the entire world. It’s a statement that says they don’t even want to acknowledge you’re there. It’s the ultimate rudeness. It’s a warning sign, like finding out somebody listens to Alex Jones.

So, that’s not how I want to look. But also, like, I’m sick of Facebook. It actively harms discourse and democracy, it has annihilated the news business, and it won’t implement a night mode for fuck’s sake.

At the same time, now I’ve quit it, I realize how integral it’s become to my life. I am going to need to reach out to all the people on it that I otherwise would not have kept up with. Some people I will lose touch with entirely because, if I’m honest, I didn’t care enough to keep up with them apart from through Facebook, which trades on its ability to make those little moments easy to trumpet to everybody you’ve ever tangentially known. I realize I will miss other people’s moments, too.

People got by without that in the past though, didn’t they? They went to high school reunions, they picked up a phone, they sent a letter and hoped the address hadn’t changed. I’ve resolved to try to do more of that. I used to send people a sort of email newsletter, back before Facebook.

This will mean that I get less validation from people when I have one of the little successes in life. When my father died last year, lots of people knew about it because of Facebook, and sent me condolences. When I get a new job or publish another article, a few likes come in.

And then, of course, there was my magnum opus: The two-year-long campaign I mounted to basically post about nothing but why people should vote out Bruce Rauner, the now governor-un-elect of Illinois. I’m really not going to be sorry to see that guy leave office. This was a joke I hammered so far into the ground that I surfaced at the point between Perth and Madagascar that is Springfield, Illinois’s antipode. Some people loved it. Some (Republican) people on my friends list probably hated it. I will publish it here whenever Facebook bothers to give me my god-shitting data – asked for it days ago.

I am “on” Twitter, but there’s no good reason to keep up the same stuff there, really. My messages are all public (they are here, too), and I could say something that gets me fired from writing a comic book, I guess.

Faced with a lack of that kind of easy conduit to just blabber bullshit, I have to reach out to people individually. And that is my goal in doing this, beyond being a nasty old crank who just can’t stand heaving a sigh and staying addicted to the scroll. I’ll need to write a letter, make a phone call, send a text, compose an email.

I will also write here more often (I promise). People compliment me on my writing and tell me it is witty, or funny, or the kind of angry they need to hear. That’s nice of them. But it’s also a performance where I can’t be entirely genuine for fear of offending this person or that institution. I’m old now, and don’t care to be anything but candid when I actually bother to sit down and write stuff.

Asking everybody to come here when they already have a place to go is being difficult. I’m sorry about that. But you know, I didn’t ask for Facebook, and over the years have tried to leave it before, and every time I’m dragged back. Perhaps I will be again, but I don’t want to be.

Anyway. See you around.