I deleted my Facebook account in 2018 (as noted in this blog)—I just recently tiptoed back onto the platform. Since many people have asked me why I returned, here’s an explanation:

Working for one company for 30+ years, I have built some strong friendships. Many friends have moved on to other companies but there are some “remainers” as well. As I was preparing to depart the company last month, I felt a strong need to not lose touch with my friends or miss any their important life events. Many of these friends (except for those who have retired) are on LinkedIn, however, that platform is more focused on careers and professional endeavors.

I wanted to hear about a friend’s vacation since I will no longer see them in the hallway to ask in person. I also want to ask about their family and find out how everyone is faring in these “post pandemic” times. The water cooler catch-ups were the best part of returning to the office in 2022.

When I first created a Facebook profile in 2009, I naively entered all kinds of personal information. I listed my actual birthday, identified my family members, all of the places I worked and lived, and the places I traveled. This seemed important to find and connect with people I knew in the past and present. Too late, I realized there’s no reason for Facebook to have all of this information about me.

This time around, I don’t intend to provide any personal data. My profile picture is from a distance, I used a fictional birthdate, and I found my friends one by one and sent friend requests. At my wedding almost 30 years ago, I only had 25 guests. I don’t intend my friend list to grow beyond 30-35.

A few people have learned the cautionary lessons of Facebook and sent me a message to confirm it’s me and not a fake account. I was proud of my youngest niece for doing this verification. It used to matter how many friends you had on Facebook in a Klout-ish way. Now, however, I think fewer friends mean more meaningful connections.

I will not use Facebook for news or politics. I will continue to use verified news sources like The Guardian, Washington Post, and Sky News. I’m not sure how long I’ll be on Facebook. For now, it serves a purpose for me. Keeping in touch with people I will miss helps me manage the “bittersweet*” sadness of leaving and eventually moving onto another company.

*I highly recommend Susan Cain’s new book “Bitter-Sweet”