Deactivating Facebook

You may have landed here because you were looking for me on the internet. If you looked for me on Facebook, you may have noticed I’m not there. I’ve deactivated my account. That’s not the same as outright deleting it. I’m not saying I’ll never be back. But I’m not there now.

Here’s the message I put on my Facebook account upon leaving, for reference:

Dear all:

Facebook. Ok, I’m exhausted.

There’s a new development in the Facebook data kerfuffle every day or so. This has been a long time coming. Facebook has never been forthcoming about data sharing and what exactly it’s doing, or really cared to inform us. This is nothing new, but so far it’s always been a “I’ll suck it up because everyone’s here and this is a useful platform” kind of thing. But I’m just too annoyed and tired now, and I’m deactivating my account. For a bit. Or forever.

Why am I out now? I’ve been on this platform since 2006, and it’s been fun. It’s been enlightening at times, but it’s also been a giant timesuck. I am not above a timesuck, but honestly it’s just not as much fun anymore.

I’m not turning into a luddite or lobbing sabots into machines. I’ll keep other social media accounts, some of them even with companies owned by Facebook.

You can find me on Twitter. Not that Twitter doesn’t have its own problems. But for now, it’s more useful to me. And more fun. I’m @torstenkathke there in a professional capacity, and @ictusoculi for private stuff. The line between the two is thin, admittedly.

You can find me on WhatsApp using my phone number, which is in my Facebook profile (since WhatsApp is also in the Facebook universe, you probably won’t have a hard time finding me there) and I’ll try to create a Facebook Messenger account that’s not tied to a Facebook account. Not sure how useful that’ll be, but I’ll give it a shot.

I’m on Instagram as @ictusoculi as well. There’s another Facebook property I’m not leaving. I’m not out of the world. I want to be findable and responsive. Just not here, not all the time.

I also will try to use some of the time I get back from not procrastinating on Facebook to procrastinate some blog posts on into existence. That’s a WordPress blog, so if you have an account with them, I’d love to see you follow me there. The Facebook pages for Thus, History! and IctusOculi will also stay up, so if you’d like to follow my activities on those sites on Facebook, follow those pages instead.

I’ll be deactivating my Facebook account. For now. Maybe there will be a time when I feel differently again, and I’ll be back. For now I just need to take a breath. I’ll leave the account up for a bit so you have a chance to see this.

I’m not slipping out quietly, and I’m not making a huge scene. I’ll just be somewhere else for a while or a year or a life. We’ll see.


Torsten Kathke
Torsten Kathke is a historian specializing in the United States and Germany during the 19th and 20th centuries. His book "Wires That Bind: Nation, Region, and Technology in the Southwestern United States, 1854–1920" is available from Transcript publishers in Europe, and from Columbia University Press elsewhere. Torsten earned his doctorate in American Cultural History from Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany in 2013. He subsequently worked at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC and at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. He is a lecturer in American Studies at the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz.

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