Young people hate Facebook because it forces them to have a single identity

Originally published at:


Personally I worry I went too far in the other direction - my first username was pretty doxable (back in the 90s) and then I went in the other direction, often either not commenting at all or switching usernames often. For example on Reddit I have a username for my city, a username for “the real me” that mostly makes milquetoast comments, my irreerent democratic socialist handle etc… this definitely has protected my privacy but it’s also hard to connect.

I haven’t had any stalking issues, but I also don’t have an long term e-friends.

For example, I’ve been reading Boing Boing since 2003 or 2004 but only started commenting fairly recently. (Everyone’s been great, my only “complaint” is we’re rather small so I have to grit my teeth and go to Reddit if I want a larger, faster moving thread)


I always used a fake name and somehow got away with it until I quit FB a couple years ago. Weird because my name was realistic in that it was a somewhat believable name, maybe one more at home in a Kurt Vonnegut book, but plausible in theory. Even with the worst parts removed I hate this though. I grew up on the internet basically, but it was all untested in the beginning. I don’t live my life with facets of my 15 or 18 year old self as an expectation of who I am now. Literally no one who knew me before the age of 30 is in my life with the exception of two family members I keep some contact with. Anyone who expects me to behave, respond, hold values, that I held at that point of my life is literally talking about a different person. This is heightened for people who go through changes that require formal things like name changes, for trans people and so on. But it’s true on a smaller scale for all of us. Building an idea of who I am from 15 years of data artifacts without any other information is actually building an inaccurate picture of me and then expecting me to conform to that. The algorithm is supposed to identify you to market things to you but it ends up creating your identity and trying to force you into it. The paradigm is flawed at the first assumption: that you know who I am. Hence as things heated up and now that I know FB was really unquestionably doing it on purpose, I got overwhelmed and dropped out. I’ve spent most of my life with crazy narcissists telling me who I am. Fuck if I’m going to just going to accept that for the rest of my life from a goddamned glorified rolodex that forever thinks I’m buying 800 dollar shoes anyway. That being said, however bad I thought it was when I quit, I’m actually not happy but sad to find out it was ever so much worse than I imagined.


I’m super guarded about where I post now. I have virtually no internet presence and I’ve lost contact with most of my online friends but I’m ok with this because there was some major infighting within the two groups I associated with most and it left such a bad taste in my mouth even though it never directly involved me that I just kind of want to move on. I’m open to new friends but just very carefully. Most of the decent e-friends I’ve made have not been from any kind of social media but more from comments on specific blogs or forums where people grew close over time, and then eventually I attended a meetup or event in my city or a city I happened to be traveling to. The thing is on those, none of us ever use our real name, in fact the name is probably the least important part of getting to know someone. I probably post too much here, but honestly this is one of the only places where I post anything at all to anyone.


I’m old, and I fucking hate Fbook.


Roger That!


Once teachers and parents started using Facebook, kids abandoned it beyond keeping a profile up so that their moms could send them cat photos once in awhile or post & tag photos of their kids on vacation. Kids frequently jump ship to whatever social media platform gives them the most freedom and ability to craft their identity without their parents watching.


As an Old with two teenagers in the house, I’m interested to learn where this researcher found some young Facebook users on which to base her research. The teenagers I know would sooner sign up for bridge lessons at the local retirement community than sign up for a Facebook account.


This is a little OT but acrostic’s post just reminded me of it and I bet I’m not the only one who remembers this moment. BB posted about Chatroullete one day and because I was way more seeking of human company I clicked through. I was blown away. I had like seven cool conversations with different people in different places, countries, and it seemed like such an amazing platform. Amazingly it didn’t click though in my head, so I went back to Chatroulette several times and found it… kind of bizarre. I’m not necessarily upset by people sharing their penises with the world, and I have just enough morbid curiosity to watch but not enough to sext because nah bro, this is all you. The penis-sharers were the most interesting people on there. Where had all those interesting people gone? Then it hit me… that day a shit ton of us clicked through from BoingBoing. The people I found interesting and liked talking to were already here… lol!


OTOH, trying to maintain a persistent online persona has helped me recognize some of the issues that keep me from making meatspace friends. It’s easy to pretend society is the blame when you forget people (unlike Reddit) have memories. I think you and I may have even clashed a couple times here on BB - but being able to recognize I’m going into “that mode” has been pretty helpful on and offline.


True true, there’s a balance. I wouldn’t be surprised if we clashed because honestly I’m an intense person doing a lot of work on building trust with humans. I’m still in the process of developing skills to react more from a place of intention rather than going into threat mode immediately. Psychological growth is hard. If it matters I honestly don’t remember! That may make it worse. But yeah… I’m trying. A lifetime of severe abuse does bad bad things to one’s ability to trust people enough to see them outside of the immediate conflict (frankly another thing social media hampers and a big reason that I think staying off of it is important for my mental health). I’m lucky I was able to get into a safe enough environment and to save up enough to afford mental health care in this Godforsaken world of no coverage for such things without risking employment forever… I went through the shame phase pretty quickly and now I just realize how sad it is that there are so many people in similar and worse situations who just will never get the kind of help that starts to make them able to perceive others by things besides “level of immediate threat when engulfed in a heightened sense of danger.”

I guess the sad thing is that free of the algorithms and artificially enforced sense of identity, the internet allows limited contact in which as you say those very traits can become visible in a way they might not day to day. I guess that’s what makes it worth fighting for… that internet, but not the one FB is creating.

Because the last thing anyone needs when they’re re-evaluating how they participate in the human world, is to be held to the expectations set by the very person they are trying to grow OUT of being.

Oh and in case I owe you an apology, because I don’t really remember at all but I totally know I’ve had my ears back more than once and it’s highly likely I was not in the right all of those times, I can at least apologize if I reacted inappropriately or made you feel unsafe yourself. Hopefully as I go on with this process those times will decrease significantly in frequency. Hey, let’s hear it for the internet (and how BB chooses to use it) facilitating this!

Also since I typed all of this I guess thank you to the mods and the community of BB for allowing me to participate over years while going through a pretty dynamic transformative phase. I promise my heart’s in the right place, just under my lungs;)


Old people (almost 40) hate it for that reason too.

Thankfully, it is easy to have multiple accounts and pseudonyms.

Unless you have a funny sounding name like Reality Winner.


Young people hate being told that they all hate Facebook for one single reason.


Why should they care if I want to be Bitsy the Cheerleader?

I mean, hypothetically.


You’re hating it right now, aren’t you?


Are you saying I’m old at 40+ a few? Dang…


Ive always wanted mine to be family collective facebook account.
We really dont need several accounts.


Nah. You have the option to never get old. My grandmother, mother and aunts are all 21.


I do hate facebook for those reasons as well and I’m old.

I’m a geek, gay and a graymuzzle furry and not all those things to all people I know. I keep my furry stuff out of my professional live and I’m not really open about my sexuality to my parents (I’m sure they know but dammit I just don’t want to talk about it with them)

The idea of mixing all those identities into one box and shoving ti to everybody I deal with in meatspace isn’t my thing.


I’ve always wondered about Facebook’s real name policy. I’ve been Tristan Eldritch there forever (with image of the late Peter Wyngarde!) and never got any heat over it.