Update: Ars Technica has a more detailed piece on the way Facebook photos are not really deleted.

Last week I decided (for a bunch of not completely unrelated reasons) to re-assess my online presence, and as the most visible result I ended up writing a trivial Python script to archive and delete all my Twitter entries1.

Likewise, I’ve shut down my FriendFeed account and have started paring down the stuff I have on Facebook, as well as on other pseudo-social services like blip.fm.

I’ve also decided to pony up for Evernote Premium, since despite the flaky syncing in the current iPhone version, I’m finding it more and more important to take copious amounts of private notes.

Despite Yaki’s flexibility, I don’t want to either spend the time coding in private entries (it’s doable, but time consuming) or run another website, and the Mac app is simply great.

All of this goes beyond my not wanting to spend any time whatsoever running infrastructure (that was plenty fun for the first, oh, ten years or so, but these days I simply can’t be bothered) – I want to stop wasting time maintaining an online presence except where I absolutely must.

Here’s a summary of the (public) reasons I’m doing this, which I think ought to be plain enough:

Time and Attention Span

  • Like others, I find that Twitter sucks the creativity out of me. It’s not just the effort to summarize things – I’m mostly fed up with the shallow bleating of a bunch of clueless people who simply don’t know the first thing about the mobile industry and all the “ooh, shiny” link fodder. It’s just too much noise, and your brain suffers from handling too much noise of any kind.
  • Although a bunch of people think it is now absolutely invaluable as a Marketing tool (and I’m actually keeping Eventbox running all day with a bunch of custom keyword searches), I’m starting to think otherwise. Dipping a toe into it now and then to gauge the general feeling is OK, but actually trying to keep track of stuff is madness.

The Social Angle

  • FriendFeed is pointless, period. Also, it is not completely symmetrical and decreases fidelity of the content it aggregates, which ought to be enough reason for my not going there in months.
  • Facebook is becoming too much like Twitter for my liking, and until they default to not peppering me with stupid quizzes my friends fill out, I’m sticking to accessing it on the iPhone (which is my main computing device these days anyway).
  • Also, it is now chock-full of colleagues (which kind of stretches the term “friends”), and one of these days I’m going to login and wantonly remove anyone I have a business relationship with and re-invite them to LinkedIn, which is where they ought to be in the first place3.


  • Like I wrote a few months back, good writing takes time. That Pascal quote2 has been coming back to me more and more of late, and I’ve been skating on the edge of frustration because I simply can’t find enough time to write properly, and it’s getting to me.
  • There is much greater depth to convey through proper writing, and I don’t think it’s worth my while to dally in a 140-character microcosm.
  • Whatever writing I do these days is, sadly, not very likely to pop up on this site. But Evernote gives me a way to start drafts on the move and refine them at leisure, often still on the iPhone.


  • I’m simply fed up with people badgering me, online or otherwise. I deal with some pretty sensitive stuff at work (the kind that 90% of folk in the industry hardly ever see), and people tend to read entirely too much (no matter how wrongly) into what I post, whatever the medium. So this is my way of cutting down on the aggravation.
  • Facebook is an utter failure at creating private photo albums. There is apparently no way to remove photos once you know their URL, which I guess is one of Haystack’s little dark secrets – they clearly don’t compact the haystack or clear out their CDN that often, because (and this should give you an idea for how long I’ve been planning for this) a photo I deleted on purpose one month ago is still online, if you happen to know the URL. So I’m back to MobileMe for sharing family pictures, since it now seems to work properly.
  • I don’t see much point in posting photos of my travels, meals, locations thereof, etc., unless they’re truly notable. Except when it’s a public event of some sort – and I sure avoid plenty of those.

There will be further evasive measures in the future, but for now that’s the status quo. I’ll keep you posted.

1 At least to the extent it’s feasible, since roughly 500 entries from 2008 seem to have been lost by Twitter itself.

2 “I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter.”

3 There are always people you become friends with while working with, but I don’t see the point of assuming we’re friends by default. I don’t want to play Mafia Wars with half the company, for chrissakes. I’m there to get other stuff done.