I’ve deleted my Facebook account. My timing makes it look like the Cambridge Analytica scandal is my reason for leaving, but actually it goes much farther back than that. In fact, I never wanted to be on Facebook. I signed up because I was circulating a book manuscript, and many friends assured me that my “platform” (such as it was) would be a big factor for publishers.
I should have known better. After all, I was no newcomer to the online world. In the pre-Web days, I’d been a customer of MCI Mail, BIX, and “America Online” (the first Facebook, which tells the whole story, really). After that, I was on the Web from almost the day it existed, and I once wrote columns on “digital culture” for The Atlantic’s website. I was aware of Facebook when it was an Ivy League-only institution that the general public couldn’t join. And still, I signed up for a Facebook account.
If you’re looking for another way, besides starting your own blog here at WordPress.com, there are two robust platforms I recommend you check out: Diaspora (sort of like Facebook) and Mastodon (sort of like Twitter). Both of these services are in the form “federated” websites—you sign up with a specific server run by a volunteer, which makes you part of a local community as well as the larger global community. There are no ads, nobody “owns” your data, and nobody data-mines your data. It’s not an ideal setup (pure P2P would be ideal), but it’s vastly better than signing on with a profit-making corporation offering you a service “for free.”
The specific servers I’ve joined are https://diasp.org/ (search for email@example.com) and https://mastodon.social/ (search for @ralphlombreglia). Those are both good bets unless you want a server outside the U.S., or a smaller community for some specific reason. The software is free, but you have to sign up, talk your friends into signing up, make a donation to your server, and turn these places into useful communities. That’s the only way this is going to work.