It is easy to see that I deleted–or “unfriended”–everyone from my Facebook and MySpace accounts. But why did I delete everyone? There are multiple reasons, but two of the most important are below.
Why I deleted everyone on MySpace and most people on Facebook
A brief explanation of why I deleted 90% of my friends list in 2009
[Bold for skimming]
In 2009, I was working as a prosecutor. In a high profile, emotionally charged case, the defendant’s lawyer printed copies of the victim’s MySpace page and printed copies of my MySpace page! At a bail hearing, the defendant (through his lawyer) attempted to introduce the victim’s MySpace printouts into evidence. The judge denied 90% of the attempts but did allow a small portion to be admitted into evidence. (It did not affect the final ruling.)
Peter Buh accidentally left the printouts of my MySpace page in the courtroom. He had highlighted some portions of my page: things like,
It’s time to put on my monkey suit and go to work. The bailiff found the pages and gave them to me because he thought they were mine. After I figured out where they came from, I gave them to the judge. When Peter Buh next appeared in court, the judge took him into chambers and ripped him apart.
I was living in a small town (1600 people) and I already felt that I was living in a fishbowl: when I moved to the county, there were four newspaper articles about my arrival. I thought my Facebook and MySpace pages were private, but the defendant’s lawyer somehow printed copies of my MySpace profile. In response, I deleted 99% of my MySpace profile (I intended to delete the profile, but I never got around to finishing it), and I deleted approximately 90% of my friends from Facebook. I also removed a lot of information from Facebook and limited the types of things I posted.
I overreacted, but it made me feel a little better. I’m sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings.
Now that the most intimate details of my life are publicly available on the internet, I don’t have to worry about privacy anymore: because I don’t have any privacy. Therefore, I am going to reconnect with my old friends and add back as many people as I can.
I love that I have lived in and traveled to so many places and that I have met so many amazing people. One of the only good things about losing my privacy is that I don’t have to worry about protecting it anymore.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.
Facebook post, 9 May 2014, announcing that I deleted everyone on my personal Facebook account
A conversation with a very close friend about deleting everyone
Hey, are you okay? I notice I’m no longer on your list. I’m not upset; you gotta do what you gotta do. Just checking on you.
no, I’m not ok. I deleted everyone. FB says I have 1 friend, but my friend’s list is empty.
why did you delete everyone?
the silence was too painful
Responses to my mass email
On 20 December 2014, I sent an email to every email address I had in my backup contact list. Two people replied to all and announced that I had unfriended them and wrote why they thought I had unfriended them.
I am greedy and angry
From: [Person 1]
To: [Huge list]
Subject: Congrats, Peggy
Sent: 21 Dec 2014 13:08:29 -0800 (PST)
“He unfriended me and became angry every time I made suggestions or tried to connect him with resources as opposed to sending money (which I did/do not have).”
Or maybe not
As I showed above, I unfriended everyone–even my closest friends. It had nothing to do with advice or money. In fact, when I met this person, I knew he/she was not working, and I knew that he/she did not have money to help me. I did not specifically ask him/her for money. He/she did unexpectedly send me some money, which I used a couple of months ago. I only had a couple of dollars and without that help, I would have been sleeping in a doorway for a couple of days. I sent a thank you email to to him/her, but since I did not receive a reply I do not know if it was delivered. Thank you for the help.
Even though I did not send a personal request to him/her, I did send mass emails asking people for money and for help with tasks, however. I stopped sending those emails for a few reasons, but the primary reason I stopped was because a particular person told me that she was disappointed in me. Unfortunately, an unanticipated side effect of the lack of emails is that most people stopped receiving updates about my worsening condition.
If I got angry, I am sorry and I would like the opportunity to talk about it. It is certainly true that I sometimes get upset when people insist that they know how to fix my life even though they do not have all of the facts. Dan Hogan, my dad, is easily the best example. Even though I told him multiple times I was not in Cairo, he still thought I was living there. Even though dozens of doctors and nurses and diagnosed me and none of them have said I need residential treatment–and a few have specifically said I do not need residential treatment–he is actively trying to use his money and power to force me into residential treatment. Yes, actions like that do upset me.
A laundry list of my defects
From: [Person 2]
To: [Huge list-same as above. N.B.: Dan Hogan, my dad, was not on the list]
Subject: Congrats, Peggy
Sent: 21 Dec 2014 13:42:19 -0800 (PST)
He unfriended me also. I gave him the names of IL attorneys who defend attorneys facing bar complaints. I asked him to seek treatment. He is obviously mentally ill and his judgment has not been good. It is a shame because he is very bright and talented. His dad thinks he might be at a hostel in Mexico City. He sought asylum in the UK and the govt. put him in a detention center since he was entering from Egypt. I hope he didn’t commit suicide but haven’t heard from him in years until yesterday.
Or maybe it is a laundry list of incomplete information
- I unfriended everyone.
- I had a lawyer until I ran out of money.
- I asked multiple lawyers to help me pro bono. (For free.) They all said, “No.”
- I contacted the ACLU twice. They never bothered to respond.
- I saw two different psychiatrists and a therapist while I could afford it, but when I ran out of money, there were no treatment options available for me.
- I have begged for help getting treatment. No one has helped. (A few people have generously helped me with medication.)
- My dad, Dan Hogan, was not on this particular email list. It is odd that he is mentioned here. I have also made it exceptionally clear that I do not want him in my life. He has caused me severe problems including when he fraudulently took possession of the car that we co-own and because I did not have a car, I could not leave my abusive girlfriend until three of my friends took pity on me and helped me to escape.
- I applied for political asylum in the United Kingdom and my time in Egypt had nothing to do with the decision. I was immediately placed in jail for the “crime” of applying for asylum, and that caused me to develop panic disorder (as diagnosed by the medical staff in the UK jail). The government confiscated my computer, I had 20 to 40 panic attacks per day, the doctors refused to treat any of my medical conditions, I was not allowed to see a lawyer for over a week, and many other problems. The net result is that I was denied the opportunity to present any evidence to support my application: of course my asylum request was denied.
- As I mentioned above, most people have not heard from me in a long time because I stopped sending mass emails asking for help. If anyone actually cares about what is happening and wants to know the facts, there are tons of ways to to stay informed: follow my Facebook page, or better yet, get an email notification when there is a new post.