Do you spend too much time on social networks following the lives of friends you probably haven’t talked to in years? Is your online life wrecking your real life? Well, one new site is trying to help people make a dramatic change to their virtual social lives.
The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine launched last week with one mission: to encourage users to kill themselves online… by deleting all of their information from social networking sites. Essentially, you hand over your account information to Suicide Machine and it will run a program that erases your profile and deletes all of your friends and messages one-by-one. The site will then change your username and password so you can’t log back in.
The site, which was created by Moddr, a medialab based in the Netherlands, currently allows users to eliminate their accounts on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, and they are planning to provide a similar tool for deleting your Flickr account. As we write this, 865 people have actually gone through with it. A total of 56,000 friends have been permanently unfriended and more than 200,000 tweets have been deleted forever. That’s not too shabby for a brand new site.
The obvious question you might have is why anyone (let alone hundreds of people) would decide to use this service? Well, the Suicide Machine posts testimonials and the reasons vary. One user called DirectTweets wrote, “I’m leaving Twitter because nobody wants to follow me!!!” Another user, Kyle Roesler, was apparently frustrated with the limited success they had on LinkedIn. “Goodbye linkedin, you never did me any good. RIP”
We emailed with Gordan Savicic, 30, the software developer behind the site and he told us that “everyone should have the right to quit [their] 2.0-ified life.” While he admits sites like Facebook have some “good aspects,” like keeping in touch with friends and family abroad, he feels these sites tend to “disconnect” people from one another in real life and make them more antisocial. On top of that, he argues that “people are not fully aware of the privacy-tradeoffs” that come with using social networking sites. As Savicic points out, when you normally ask Facebook and other sites to delete your accounts, traces of you remain on the site indefinitely.