Or otherwise, why I left Facebook?
It’s weird, I knew so much about this girl I met once at a party, she seemed nice and when we chatted, we had loads in common so when she added me on facebook the day after the party I accepted. And then I realised, she was one of those Facebookers. The ones who share everything. And I mean everything! From the tiny inanities about traffic on the 5 minute drive to work, to how many cups of tea she’d had, to a count down to her take away that night and trying to involve everyone in what she was going to eat! I never actually physically saw her again but I felt like I was a huge part of her life, I knew SO MUCH about what she did and didn’t like. And then I realised, that I just didn’t care! She was just someone I met briefly and was never going to see again and more importantly, she was taking away from the updates I did want to see, the ones from friends I was close to and the important people in my life.
I was fighting my way through a virtual jungle of updates from people I barely knew, endless photos of friends of friends babies and links to mildly amusing Buzzfeed articles. I considered various tactics of hiding everyone but really, it got a bit exhausting. And then when you add in the fact that FB keeps showing you things that everyone likes – so you end up seeing baby photos of people you don’t even know, it all starts to get a bit much.
So I quit. Cold turkey. No hiding, no not checking for a bit, just Account Deactivated and un-installed the app from everywhere. Yes, I know I could re-activate the account and really, it probably would have made a few things easier – like contacting various friends but actually, the benefits are far outweighing the negatives.
I have however replaced the addiction with Instagram. As my friend says ‘It’s like Twitter for people who can’t be bothered to read’ and really, he’s right. I love a good picture though and I enjoy being able to follow famous photographers and other cool things on Instagram. I’m also enjoying updating Instagram myself and find it massively motivating in helping me remain creative.
I also appreciate some of my friends who have been very good and will send me email invites to events so that I don’t miss out if someone has sent out a Facebook only event. So really, I think it’s a winner all round. I don’t think we were ever meant to know so much about other peoples lives or to be so involved in the minutiae of what they had for dinner and whether they’d ever tried tomatoes on toast before. It was adding to the stress trying to keep track of things and I quite often had a massive guilt attack when a friend would say ‘as you probably saw on Facebook’ because sometimes I would have seen it but quite often I wouldn’t have seen it or even remembered it! I like the fact that I can now remember the important stuff about my friends rather than trying to remember the unimportant stuff.
And now I find myself a trend setter, millions of people are leaving Facebook due to concerns over privacy in their online life. Big companies are quitting Facebook as users have stopped reading Facebook advertising, turning it into another channel where costs of advertising outweigh the actual generation of leads. Teenagers can’t be bothered to spend time in the same online community as their parents and so we’re noticing people’s engagement with what used to be a huge part of lives dropping off. I think there’s always a place for a Facebook out there but I question whether we’ve reached peak-Facebook?
What do you think?