Doesn’t it feel weird, that deleting a social media account should hold such gravitas that it warrants an exclamation point to be put at the end of this blog’s title? That an online profile which I use to post pictures and chat to people should have it’s claws in me so deep, that to delete it seems like the biggest deal in the world?
When did I realise Facebook was the devil? Was it always the devil?
About three years ago I realised that I spending too much time, energy and care on Facebook. Like everyone else I guess, I figured that these negatives were necessary for the bountiful positives that Facebook afforded me: Gig offers for DJing, Social Media presence (whatever that means) and a way to connect to my friends. What ensued however over the next few years was a gradual disillusionment with at least two of these points.
In terms of landing me gigs, it did. People would see pictures of me Diing and message me to ask if I wanted to come and play at their venues. A lot of them were paid, alot of them weren’t, but all were fun. I got to show off to all those with access to my account (note how I don’t say ‘friends’) how I had become quite good and successful at pressing some buttons and working a crowd. N.B I love Djing and do not mean to patronise the art, but rather wish to poke fun who actually think it’s something worthwhile showing off about. I perhaps was probably one of them.
Apart from this gig landing, Facebook did rather little for me, in comparison to how much it took. It hoarded all my information- which we know thanks to the Cambridge Analytica exposé- and sold it to clutching buyers; it used addiction methods to keep my eyes and brain glued to the site, triggering my happiness and sad responses to keep me in a constant state of emotional turmoil; it made itself my companion, to turn to when I was feeling low or in need of a pink-me-up. It became, in short, a monster.
Imagine if one of our friends did all this to us? If a friend sold information about us which would then be used to manipulate us, would we stay close to them? If a friend purposefully kept us in a state of emotional distress by telling us nice things, followed by sad things and then worrying things, one after the other in quick succession? What if this friend made us believe, without them knowing, that we needed them for a pick-me-up? With the amount of time we spend on Facebook it’s shocking to think that some people don’t think it has become this illustrated, pseudo best friend.
When a few of my own friends started deleting Facebook I realised how right they were. And seeing them do it made me question why I hadn’t. And so I did! Last week. Two days after my 23rd Birthday. (Happy birthday to moi, thank you.)
Facebook is for the common folk, as World of Warcraft is to nerds. (No offence meant- WoW is probably quite fun)
Facebook is a slippery, slimey, wormy, leech. It makes us put in our details, like our age and birthday, but we voluntarily give it our attention, our care and our energy. It’s like when people used to make fun of the computer nerd stereotype, who spent hours and hours a day playing PC games such as World of Warcraft or Runescape (I played Runescape too, no judgement, it’s a sick game) Why did we make fun of them? Why did films and society at large make fun of them? Because we could not believe that someone could remain cooped up at a screen all day when all the social fun was to be had outside!
I mean- wasn’t the inventor of Facebook an angry nerd?
Does he want us all to be like him????
How has quitting Facebook been so far?
Well, I have spadefuls of energy and time to do all the things that truly matter to me- and I’m not exaggerating. In between shifts at my job, I go to the library when I have more than an hour, and read new plays, take notes on books I’ve bought and enjoy myself intellectually. It’s crazy how only a few months ago, I thought spending just two hours a day on my phone was a small amount!
About a year ago I got the app Moment, to track how long I spent on my phone. I was averaging 1h30min-2h-30min a day and that’s good; some people I asked were spending 6 hours a day just on their phone. And yes, that involves watching Netflix and Youtube but isn’t that still bad? Isn’t that still reminiscent of the nerdy kid stereotype with no social skills that sat at his games all day instead of interacting with the real world?
Going on Facebook seems worse than the gamer stereotype, as at least games are their passion, and they can create friends within that world…Facebook obsessors are passionate about…themselves?
Facebook to me seems like a spitting of ourselves. We spend so much time on this online presence that we split ourselves into two- a virtual one and a real life one. How much energy do you think it takes to successfully an healthily manage both? Probably more than we can manage to give out. As humans we have evolved our output rapidly in the last hundred years, and our brains still haven’t caught up with us yet- we’re still using emotional responses from the hunter gatherer periods of our lives, and we’re trying to navigate this technological jungle with them!
Interestingly I read that because of our advances in agriculture, only 2% of the population are farmers now. We have freed our time up to create the technology we now know, but it seems we are now potentially consumed by it. Already our pseudo version of ourselves online has as much effort and care and maintenance put into it as we do our real selves. I for one have deliberated for days over which Facebook picture to set as my Profile Picture; much longer than how long I have ever fretted for over what to wear for a party.
What’s next? Will it stick?
Yes. Hopefully. I’ll write more blogs about how it’s been, living without Facebook, and what I’ve noticed. I want to do separate blogs on who I’ve lost contact with because of deleting it, and if that is a bad thing?It’s hard to see who you’re just friendly with, and who you’re friends with on Facebook. Deleting it has freed me up to see that. I’ll also write about what I’ve missed out on, as what is the point in glossing over any negatives of deleting Facebook? But so far, I have no regrets. Deleting Facebook was probably the best decisions I’ve ever had the wise counsel to make.