As we’re getting to know each other, there’s something you should know about me.
I don’t do Facebook.
Sorry Mr Zuckerberg, this isn’t a slanderous dig at your work, just my personal opinion, formed over the last decade or so of being a Facebook addict – now in recovery.
Why? That is a question I find myself answering several times a week as I am constantly asked why I’ve gone cold turkey on the platform most (but not all) of my friends use to keep in the loop.
It’s not always been this way; jump back to the hazy fog of my twenties and every party, festival, gig, meal, heck, even half decent night in was captured and posted, frozen in time in my collection of albums. I think I hit into the hundreds. My photo obsession was nothing new, just in the excitement of the new craze, my albums were no longer filling up space in a cupboard, but now able to share at the click of a button. Great eh?
So when did things change? I suppose, I always had a sense something didn’t sit right as my philosophy of ‘Facebook; not for announcing births, deaths or marriages’ stood firm. I didn’t announce my engagement, marriage, pregnancy or firstborn through social media. (But one friend took the latter into their own hands and saved us the trouble).
So here’s why Facebook and I fell out of love…
1. Attempting to be serious and professional – as my career progressed, some of the lovely pals I made at work now reported in to me. It didn’t seem so great to be doing a performance review on Monday morning when the guy saw pictures of me rolling around the travel lodge foyer floor at a wedding on the Saturday night. Cue Mass cull #1.
2. 900 friends? My arse! Someone once told me that you can count your true friends on one hand. Not me I thought smugly, I have 968 friends. Yeah right…let’s be honest, you saw that girl from school in Sainsburys and you pretended you hadn’t seen her. And that friend of a friend, you only met her once on a hen night 6 years ago. That work colleague? You can’t stand him. Cue mass cull #2.
3.Ooh, that’s awkward. You sent some of those 900 friends to the doomed world of de friended, and one just re-requested you. You make up a lame excuse about your account playing up and add them back.
4. Fear factor friend retention. The next cull, you are too scared to remove half the people you want to in case they notice and serve up some hate in the actual real world. You hide their drivel in your news feed and panic next time you see them that you might get Sussed. All seems a little….false?
5. The X factor: being judged. I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say a lot of people use Facebook as an unhealthy stalking medium. I’m not talking a stalker of the crazy sexual nature, but there are just people you know you nosed at, who You would be horrified if they knew your game. Maybe it’s someone you look up to. Maybe someone you don’t like? Its a whole side of Facebook, with its widely linked up participants, that I really don’t sit comfortably with. Who is looking at me? You? Right now? And all those 99 photo albums you put on there? Sadly, we all judge each other by what we see. I’ve been party to many a conversation where phones are out, photos have been heckled. Have you seen this bride? Awful outfit? ugly baby? I’m not proud to say I’ve done it, but it’s true.
6. Becoming a parent. This was a major turning point. I never posted a scan picture, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post sacred pictures of my brand new baby for the world to see. I wasn’t ready to ‘share her’ until every actual person I cared about had seen her in the flesh. She got her FB premiere at 6 weeks old because by then she was just too damned cute not to. Hence the problem. It’s just waaay to easy to want to share that overflowing love of your child with everyone you know at the click of a button. Yet, I didn’t want to be one of those mums reporting in every milestone, moment….poo. It was a battle daily.
7. Her look said it all. She was maybe 16 weeks old or so – playing beautifully on the floor as I sat next to her, scrolling through my news feed. As I glanced down, those huge eyes gave me a look that broke my heart. I realised it then and there that I was sacrificing this precious time with my baby to read about someone’s bad day, latest potty training update, night out, views on the gory party. That’s the thing with being at home all day – it’s just too easy to become reliant on the world outside via your phone. That day I deactivated my account until I returned to work when TG was one.
8. Status| Miserable. It’s no coincidence that the majority of pictures and status updates are representing what people want to be portrayed as. Happy. In Love. Popular. Busy. (Ok so there’s the odd friend who seems v depressed…have you called them lately?). I’ll be honest, good moods have been ruined by seeing things on social media. Have you ever been in a sad, dark place? it’s not always healthy to see others euphoria at that time. In fact, for every night out photo there is a reader home alone, lonely. For every scan picture posted, a heart broken woman desperate to be pregnant. For every family photo, someone missing someone terribly. For me, that feeling was too much and in a time of sadness, FB bye bye.
9. Friendship just got real. So often I hear people say they couldn’t cut FB because it would make it too hard to stay in touch with that friend in Oz, Russia, Timbuktoo. Or they would be left out of that night out, group chat etc. Now, I can say this will happen, but great news! The world keeps spinning. I promise you will retain the true friends you need in your life. You might even, like me, take up real communication again. Phone calls, personal e mails, texts. When you see some old work colleague you can ask what they have been up to and mean it. That night out you got left out from? You don’t even know about it hooray! And anyway, you were out with the girls via your what’s app group chat.
10. Growing up. Those photos of the 22 year old me are amazing memories, for my eyes only. As a thirty something wife, mum, I don’t necessarily want them to be at the click of a button to my husbands work colleagues, mums at the school gate, new place of work. Sure, I could unpick them, but for all of the above reasons, for me it’s been fun, but I’m happy in the here and now. Engaged with life, present for my children. Going old school with my photos in real albums. My girls can choose for themselves if they want to capture their memories in social media, that is not for me to dictate. (hence my children do not feature in my blog by name or face).
So, little me, in the minority here. I’m ready to face the wrath of Facebook lovers! It’s just my personal choices, for you to think about.
I know what you’re thinking..Blogger? tweeter? instagrammer? It’s just…..different to me? I’m don’t feel I’m being judged as my followers are parents like me. That doesn’t change my views on my own privacy of course. And now, it’s all for the blogging which I love.
Hope you Liked it. not in the Facebook sense, of course 😉 sorry, you won’t find MMT on there….for now…I’m hoping it isn’t a necessary part of blogging or my theory is screwed!