Sunday, 23 October 2016

Deactivating Facebook


So I haven't updated for 2 whole years? I believe I've well and truly smashed the record for my own personal blogging hiatus.

I opened the browser on my desktop Mac for the first time in forever and saw that this little old slice of Interwebs was still saved to the favourites bar ... and here I am. It's probably the ideal moment to be honest (fate is mysterious and all that jazz) as I finally took the plunge and deactivated my Facebook account tonight.

It wasn't really anything dramatic and definitely not a life-affirming decision but I watched the first episode of the new series of Black Mirror last night (check it out, it's ace) and it started the ball rolling in my brain.

Facebook has been giving me some pretty negative thoughts as of late. I was sitting there the other night with a cup of tea after work, scrolling through the endless pages of pure shite and I suddenly realised that if I judged some of my 'friends' purely on the content they post online, I would definitely not still be in touch. It's strange just how many people you know and like in real life come across as complete attention-seeking cyber idiots. I thought about how the statuses they post affect how I interact with them in real life and just how much they aid in shaping my opinion. This was more apparent when it came to work colleagues - seemingly innocuous exchanges during the day revealed themselves in more dramatic context via cryptic memes and 'time for a heavy drink' oriented statuses. I would then carry this into work and handle them slightly more delicately than maybe I would have done had I not seen their midnight cries for attention. Putting it simply; my exposure to social media affected my day to day actions.

Humans are chameleons. We are able to filter and alter our exchanges based on those present, to adapt to the current situation. How chaotic would the world be if all of our thoughts were on display 24/7? Social media removes this ability. A generalised blanket comment is made and EVERYONE sees it, thus allowing them to form their own opinions and twist their own perspectives. You lose complete control when it comes to a) knowing who has digested the information and b) what their opinion may be. I'm interested in understanding what life without Facebook is like (even if only for a short time) and whether it causes me to look at anything differently. Will I spend less time thinking about whether the current moment is 'share worthy' and focus on it's enjoyment? Will it cause me to converse directly more and share more of an interest in my friends' lives? Will people make the effort to converse more with me? Will I take less photos (probably not)? More to the point, will I start to take people on face value once again?

Even if my little experiment has little to no impact, I'm sure a welcome break from baby photos and random dinner plans will do me good. Whatever will I do to fill my time?

I doubt anyone still reads this; it's more for my own documentation more than anything else. To me, personal blogs are the internet's safe haven - wholesome slices of intelligent conversation without the need for ratings or likes. No real life connections and no danger of personal judgements or comparisons...... well, for most that is.

But if you do happen to wander by, I hope you are well and if anyone out there has undergone a similar experiment of their own, I'd LOVE to hear about it! I really don't think I'll even last the week but here goes....


Ms. Moon said...

Hello, dear boy! You are still in my blog feed and so I've read your post. I spend WAY too much time on the FB and have absolutely come to lose real respect for some people whom I really shouldn't have lost any more respect for (relatives) but I'm addicted and I admit it.
Plus- cats.
I just want to say that whatever sort of work you do, I hope you get to use your writing skills because you have them.
Be well.
Ms. Moon

Wayne said...

Ms Moon! I hope you're well - I absolutely binge read 30 or so of your posts in one sitting when I'm perusing my feed!

I'm just kind of interested to see what life is like with out it - sadly I think I'll be more devastated not keeping up with my friends' dogs more than anything.

And unfortunately I only get to use my writing occasionally at work :( it's more managing a volume of people ..... and we all know how that goes! Onwards and upwards

37paddington said...

Hi there, a thought provoking post. It's good to see you back in this space. Is just started following you when your hiatus began. I have mixed feeling about social media, especially Twitter. I think those 140 characters strip away nuance and make people snarky. I've been considering quitting it, but not until the election is over. It's such a snapshot of unfolding events. But I get way too exercised. Will report in on how it goes.

Steve Reed said...

Wayne! You're back! This is a lesson in why it's best to never remove someone from my blogroll -- because sometimes, just when I think their blog is deader than dead, it breathes new life!

I'm glad to hear you're still around.

I've found that Facebook is only as evil as I allow it to be. I visit once a day or so, but rarely more than that, and I post a couple times a week. For me, that's enough. It HAS altered my friendships in one important way -- I almost never write letters or emails to people anymore. So my direct communication with others is reduced to little Facebook snippets and reading their news feeds, whereas before we would write more substantive communication. Is that a loss? Probably.