I joined Facebook in late 2007 after having held off for so long in vain the hope that people may one day come back to MySpace and all would be right in the world again. Alas, every time I logged into my account the only 'green man' I would see lit up on the screen was mine. There is nothing quite so sad than that of a barron, forgotten social networking site. Eerily quiet and empty with nothing but old expired links for widgets just showing as random text on friends pages and old pictures of nights out prettily displayed as falling photos for no one to see any more.
Everyone had moved on.
My first experience of Facebook should have made me realise what it was all about there and then but being young and naive to the world of social networking, it didn't. To me it was exciting and I loved being able to add work friends and see who they were away from their desk or old school friends I hadn't spoke to in years.
After being online for a couple of weeks, the ex girlfriend of a man I was seeing at the time started a campaign of online abuse and trickery (to find out what we were up to) after having found me on there. Not being satisfied enough by taking my number from his phone and texting vile messages to me she now had another outlet in which to reach and hound me. At the time I was 22 and quite dumb to how nasty people could be and just how much people can find out about you by having accounts like Facebook. I took a lot to heart so cruel words and mean tricks really cut deep and hurt my ego. Needless to say that relationship faltered as did her abuse and I carried on my merry way, clicking, liking and perusing the Facebook phenomenon.
Fast forward to the end of 2012 and like any relationship you would have with a human being, mine with Facebook had been up and down. The highs have been getting in touch with old friends and being able to see what they are up to now as adults and most significantly hearing from an old friend who went on to become my husband after many messages and then a few dates. (Well, I didn't marry him after a few dates.... you know what I mean)
And the lows? Jheez, where do I start!? I have seen relationships come under strain because of how easy it is to connect with anyone. It can lead to dangerous consequences depending on who you are talking to. I have seen rows and fights over a certain 'status' that has been misread or a picture that looks a bit too compromising. I have seen visual, verbal catfights so strong you cringe and gawp. Dignity has been left at the front door and you envisage the smoke coming from the keyboards as they furiously type. I feel I have seen it all.
When Facebook first started it was simpler; you could customise your layout a bit like Myspace and it was fun and new. By the time I last used it, I didn't really get it any more. My timeline was either full of spam pictures telling me if I ignored it I was heartless (because clicking 'like' obviously solves the problem of poverty, hunger, cancer, domestic violence or whatever) or statuses full of annoying self pity, so miserable I could have just won £36m on the lottery and they would make me want to stick my head in the oven. If people weren't whining about how hard their life was they were showing off how amazingly fabulous it was instead. Which made you feel just as shit because yours at that particular moment might not have been so much!
As much as it might have been a bit of a habit for me to tap onto Facebook on my smart phone and scroll through to see what people were up to, I made myself stop one day because I found it either made me angry or sad. People who had an issue with someone else but couldn't say it to their face so 'sneakily' told them through social media. People who couldn't be bothered to text you back but updated their status five times that day. People putting pictures up of their 'wonderful' life. It was too much! Facebook had become a virtual world of either bitching or keeping up with the Jones's; a cyber competition. No one spoke to their friend on the phone of face to face now, they did it on Facebook. You didn't find out exciting, important news the old fashioned way of communication, you found out everyone's news via Facebook. (I was guilty of that too, in the days where I still loved having it)
The final straw came when I heard that Facebook were making everyone's profiles into a 'timeline'. There had been the rumour that old private messages you had sent would be one there for all to see however that never transpired (HOW many relationships would have ended if that DID happen do you wonder?) But you could flick back to any month or year over your Facebook history and so could everyone else.
At first it didn't bother me as I clicked back to the month Patrick proposed and basked that happy memory. I clicked further back to when we first got together to see what we were writing on each others walls at that time. It was a virtual trip down memory lane. Then I went a bit further back.... to when I first joined and all the memories came back of what was going on in my life at that time. Firstly the Facebook abuse from a jealous ex and then the back catalogue of pictures that followed on. A glassy eyed young girl, skinny through not eating because of stress and sadness, standing half cut in a night club smiling and posing, putting on the façade she was having a good time and happy when she really wasn't. The most difficult time I went through in my life was there in pictures and words for me and all to see. I didn't want to remember that. Why would I want to remember that? My 20's has just been a long battle with myself and my confidence that I now feel I am coming to the end of and now there it all was for me to see and relive again. NO THANK YOU!!
I was fed up with everything being shared on Facebook, everyone taking things put on Facebook the wrong way, the negativity, the pretence and now I was fed of this. So I took the plunge. *deactivate*
That was October last year and I can tell you that despite thinking I would, I do not miss it one bit! Since then all my energy has gone into Twitter and social network sites that enhance my blog audience and I have found networks of other bloggers who I now talk to on a regular basis and who give you tips, feedback and anything else you want. A cyber family of people who have a passion for writing and blogging just like I. There is no negativity (well, it is there unfortunately but not like on Facebook, any 'trolls' can be reported and blocked unlike a friend who moans that you feel you can't delete!) Twitter has been amazing since I left Facebook! Maybe I would have still found all these amazing new people but I wouldn't be as happy as I am now I am dumb to what is said and put on Facebook. People only know what I am up to because I write about it and not because it is on someone's status or someone tagged me there and I have no idea about anyone's bad day.
It's like being ignorant and as they say, ignorance is bliss.
Sadly, Hubby and I do miss out on important 'news' because of not being on there as people do still share everything on Facebook and don't really tend to text nowadays but we can live with that! I really do not miss it, even the picture sharing. Twitter is much more simpler, straight forward and beneficial.
I like that.
What do you think? Do you love Facebook? Have you deactivated your account recently?