Sunday, 29 January 2012

I have deactivated my Facebook account

I've never really liked Facebook. Unfortunately I only discovered this after signing up, and of course once you've done that it's a tattoo. You can wear long sleeves but it's always there. You can completely reactivate your account at any time simply by logging on, so the only way to confirm that you've removed yourself is to search via someone else's account, which is nuts. Anyway, I've gone through the procedure (which involves a pathetic gallery with captions saying 'John will miss you', 'Steven will miss you' etc - I'm surprised they don't Photoshop some tears on their faces) so if for any reason you ever want to contact me you shouldn't do it via that site. The thing I don't understand is that it gives you a check box to opt out of email notifications - 'Your friends can still invite you to events, so don't check this box if you want to receive these invitations'. Huh? I thought I was removing myself. How can I be invited to anything? Perhaps it's all just a ruse, and my 'wall' or whatever it's called will say 'Graham thinks he's deactivated his account. Why not tell him what a dickhead he is?'

That's what I hate most about Facebook - you can't do anything without it telling all your followers, or friends, or whatever they call them. If I wanted to comment on someone's photograph, why the hell would I want all those other people to see what I'd put, or even be informed that I'd done it? If I sent someone an email, I wouldn't copy in everyone I know on the off-chance that they get something out of it. What's the difference? Perhaps I'm missing the point of social networking. Maybe there's an option to keep these things private but I doubt it. There's nothing wrong with sharing information but at least make it invitational; don't just spew it across their monitors and append it with an upturned thumb.

Twitter is more useful as an information source but I still can't participate. I've tried but it's not possible. You're either the sort of person who is comfortable telling people things or you're not. And once you've established yourself as an infrequent Tweeter you're stuffed, because anything you do write appears to be massively important to you - you can't idly say, after six weeks of silence, how much you like a certain TV show because your Tweet's isolation makes it even more trivial. You accept that stuff from people who Tweet twenty times a day because you expect it, rightly or wrongly. And you certainly can't attempt to say something clever or witty because you're imagining all your followers thinking He's really pleased with that one isn't he? It's insane.

Twitter exposes people too; the number of journalists whose spelling and grammar are worse than mine is baffling to me. If you owe your career to a sub-editor, I'd rather be blissfully unaware. I don't expect everyone to write properly, but when it's your profession... and celebrities; isn't the whole point of being a celebrity to appear better than the rest of us? Skilled in a way that sets you apart? If you're actually slack jawed and dull as puddle water you should keep it to yourself, for your own sake if nothing else.

I don't know why people are so keen to share things. If something is made too easy it has no value. Surely life was better when we were more judicious, when it was harder and therefore less appealing to flood people's time with nonsense. Speaking of time, that was the final straw that made me deactivate my Facebook account in the first place. Facebook Timeline. I'd never even heard of it until I read somewhere that it was soon becoming compulsory. I still don't really get it - I believe it's some kind of chronology of your entire life, which will presumably encourage people to share their experiences of being a toddler - but I knew that I didn't want to be part of it. What kind of people do you find most interesting? The ones you know inside out or the ones you know very little about? Mystery is dead. Privacy is happily eschewed and those who don't participate are forgotten because without constantly reminding them that we're still alive, people won't have room in their heads for us. When I die I want to leave behind a shoebox, not a warehouse.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant post. I too have chosen to opt out of Facebook, and I don't Tweet often any more either. Totally agree about privacy and mystery -- my favourite singers and writers are progressively less appealing the more I know about them.

Matt Keefe said...

Facebook has made a teenage girl out of me, though I like to think I only use it to broadcast opinions sufficiently outrageous, and in language sufficiently offensive, to ensure I could never get into politics even if one day something terrible happened to me in my sleep and I woke up wanting to. It'll come back to bite me on the arse one day, though, no doubt. I'm terribly shy and private by nature but seem not to be on Facebook. Eventually I'll cotton onto the fact that this has resulted in people knowing things and I'll have a massive attack of anxiety and have to lock myself away or something.

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