The other day I turned my back on Facebook. As in permanently. It is very hard indeed to just turn your back on Facebook because you never know what you might be missing. The answer is almost always, no sorry always, always, absolutely nothing. You didn’t need to see a photo of a stranger’s child on their first day back to school. You didn’t need to see some awful philosophical giblet written to make you feel better. And you certainly didn’t need to see someone enjoying themselves much more than you in a much nicer place than your living room sofa. No, when I turned my back I turned it off. I am now a grey silhouette with no information attached and here are some reasons why.
1. I have never and never will see any reason why I should be interested in any regular message from Mark Zuckerberg. His face and thoughts popping up are the equivalent of a restaurant manager interrupting your meal 8 times to let you tell them how brilliant they are. Needy.
2. It sucks up so much time. By being on Facebook you are already admitting you might have a hole in your existence that you are desperate to fill. Some can cope with this but others fill that hole by constantly searching for the one thing they might find that they didn’t know existed for them to find. Top tip: you won’t find it on Facebook. Unless you can fill a hole with a photo of a cute puppy. As opposed to the body of one, which is a relatively easy task.
3. It is an instrument designed to nurture jealousy. The more you look at other people being self-consciously brilliant the more you start to question why you’re not having fun too and sadly the only way you can do that is by becoming a billionaire and spending the rest of your life on a permanent summer holiday by a swimming pool with a cocktail in one hand and a selfie stick in the other.
4. Facebook as a political platform. There are already plenty of political platforms out there. We don’t need another. I’d rather pepper spray myself in the face and testes than read another love letter about how great Jeremy Corbyn is.
5. Ha ha. Saw this picture/quote/meme today. Hilarious! LOL! Emoticon, emoticon, emoticon. Share it now so 25 other people can pretend to laugh. Sweet Jesus.
6. It makes you do things you thought were very far beneath you. There are 2 pretty much universal truths out there: nobody is interested in your child and nobody can be bothered to look at your photos. I glaze over looking at some of my own holiday snaps so anyone else’s don’t stand a chance. Unless they’re photos of Michael Gove being mauled by a lion at Whipsnade. Therefore I tried hard not to inflict such images on others until Facebook changed all that. Look! It’s me sitting at a restaurant overlooking the sea with a big glass of wine. Look! It’s me sitting next to the Ark of the Covenant with a big glass of wine. Look! It’s me sitting on a unicorn with Lord Lucan, with a big glass of wine. And so on. It made me feel cheap and shallow and pointless and desperate for attention. And I already have a mirror to do that.
7. Stalking. There’s a fine line between curious and creepy. No-ones finest hour.
8. Settings. All thoroughly murky and misguiding and petty and oh so clever that they change them roughly 3 seconds after you’ve reset them. Hence my lack of time for Monsieur Zuckerberg. ‘Oh, didn’t you know you could review your tag before it goes on? Just go to settings, privacy………………………………’
9. Leaving Facebook. If ever I needed any more incentive to wriggle free then it’s the Facebook policy on leaving Facebook. You see, to leave you have to answer a question about why you’re leaving. Whichever you click on it then takes you to a page which is there to help you understand that Facebook can do better for you and you must be deluded if you think your life can ever return to normal ever again. The only alternative is to write your reason in a box and then you’re gone, like an unpopular child at a party, drifting off home early without a piece of cake in a small plastic bag. No email, no farewell, just vanished until you log back into Facebook to check you’ve been cancelled only to find you’ve just logged back in again, as if it was just hiding beneath the table trying not to giggle. Superb.
10. Someone you don’t know has just checked into somewhere you don’t know with someone else you don’t know, someone you didn’t know you knew and several others you’ll never want to know. There will probably be some tags chucked in for good luck.
So, in short, being on Facebook has added marginally less than nothing to my life. I don’t miss it and I’m pretty certain it doesn’t miss me. You never know, I’m probably daft enough to log back in again one of these days but that’s like getting back with an ex on the basis that life’s too empty without SOMEONE. It never ever works and you can trust me on that one because joining Facebook is not the first time in my life I’ve been stupid. Geoffrey Hewitt has tagged himself on his own, nowhere and with no friends. Hooray.
G B Hewitt. 15.9.2016