Thursday, February 18, 2010


*This is one of the ‘secret’ posts I wrote a few months ago, that I am resurrecting in order tog et some actual work done. And to clear out the giant pile of drafts a little bit.

I. Hate. Facebook.

I hate that it only shows the smiles.

I hate the silly smushy statuses “I love my snookums so much mwah mwah”, “my angel I miss you so much I haven’t seen you in two WHOLE hours!” or the mom-stuff (why do you feel the need to update the world that you just changed a nappy?).

I hate the attention grabbing type “Is sad today :’(" because apparently a bunch of relative stranger commenting with “*hugs* makes it al better? (and yes, I have been guilty of similar updates, and I hate myself for it).

I hate the way people put up pictures of events where they had a great time, while knowing that that person they didn’t invite (for whatever reason) will see them and feel unwanted.

I hate the way nobody ever writes anything but then random relative strangers (I don’t keep track of who I’m ‘friends’ with) stop you on the street to comment on something you wrote 6 months ago.

I hate feeling compelled to watch people living their lives in all the gory detail while feeling that mine may be somehow inadequate.

I hate the social uproar that can be created by the click of the “remove friend” button.

I hate seeing photos of the kids I used to babysit getting drunk and puking. It makes me feel old. And kind of freaked out.

And yet I still keep my account open.



Unknown said...

I could not agree with you more on this! (Even if I may be guilty)

The only thing I would add to your list is that adding some people as a friend on Facebook is a foolproof method of making sure that they Never Talk To You Again.

Tamara said...

This post makes me happy I have never subscribed to FB ;-)

Anonymous said...

沒有友情,人生何樂? ..................................................

Cam said...

I removed 100 random friends because they were just taking up space...some, believe it or not, still friend request me!

Athena said...

This is the craziest comment ever, because I was originally going to say something along the lines of, 'I agree 100% with you!. But then I started typing, and I actually completely found myself debating so many of the issues you raised (which is bizarre in and of itself, because I nearly deactivated my account, and may have just talked myself into keeping an active account)

I kind of like that Facebook has inadvertently posed a few questions, like what is a 'friend', what parts of your life do you (and should you) show others, and so on. I actually quite like that part of it. And, the truth is, it is so awesome to see how people are doing - it's a really good way to check in, and see how they are doing, how they like their jobs, how their kids are growing etc. From my expereince, so many of my friends work such long hours that I seldom see them, but it is nice to see every now and then how they are doing. And they can post a status when they are able to (like 3am), and I can read the status and somment on it 12 hours later, and then 5 hours later they can reply, and then a mutual friend can chime in, and it just works out.

Duncan and I were chatting about this a couple of days ago because he has deactivated his account, and I started to deactivate mine yesterday before I changed my mind (partly because I suddenly had to run, but mainly due to their emo to a meeting, but mainly because of their emotional blackmail, but that's a whole other story) - and I left the discussion thinking that Facebook has become WAY too political. Like, why shouldn't you invite the people you actually like / have things in common with to an event - just because other people you don't like are on Facebook doesn't mean you should feel obligated to invite them suddenly. And after the event, why not post photos? I agree that IF the ENTIRE event and photo-posting is being done with the intention of hurting someone, then that's not so okay, but otherwise, why not? If you feel as though you don't connect with someone on absolutely any level or they have hurt you or proven themselves to be contrary to the type of person you want in your life, then why can't you defriend them?

I mean seriously, Facebook can serve as a lens into your life, so why not show your life as what it is - show the people you consider to be friends, announce the events you attend (and display photos of said events), and list the mundane events that make your life interesting for you (and for mothers, changing nappies is a big thing, so let them talk about it). All of that (and more) make up who you are and how you live. As for the smiles - i think we need more of that. Not denial. But hope and optimism and positivity in general.

But now, thanks to Facebook, there are whole host of social niceties that have to be taken into account. It's become that you can't really live your life for yourself, because you might hurt someone. And that really is so not right.

And therein lies the problem.

Also, speaking from personal experience - the 'social uproar' that can be created from any of the above is ludicrous, because often the social circle are not actually aware of what is happening behind the scenes. It happens with or without Facebook, it is just that Facebook is a concrete sign of something that is happening on an abstract level, so it is easier to feel upset about it.

Basically, I think I am saying that Facebook is not so much the problem. It is more politics. And unfortunately, you can't escape politics.

So that's my soap box moment of the day.



EEbEE said...

(wow Athena...)

i learn a lot about people from reading their FB updates. sometimes i get the impression that one (or many) of my friends are actually quite shallow. Something i wouldn't have known were it not for facebook...

I tend to avoid these people as a result.

Helen said...

Frankiebeans: true... sad that all the networking just gives you more ways of ignoring people!

Tamara: keep it that way!

Cam: I know what you mean, I've been putting off having a friend-cleanout for a while, but I barely use it anyway and keep my profile pretty cleaned up of anything incriminating, so I don't really care enough to do it.

Athena: wow. You should write a guest-post for me sometime, that was a pretty epic comment! And you raise a lot of good points. I think my main point against facebook is that it CAN be used as a weapon. Often it is a good thing and I've reconnected with a lot of awesome people through using it, which is why I keep the account open. At the same time I've seen people actively excluding and hurting their 'friends' with it and that makes me angry. And the way that some people seem to spend their lives on facebook, watching everyone else freaks me out slightly. I would far rather have someone contact me to say "Hi, how've you been, lets go for coffee" than running into them six months down the line to be told "I liked that you saw a red balloon in October" or something random like that.

EEbEE: I hadn't considered the implications of facebook as a weeding-out tool for shallow people... at the same tie a lot of people keep their updates quite superficial to try and avoid everyone they've known since nursery school knowing their innermost thoughts. And that's ok too (in my book). I mean why NOT write a status update on the awesomeness of gummi bears. They rock!

Champagne Heathen said...

I hate that you can't swear in your status once you've had to befriend your "mother in law" on FB.

I hate even more that you can't swear about your "mother in law" on FB cause you've befriended her.

Or that your best mate can no longer make tasteless sexual comments on your photos cause of said mother-in-law. Or cause of ex-boss who is still a reference on your CV.

A shrink friend of mine always used to say to me that it is psychologically health to "weed your garden" of dead friendships. Facebook has given such a good physical means to do this!

You don't need to defriend anyone you haven't seen in a month or had a fight with, but it feels refreshing to go through the list & realise that such a person is no longer in your life, that another person was part of a past stage of your life and of you, and to let go of them and put them in your past.