I am pretty computer savvy, I spend far more time than I should online, I write for a online magazine, am a gamer, website designer and I talk more to my friends via Skype than I ever
actually see them in person! With all that said, there is one thing that I most definitely and happily live without, something I have no intention of changing…….
"My name is Elizabeth Clarke, and I don't have a Facebook page….."
This has not always been the case, I did once have a Facebook account, it had passed me by for a while, I was lost in a MMORPG and that was my social online time, but as soon as it appeared I was in the minority not being on Facebook, I opened an account.
Initially I was overtaken with the desire to ensure I had plenty of friends, it didn't really seem to matter who, or however tenuous the link, I needed friends and a friends list of at least three pages seemed to be the minimum for showing you were in fact a person with a life and a group of friends, so with this in mind, I blithely accepted friendship offers from girls I never much liked at school, the same ones who after a quick browse of their profiles I knew I still wouldn't like much, I accepted offers from the ex-workmates I had celebrated not having to ever see again by getting blindingly drunk and from people apparently related to me, even though I had only the vaguest recollection of who they were!
The friends list decently full, I set out about the task of ensuring I had a photo album showing myself having grown up into a woman not looking like the back end of a bus with a nice life, (hints of this shown by photos including a big garden/house interior looking swanky etc (regardless of whether they were actually my big garden or house interior)), pictures of country romps with dogs and of course, the absolute obligatory…..”I am at the third party of the month and so so drunk but managing to ensure my make-up looks perfect and my beaming smile is far more beaming than anyone's else's” shots.
It was however the status messages I struggled with, it was beyond me then, and is beyond me today, why anyone could or should care what I am up to at that very moment, my days are rarely full of excitement and my inner most thoughts only likely to lead to a mental health sectioning, this leaves what I have had for dinner or what my big toe looks like. No one else seemed to struggle suddenly becoming a bit quirky or funny and they all had perfect lives. It did rather quickly dawn on me that I was finding Facebook rather depressing, the weekend messages from people desperate to show their lives are full to the brim, the albums rammed full of holiday pictures, party pictures, house pictures, handsome other half pictures and even worse the almost unending stream of pictures of the progeny, videos of the progeny and general proclamations about what the progeny has done in the last 30 seconds. To me Facebook had just become the next “keeping up with the Jones'” it appears to have very little honesty about it, rather being simply a way to say “my life is better than yours”!
And then there were those games and apps, seeing people's Facebook profiles full to the brim with what they had just done on Farmville, or some other one I never quite found the fervour to download just sent me into an uncharacteristic inner rant about how being outside and growing real tomatoes may possibly be a better choice of time wasting, and when I say that, I know its serious, I have form for realising its been a good 10 hours since I last ate or actually moved, but Facebook fills me with the kind of pointlessness that makes me want to switch off, get up and walk my chubby unphotogenic Labrador with no make-up for the Facebook beam, wearing a fleece turned mohair by earlier mentioned Labrador whilst resisting the urge to take staged photographs to later post.
The great Facebook turn-off, delete account moment occurred though not via a moment of clarity, or any kind of worthy epiphany but when someone posted pictures of me looking less than perfect at a party and tagged my name, in the most shallow of actions I deleted my profile, I simply couldn't bear the thought of those pictures being linked to me, but even though the pictures were removed, and I was quickly told by a Facebook devotee that the unwritten rule is that you don't tag unflattering pictures of your friends and acquaintances because then you give carte blanche for the same to happen to you, I decided I was off Facebook and staying off!
Its been nearly two years now since I de'facebook'd and I can honestly say I have survived and feel better for it, I do think I miss out sometimes on the odd thing of interest, for example I have a young nephew whose parents of course post every 10 minutes about him, and I do miss out on the did you see the picture of him doing what babies do, or the video of him being baby?”, but as I see him in the flesh regularly and probably would find it less a joy, if I had already been assaulted by 100's of updates and videos and pictures, I stay resolutely Facebook free. A lot of social conversation can be Facebook orientated, the assumption is that you are on there, when you announce you are not it can be thought you are joking because how could you not be!
Of course now I have to embrace Facebook again, it will be and is unthinkable for RazberryJuice not to have a FaceBook page, and as part of the editorial team, I cant avoid it……can I ?