I joined Facebook a very long time ago. I think it was about 2005. I remember I was on teaching prac at Kingswood High School. I joined and didn’t see the point and left it alone for many years. I didn’t really need it – and now, over a decade later, I really don’t need it.
Stephen Downes recently ditched Facebook, I think it was because he’s sick of the advertising and selecting display algorithm, but I was too busy scrolling to pay attention. I find myself posting images of cars to random groups with people who reward me with a thumbs-up. What am I doing? I’ve lost my mind. I’m reading people’s questions about cars and rarely are they answered, other than people who scold them or hijack the post to talk about themselves.
Perhaps a better term for Facebook is “The books of social judgement” as I’m even finding people I am close to – and talk to IRL – adding snark or being confused about what or why I’m posting. I think I’m posting because I’m bored and in my late 40s. No seriously, I think it’s a thing. Secondly, on many corners of the Internet—comment sections, forums, even Tumblr and Twitter to some degree—interactions take place mostly with strangers.
I don’t like strangers as rule, it’s just something that I’ve never been interested in IRL. I like to meet people – I’m not a shut-in, but there’s a difference between meeting a new human and a Facebook stranger. I think that many people I ‘know’ – ie have actually met and had a fun time with are on Facebook. Most of them don’t seem to post anything. On that basis, I’m an oversharer then. I seriously wonder – who the f**k cares – about whether my kids doing this or that? and why am I posting it? It makes no sense.
Then there is the relentless ‘sponsored’ crap that shows up – stuff my ‘friends’ apparently like. So far, research hasn’t established why people use websites like Facebook in ways that promote or harm interpersonal relationships – so no one knows what it’s doing to us.
At school, I’m so over Facebook social dramas. I think most of the kids are being hammered all day by messages from people they know and ‘friends’ online. The ‘fear of missing out’ compels many to pay Facebook that kind of attention most humans would welcome – and we can’t pay each other attention if we’re paying Facebook. Literally, we are paying is so many ways — and I for one have just grown tired of it. It is like a needy, yet pompous neighbour that just can’t keep off your lawn. Facebook is not cool – it’s as cringe-worthy as David Brent – and I don’t need that.
I can look up car shows. I can visit car forums and I can go visit humans I know. It’s nice to know people I used to know are alive – but I don’t need to know what they are doing, or the dramas and crap they are going through – between some marketing campaign slogan. So I’m out of it. Anyone who would like to come over for a beer or a drive … give me call. I’m not alone in quitting Facebook – there are plenty of reasons to drop it – all I had to do was look away.
Facebook is a timewaster. What I want to get out of this choice is to use the same time and energy into simply being myself, or a better version of me – the one with a PhD and spending weekends at the track.