I’m going to talk about the internet, because that’s where I live. I’m going to talk about Facebook, because that used to be my street. On that street was my profile page, and on Friday I attempted arson and deleted myself.
Or, at least, I hope I did. Did the paper and petrol take hold? Because the ‘book owns everything that was on there anyway, so can decide if they want to keep my stuff or not. For now, I am ‘deactivated’ pending caving and logging in in the next two weeks. Clearly the powers that be cannot imagine anyone being able to resist their ‘Home’ button for longer than a few days. But Facebook, seriously, you and I have been on the path to ‘over’ for some time now. Everybody has been talking about cutting you off; I thought the decent thing to do would be to do it first, show everybody that there is life outside the social networking beast, and hope that others would email me when they cut you out of their lives. Or call me. Or, horror of horrors, tell me in person!
Hello? Hello? Oh, OK. I really did commit social suicide.
And OH NO! I can’t update my status to tell everyone that I did it. What changed in the past few years? I didn’t need a vehicle to endlessly tap witty one-liners into. I just didn’t think that way. Facebook was the internet condensed into one click of a button: people’s drunken parties, articles they thought everyone should read, horrible flatmate updates (mostly me), conversations between mutual friends that appeared in your newsfeed… no wonder I would just click on the ‘Home’ button, waiting for new things to appear. And of course, adding to that feed myself. When I floated the idea of a mass exodus from Facebook, on principle of ethics (shitborgs), people would gasp and say ‘but where will I get my dose of Lotte? Rata? flatmate issues?’ To which I’d reply, ‘Well, we could meet up once a week and have things to say to each other instead of… “oh this happened” “yes I saw that on FB” “oh” *end of topic*’.
Where do I turn to? My real blog? My other blog? Do we really need the internets to prop us up socially? Those things only work until you leave work, right? All those parties you said you’d go to, you’ve long forgotten them by the time they roll around. ‘Like’-ing ‘Save Radio New Zealand’ does not make a socially conscientious citizen of you. It’s just a button. You probably hid them from your feed anyway. You just liked it because your friends were liking it and you wanted them to see you like it too. It’s all about being seen. But do I want those people I went to school with twenty years ago to see me? How about I just disappear?
OK, you got me, I’ve cheated. I looked my my boyfriend’s news feed. But he’s quitting too! This house will soon be Facebook free. My flatmate, who has never been on the beast, complained that it was hard to make friends at social gatherings in her newly adopted home town - people were more interested in whether she was on FB, presumably so they could go home and ‘friends’ her.
(Mark Zuckerwhatsyername, that is your greatest contribution to the world: the phrase ‘she friendsed me’. Talk about more often and get it in print and then in the OED. Seriously. But first, delete my information.)
So if you’re reading this, I recommend you go and delete your account too. Make an effort to be friends with people in real life, and have conversations that extend beyond ‘I saw that on FB’. How many of your ‘friendsed’ friends do you actually talk to? Would talk to in the street?
And stay the fuck off Twitter too, while you’re at it.