Thursday, August 06, 2009

Why I will never join Facebook

There are two main problems that stop me having anything to do with Facebook:

1. Me.

2. Other people.

Now don't get me wrong, I fully support the right of other people to put their face & thoughts in the Facebook; to write little notes to each other and tell ex-school friends what they did last week. It's just that for me it's a bucket full of wrongness. It's not for any of the reasons that the Daily Mail or community minded parish priests rail against it. It's not cos it's superficial or driving the 'youth' to a form of internet-based madness or suicidalness. No. That's fine. The youth are always superficial and prone to self-obsession and occasional madness. Let them have their book full of face.

The problem can't even be that I'm too old & grumpy for Facebook. There must be grumpier people than me on there & there are definitely older people. For heckers sakes, I hear tales of mothers writing on the 'Walls' of their own children. Commenting 'lollingly' about hilarious photographs of their drunken Ketamine addled teens. Ha ha. Fine. Get on with it. Although, I will grouchily comment that if I had had photos taken of myself as a drunken teen - standing in a street with a traffic cone on my head and sick down my pullover - I'm not sure I would have wanted a parent to ever see the photos. But it's the modern world, I'm not complaining.

My problems with the Facebook are entirely personal and have very little to do with the slight sense of revulsion I feel at the idea of people being able to comment on photos of me, or challenge me to do hideous personality tests. It's more that I don't want these people to know what I'm doing & I don't want to communicate with people I don't actually like. But whilst I can avoid phoning someone up, how can I avoid allowing them to be my Facebook friend?

And yeah, my Facebook supporting friend tells me that, "You can set it up so it's private and you don't receive those add-ons. And... other stuff." But really - how does that differ from not having a Facebook account? Not being on Facebook means that no one knows what I'm doing & if someone forwards me an 'hilarious' joke email I can mark it as spam and never write or speak to them ever again. It's a system that works for me. And obviously I am guilty of the crime of Twitter and also the perpetual sin of bloggage. But no one I know actually reads this stream of word claptrap.

Here's the first big problem with Facebook though: Me looking at other people's lives.

If I was on Facebook I would look at what other people are doing. I would look at what my ex-girlfriend is doing. I would see her happy face posing for photos when she is out at parties. I would see her - whatdotheycallit? - status change from single to partnered up again - and really? - I'd rather not know. I actually couldn't care less, but I don't actually want to know - but I know that I wouldn't be able to stop myself from looking. Just wasting those 6 minutes flicking through someone else's photos is vaguely depressing. People don't put up photos of themselves looking their worst - unless they're a drunken teen - and even then the label on the photo doesn't read ,'Me feeling depressed eating dry crackers whilst watching Come Dine With Me'. The photos show off a social life whereas whenever I'm looking at something on the internet I'm generally going to be sitting in my undercrackers and drinking a cup of cold tea. I will inevitably feel bad about myself - and I don't need any help in that sphere.

After all I don't surf the web whilst larging it in a nightclub. I usually do it when I'm bored.

So if some old school 'friend' pops up and says, hey, what are you up to these days!!!!??? What am I supposed to say? Errr, I'm eating dry crackers whilst watching Big Brother...

So there's the second big problem: other people looking at my life.

As a for instance: ex-girlfriend might actually be feeling depressed and bored at work - so will have a look at my page - or if I've blocked her - at the page of a mutual friend. Clearly, in this case I want to present an image of me as happy and socially successful. However, in order to do this I would need to present a slightly exaggerated version of my life. The bits about eating dry crackers and watching repeats of Columbo would have to be glossed over. It would have to be like a make-over show. I would have to Gok Wan my Facebook account - make it much more fabulous.

I would have to invent several new people and log onto Facebook as them - thereby creating some new friends to replace the slightly dull ones I already have:

Pedros: a crazy Brazillian guy who loves to partyyyyyy!!! He says really great things about me and we go out salsa dancing twice a week. We also play for a successful football team at the weekend, although I am a better player than him, obviously. We take drugs as well and steal cars for laughs. He's in love with me - in a shoulder punching manlove kinda way. He likes to watch me sleep.

Suturine: a crazy tattooed and pierced chick who I go to gigs with. We also indulge in a variety of shady behaviours that may or may not include bank robbery. She drops many hints about my sexual prowess and what a great time we have together!!! Unfortunately she also loves me and probably self-harms when I reject her for other women. She will inevitably start to stalk me at some point & then kill herself.

Obviously in order to make these two characters seem realistic I would have to go out and stand by attractive people and take photographs of myself & them smiling happily - then come home & label the photos as:

*Me & Pedros at Gatecrasher!!! Havin' it drunken lols!!!* Though obviously it would be me stood next to a confused looking Asian guy in Quality Save. I can add in the disco lights in PhotoShop.

*Me & Suturine in a crackhouse in Bradford just before we went doggin on the A56 lols!!!* Although actually it would be me standing next to the receptionist at the dentist's - I would add in the crackhouse graffiti and her tattoos, piercings and smile later in PhotoShop.

Alternatively I could just go out to pubs & clubs and take lots of random photos. I'm sure the photographed people wouldn't mind - I'm sure they would happily pull faces and show off their initimate body parts for the camera. It's what the modern drunkard does.

And there I would have it: a happy, successful Facebook profile. Lots of friends, fun and status updates. But wouldn't it all be just too much work? Just to prove to people that I have a crazy, fulfilling existence? Isn't being on Facebook like having a part-time job?


  1. When I read on the News about the 12 year old girl who was talking to a 45 year old man on Facebook, who told her he was 28, and then arranged to meet her while she was on holiday in France with her family; and ONLY when they got to the airport and she had no passport did he dump her..

    ...I decided to open up a facebook account.

    I don't really know why I did it, well I do; but I didn't know what I was going to do when I did if you catch my drift..

    My daughter has over 500 contacts on her account, and she knows them all.

    I told her the story of the child in France and she smiled at me when I started the don't talk to strangers routine - she is 17..

    Then I realised I could see into her account and saw her photos etc..

    I knew it was like prying. I might be her mum, but unless she shows me those photos, I do not have the right to just go in and look, so I stopped right there.

    It's OK for some but not for all :)

  2. Sarah, that starts off as a weird and slightly creepy story. And then becomes noble and honourable - good turn around.

  3. A Bd.6:19 am

    The comments make this blog even better...

    Haha (:

    I also have no facebook account.
    As for Twitter...

    That's even worse.

  4. But you have a MySpace. Which is like the lower-class, embarrassing cousin to Faceboook.

    I have a Facebook because nobody is anyone without a web presence. And yeah, it allows you to craft a certain sort of image. It's all very selective. Plus, it's the easiest way to organize a bunch of shit at once.

    You're going to become a technological grandma if you get too sanctimonious about it :)

    Also, hey man, I like your blog.

  5. I have a facebook account because my daughter persuaded me to.

    I don't use it. I find it a bit banal. It's like being in a noisy pub where people banter but never get beyond the shallow stuff.

    I prefer the pub if I want to do that LOL.

    My daughter posts under a pseudonym because she got stalked by someone.

    There also seems to be some kind of kudos attached to the numbers game too, which I find a bit strange.

  6. It's true I do have a myspace account but I set that up years ago just to see what would happen. Then filled it in with utter nonsense at work one day. I've never really 'used' it. Tom is the only 'person' that has ever really contacted me on there & I get the feeling that his messages aren't that personal. I should delete my MySpace account, it's a bit of an embarrassment.

    As for being a sanctimonious grandma, well I'm very good at being sanctimonious so I'm happy with that....

  7. I am in complete agreement with you I think. This line was fantastic:

    "It's more that I don't want these people to know what I'm doing & I don't want to communicate with people I don't actually like."

    Spot on.

  8. I hate Facebook myself, and I am 20. Never have liked it and my short stint with it was enough to realise that it is not worth the time.The idiot who said 'you are nobody without a web presence' is an ignorant fool. It is only insecure people looking to fabricate their lives that use Facebook. I still have great experiences with my friends and communicate on a daily basis, all without FB and lead a much happier life than many who are addicted to the stupid thing.

    1. Sarah 20, you are wise. I am probably addicted to all sorts of things (there's a good Billy Bragg quote on his addiction). I can waste my time quite competently without any help

  9. Anonymous5:22 pm

    agreed not a facebook member. NEVER will be

  10. Anonymous12:45 am

    just shit aye

  11. Anonymous12:13 am

    i agree with the comment that when i also hear every one does it, i am right away turned off, i have my own mind i don do something because everyone else does, I also think a lot of people are on it for utter nosiness, i am very private i dont want the world to know what i am doing i dont care what any one else is doing or eating or where they are at that moment, i keep in touch will my family and friends through email skype or phone and speak one to one with them ,every one i know on it knows everyone's business but when i point out i dont want to know everyone,s business every single person bar none say i only go on it for the games, no they don.t or they would not know every aspect of every one,s life.