How do I feel about Facebook? I can’t stand it.
Any one of my friends or family members would tell you that is one big, fat lie; that in fact I must love Facebook because I can’t seem to get through a moment of silence without picking up my phone and refreshing my news feed (even though I just checked it 36 seconds beforehand).
Yes, it’s a problem. Yes, I have tried to delete it, and wish I could again. But will I?
It’s staying with me for life. My love/hate relationship with social media in general is a complicated one and to be fair to Facebook, perhaps I have an issue with many of its users rather than the platform itself. I see so many benefits from using social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to connect with like-minded people, share information, grow businesses and keep in touch with people you don’t get to see very often. But the problem is that it’s always there and people abuse it so often.
Like the people who rant and rave about others and post it right there in public, smack bang in front of your face where you (and their 600 other friends) can’t miss it. When they have absolutely zero consideration for the people they may be offending or upsetting with their words. When third parties get all up on those statuses and egg them on, abuse those who disagree or simply just stick their nose in where Facebook absolutely lets them – because you know, if you post something on a public platform, people are allowed to comment and there’s not a lot you can do about.
What’s even worse? When people post blatantly racist, sexist and downright offensive material and no matter how many times you report it to Facebook, they won’t take it down. But that photo of a new mother breastfeeding? Oh yeah, that’s gotta go.
For all the good Facebook does in the world, I think it also allows a lot of crap to happen and that drives me just a little bit nuts. It makes me wish I still had my trusty Nokia 2100 that didn’t let me store more than 15 text messages in my phone at a time, let alone have the ability to incessantly browse the internet.
Whilst driving to work one morning a few months ago, I was listening to an interview on triple j with one of my favourite comedians, Dylan Moran. (If you haven’t watched Black Books, rush on out and find it and watch it all. Right now. The rest of this blog can wait.)
And whilst Dylan was of course absolutely hilarious (as always), he also made some really, really good points about the problems with social media just being up in your grill, like, all the time.
“The problem is we’re waking up and going to sleep with it beside us and it’s awake before we are, and we wake up to it.”
(Because we are. How many of you reach for your phone and flick through every social media platform you frequent before you even get out of bed? *raises hand*.)
“I think people are just feeling the internet now, because before you used to look at it and go “Oh look, there’s all this stuff”, and then you’d go “Oh there’s too much of it, look away”, but now we’re in the digital soup all the time and I think it’s making us pulse in a slightly ominous way.
“All that stuff is hell; it’s hell in a box. If you’re trapped in a lift with somebody, they can tell you about whatever – the dinner they’ve had last night or show you pictures you don’t want to see, but the idea that you’re sitting in your kitchen and these people can get you and you’re showing them – people are having this kind of, you know, face-off of “Here I am, I’m on a boat” and “Here you go, I’m up a tree in Bali or wherever”. This is a nightmare! Why is everybody doing this?
“Everybody needs to be unplugged and thrown in a hole in the ground for days at a time.”
It’s true. I need to be thrown in a hole, far away from my phone and the internet in general for a good while, but I’ll tell you what – I’d be landing on plenty people thrown in there before me.
I really try not to upset people with anything I say or do on a daily basis, but at least if you say something a little harsh in person, it only lasts a moment. It’s gone, and only you and your immediate surroundings heard it and that is that. The fact that what you write on Facebook can stay there for ever for almost anyone to see…well, ouch. (And deleting it doesn’t do a thing, because that handy little function known as ‘screen shot’ can really come back to bite you in the rear long after you thought twice about that angry rant you had an hour ago.)
Is it too much to ask people to think twice before they hit that post button? To ask them to consider the feelings of people they’re writing about, or directing their especially pointy words at? I guess all we can do is utilise the ‘jerk’ button; either hide them from our news feeds or simply unfriend them. But I mean, I have a hard enough time managing relationships in real life without having to consider how I deal with ‘friends’ in the online world.
So while you won’t see me disappear from the ol’ FB any time soon, you may notice I tend to keep pretty quiet on my own account. Apart from the occasional ‘Miss you!’ and ‘Looking beautiful my dear!’, I won’t be getting into any controversial conversations or comments wars with a friend of a friend (who isn’t even really a friend…).
I’ll just leave my rants to my blog, shall I? And on that note – rant over.