Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Shouting Into The Void - Goodbye Facebook

I deleted my Facebook account today. Or should I say I ‘deactivated’ it. It doesn’t let you just delete it. It’s like trying to leave Reader’s Digest used to be or, for a more modern update, trying to get out of LoveFilm or Netflix. Before you are released you get asked whether or not you are sure at least three times, and then you are asked to give a reason for your exit. You are given a list of possible reasons for leaving and are forced to choose one. It’s like trying to get a divorce and having to attend marriage guidance counselling to ‘be sure’. Or at least I imagine that’s what divorce is like. I wouldn’t bloody know. Anyway, If none apply and you just tick ‘other’, you are then compelled to explain exactly what you mean by ‘other’. People have left the military during times of raging conflict with less scrutiny than is placed on you by Zuckerberg if you have the temerity to no longer take part in his world domination project. In the end I declared that I no longer find Facebook useful, which is true but not exactly the main reason why I left Facebook. After all, it has never been particularly useful.
I left Facebook because of people. Me included. I’m sick of them. I’m sick of myself. Sick of shouting into the void at nobody. Time was when I could write a status and at least elicit a response, make someone laugh or start a debate. Not now. Now there is a deathly, whispered silence greeting my every inane wittering. Which is probably justified. I’m not complaining about that. I’ve alienated a lot of people through Memoirs Of A Fire Hazard. I lost one reader because I expressed the opinion that Disability Awareness Day is a rotten pile of bullshit because disability awareness should be every day and become second nature to people. Shouting about it for one day of the year does fuck all. He didn’t agree and I haven’t heard from him since. Probably never will. Other than that it has been mostly just religious types and people who like rugby union and Karl Pilkington who have been offended, but that’s quite a large portion of the population. Oh and the able bodied. Nobody seems to have caught on to the fact that Memoirs Of A Fire Hazard’s liberal use of the phrase ‘able bodied bastards’ is actually a brilliant satire on modern society.

But I’m not arguing that people should want to read my shit. It’s just that frankly I would rather save myself the bother if I know that they don’t. Lately I had been using it just to post these blogs and the pieces I do for redvee but even that was beginning to get futile. I must have been down to about three interested parties through Facebook, none of whom were me and all of whom were probably only reading out of a muddled mixture of loyalty and habit. Twitter is a much better barometer of where you are with your writing, and much more rewarding with it. I have much more interest in my work there and the vast majority of it comes from people who have never even met me. These are the true judges of your work. All bias is removed and nobody is afraid to tell you that you are a bellend if you write something stupid. You get a lot more out of your work that way and you will develop better as a result.

Back to Facebook, and contrast my interaction with that of a former acquaintance of mine who won a Paralympic gold medal in London in 2012. Shortly after his victory he posted on Facebook that he was going outside for a walk and received 592 ‘likes’ for his troubles. Now life isn’t all about likes but there comes a point where you don’t want to spend time mulling over a potentially amusing status which will be ritually ignored in favour of the mundane details of a minor celebrity’s gentle exercise plans. There seems to be an imbalance there somewhere. Nowhere is this more evident than when people post information about their child’s latest bowel movement. You would think that nobody but the proud parents would be interested. Everyone you talk to says they are not interested in ‘baby bores’ yet every post of this kind is littered with responses, ‘likes’ and gushing praise for the individual’s ability to pro-create. You should have to pass stringent tests to be able to have children, but the fact that any old gobshite can still do it doesn’t stop those around them from treating it like a never before seen miracle.

Yet you don’t need to have children to bore the arse off everyone or to do enough to persuade me to fold in my Facebook cards. My last timeline before I zapped Facebook into the wilderness was chock full of what are irritatingly called memes. I don’t even know how you fucking pronounce that, but what I do know is that it usually consists of some drippy truism which the poster has no hope of actually adhering to due to their basic humanity. They’re all about love and honesty and how good people do this and good people don’t do that. Who the fuck says what good people do or do not do? You could argue that good people don’t post pictures of tortured animals to ‘raise awareness’ while simultaneously doing fuck all about it, the net result of which is just to upset people who don’t want to see it on their timelines. You could argue that. You could. Why don’t these people get the fuck off Facebook and get involved in animal charities or put their hand in their pockets to help? Because posting a picture of something dreadful is much easier and is a very public badge of honour which shows that you care, you bloody saint you. Fucking stop it.

So anyway goodbye Facebook. I have enjoyed you, at times. Long ago. I just no longer feel the need to keep in touch with 250 people who don’t give two shits about me. That’s the honesty that Twitter has that you just simply do not. I know nobody on Twitter gives two shits about me and nobody on there ever said they did. I could prolong the agony and just have another cull, but there is only so many times that you can delete anyone you think would not talk to you if you met them on the street before you find yourself with only you, your mrs and your best mate on your friends list. And well….that would just be boring.