I recently took a hiatus from Facebook for several reasons that were partly about me and partly about others.
In terms of me, it was because I felt I was so hooked up to it, dependent on it, verging on addicted even. It would be my first contact with the world, and myself, when I woke up each morning. Reaching for my iPhone and opening Facebook was more of an instinctive action than shitting, showering or shaving. This often resulted in ruining my morning or day, after reading someone’s post or comment (more on that later). I realised this was the case when I arrived at work one day at the end of 2014 in a stinking mood (after ‘touching base’ with Facebook) and found myself being totally unreasonable and vile to my staff and partner. I didn’t like that in me, and I realised where it had come from.
Without sounding like a Conspiracy Theorist (trust me I am far too lazy to think up such things and making the connections necessary to form those theories) I was also concerned about the amount of information – social, formal and intimate that Facebook held about me. It occurred to me that I had given them a personally signed, multi formatted, downloadable blueprint of who I am. Warts and all. Between Facebook and Google, I felt [internet] exposed and vulnerable. I didn’t like that either.
In terms of why I quit where others are concerned, I must discuss the ‘social’ aspect in Social Media. My Facebook account had its heyday when I was raving Thursday through Monday, every weekend proving I was the Party Laureate. Photos, high-fives, jokes, and event research and support were all on conducted on Facebook. My Friends List went from a few dozen to a couple of thousand – people I met in the smoking area, people I came to love dearly as true friends, people I have no recollection of meeting (but don’t tell them that), and people who have no idea who I am but want me to come to their parties and pay them for the honour. This was all good and well at the time when all we spoke about was where we were going that weekend, how good a party was, how smashed we were, how smashed others were and how we’d never do it again (until next week). But now I find that my life has changed, that London has changed (it really isn’t the party capital it was 1992-2009, it’s dancing shoes well and truly put to rest with The End Club closing), and the World has changed. Dark times are upon us socially, ecologically and politically – but what compounds this awfulness is reading posts from the very same group of people I built up on Facebook (in another time, when we were all having fun), spouting verbosely, hypocritically and with ill-informed opinions about this new dark world we are living through. Some of them revealing more about their right-wing or suburban tendencies than I want to know. I must state at this point that I am hardly immune to this crass behaviour, you find yourself being swept up by the same media fads and ploys typing out as much shit about it as the next person. For fucks sake, my main source of Global News was Facebook, how messed up is that?
I hope you get the picture.
SO… I found myself pressing the ‘deactivation’ button on my Facebook account on the 1st January 2015, a sort of New Year, New Me type thing. Very apt I thought. For the first week, it was weird: I felt disconnected, isolated, lonely and a little lost (tapping the Facebook app on your iPhone is a little like having a cigarette when you’re a smoker, it’s something your hands just ‘do’ when you’re not manually engaged in something productive. You’re hands ‘miss it’ when you take it away, very much a junky trait). Until one day, 11:30 in the morning on a District Line train, I realised my head felt freer, and less burdened of all the useless information and media I would absorb going through endless posts before I’d even had my coffee, an throughout the day. It was a kind of inner peace that I had somehow forgotten…. Well maybe not that good.
Things were going swimmingly until I realised that one thing I did miss was being able to share media and culture that I enjoy or find interesting. I also missed being able to keep my (actual) friends up to date with what Derek (my partner of 18 years) and I are up to – without having to pick up the phone and all that palava…. Thats where this blog comes in. It’s a bit like an experiment in sharing my thoughts, life and likes with the world in a relatively ego-free way. I won’t say much more for now and let my entries speak for themselves, but I hope you enjoy it and that you let me know what you think about my posts and/or the blog.
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