For a couple of months I have flirted with the idea of deleting my Facebook personal account and removing myself completely from the world of 'likes' and 'status updates'. On a regular basis, it was becoming exhausting. It wasn't just the daily trawl of advertisements (thanks Facebook HQ) and recommended pages, but the ridiculous amount of over sharing and self indulgent posts.
There were 'friends' who thought nothing of sharing poems and prayers which claimed to 'save' every sick child going and promised to bring them 6.4 billion years worth of luck. There were 'friends' who moaned and moaned and moaned about everything and nothing. There were 'friends' who posted stick thin images of themselves and claimed 'diet starts tomorrow!' and there were 'friends' who if I met in person, on the street, in real life, I would dodge to ignore. Yup, I was that shallow. Funnily enough, I'm not ashamed to admit it because I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has done this.
The reality was, I had nothing to talk to them about. Facebook had me well informed. So informed I probably knew what they ate for breakfast that morning and where they were headed the following week. I knew, because they shared it. They, like me, were telling the world that they had a life, they had a jam packed schedule full of friends and adventures that everyone and anyone had to know about it. Don't get me wrong, I've shared the same plans. "Can't wait for [insert actual friends name here] hen party, Dublin men watch out!". Followed by numerous check ins, drunken images, and telling anyone who'll read and listen the next day that "I'm dyin', NEVER again!".
There's nothing wrong with sharing these great life events with each other, Facebook contributes in cementing these memories. But, over the last number of months, and perhaps it's a culmination of being on Facebook for five years, the sheer load of taking in all these events from up to 488 'friends' was just, well, it was overload.
It also dawned on me, that it wasn't a true reflection on life and that some of these 'friends' had actually been quite rude to me in real life. One 'friend' who I've met about three times in the last four years has always commented on my weight and looks. Always. We'd exchange the usual niceties and then, true to form, she'd look me up and down and say "That dress is very slimming on you". Girls, we both know that's not a compliment. The same girl (who's about a size 8, 10 in the real world) posted endless skinny outfit posts and then pictures of herself eating cake and say "I wish I was so good with food, feeling fat!". For f**ks sake, get a grip! It came to a head when the last time I met her, she looked me up and down again, looked over my head, tapped me on my arm and said "You're looking well, hun!". It was thee most faulty, 'can't think of anything nice to say, so I'll just say this' comment ever received.
Facebook for me in recent months has pretty much just resulted in me feeling more sh*t about myself. From career envy, financial envy to life-in-general envy, I was feeling like I wanted out of this media that apparently is social. It's become far less social and far more isolating. We're surgically attached to our iphones, ipads, i-bleeding-everything and I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted from knowing everything right now at this minute. I'm exhausted from the over sharing, the selfies, the online / public displays of affection and down right 'pass the bucket' love. I'm even exhausted from having the internet at my fingertips, on my computer, at my desk, in the space that I work.
I woke up this morning and decided. I decided I was going through this 'friends' list and I was removing everyone who wasn't an actual friend, a family member or someone I engaged with on a regular basis. I still see the value in having connections with those who I don't see on a regular basis, for example those who are creative like myself and who's work I admire. There are some advantages to Facebook, but the crazy over sharing and "Look....look at me and my amazing life!" carry on. Well, that had to end. I'm now more interested in hearing about peoples lives as and when I meet them, in person and not via Facebook and by giving them a like. This time, I prefer to congratulate them with a happy smile, a strong hug and a well meaning sentiment.
Spending about two hours, 'cas Facebook don't make it easy! I widdled 488 down to 96 and a weight lifted. It may sound dramatic, but I'm happy knowing that what I share and what I'll view will be solely for real friends and from real friends. Life is hard enough without having to view the accomplishments, fake or otherwise from those who don't really know you and isn't it more exciting to think that you may bump into some of these former 'friends' at anytime over the next number of years. As for 'yer wan' who likes to comment on my weight and looks, I may just continue to dodge her.