At 8:25am this morning I deleted my Facebook account. In this article I have detailed the reasons and perhaps why you should do the same.
Before sitting down to write this article I had to consider the many factors which may come to haunt me in the aftermath. As a student who prides himself by pushing ahead of the social media game, not only leaving Facebook but then negatively writing about it could harm future career prospects. Somewhere stored in a database in the archives of the BBC is written my name with “Facebook Hitler” next to it for Radio Stations to call whenever a negative opinion of Facebook is needed. This piece of writing isn’t exactly concerned with “Why Facebook is bad” but instead “Why Facebook isn’t right for me”. So don’t be fooled by my often cynical, frequently rampant debacle of this social network. Sitting before the PC now is a student who has grown tired of this particular breed of social network. Personally I’ve had enough and if I have written and argued well enough, perhaps you will leave Facebook too.
It all started with a Secondary School student called Shane Murphy who sent the, then considerably rare, “I’ve added you as a friend on Facebook” email. A title to this very day which doesn’t make sense as before 15th April 2007 I didn’t have a Facebook account. Indeed the first time I heard about the network (then called the thefacebook) wasn’t too long after its conception in 2004. At the time I was a member of St Paul’s Church in Cheam and was beginning to get into a scripting language called Hypertext Preprocessor (Check out ‘How Does Facebook Work?’), commonly known as PHP, the same language which binds Facebook together today. Instead of gazing at Facebook as network which would change the world, my friends and I were only interested in the technical aspects of it.
Eventually I joined the network. When I decided to trawl through the emails in my inbox to find the above Facebook registration email I didn’t expect to be treading down memory lane. Since using Facebook I have never switched off email notifications and I found myself gazing at past private messages and wall posts from bygone romances, ex-girlfriends, former friends and colleagues. Such conversations should never be preserved so freshly…
Fictitious Friends, Lost Acquaintances and Stalkers
Any social network blurs the line between friend and contact. The most awful occurrences example this the most such as the death of Simone Back but most the time people live their lives out on Facebook with the feeling that they are being sociable. Facebook has removed the art of actually talking with your friends to find out how they are doing. Nowadays (I’m now beginning to sound like an old man) checking how your friends are doing simply consists of checking their social media profile. I admit this might not just be a problem with Facebook but with social media culture as a whole. However, in my view, Facebook leads the way for this unsociable generation, the Facebook generation. In conversations I found myself not asking my friends what they had been up to recently but instead ‘Oh, I saw your last Facebook status about x y z’. It drives me nuts!
Not only that but I bet most of your friends on Facebook aren’t really friends. They might simply be internet contacts who you are friendly with and added you on Facebook. In many cases Facebook is the network for lost acquaintances, the network which caused Friends Reunited to lose their share of the social network market, the network which gives you the opportunity to get back in contact with the people you never gave a shit about in the first place.
On examination my Facebook contact list features a large amount of people fom Primary School, Secondary School and Sixth Form College. Most of which I don’t have any direct communication with and may never have actually been friends originally. I was simply added because they found me on Facebook and for some reason I accepted their request (probably because I didn’t want to seem rude). Facebook allowed me to still be in communication with them (or gave the illusion thereof) and I could stalk them to my heart’s content.
Don’t think stalking is an activity on Facebook which is exclusive to the strangers, everyone does it. Stalking happens even if you don’t mean to because all of your contacts new photos, statuses, relationships, etc, will appear on the Facebook New Feed. We are all stalkers on Facebook and nobody is left behind.