I deleted Facebook about 5 years ago and I have never regretted it. I mean sure, over the years there have been times when not being a part of this seemingly inevitable community has been tough. During uni for example, where making new friends and having thriving social lives are majorly important, and for the majority of my generation Facebook is the key to social success. However I simply don’t see it that way. When I deleted Facebook I wasn’t making a stand or trying to prove anything, I just didn’t need it – simple. At the time Facebook wasn’t quite the same as it is now, and it wasn’t such a big deal. Oh how times have changed!
When meeting new people it is always interesting for me to see how long it takes for them to realise I don’t have Facebook. I recently began a new job and it was exactly 3 days before someone found out my secret. That’s what it feels like sometimes, a big secret. The fact that I have to go through the 3rd degree whenever someone finds out that I do not use this silly social media website! “Why don’t you have Facebook?” “Did something happen?” “There must be reason?” I am constantly bombarded and often segregated because I don’t feel the need to spend my time spying on people through their online photos, and I’m the one who’s strange.
I just think it is wrong that it has become normal to meet someone new and immediately find out everything possible about them via Facebook. Is that absurd? Am I the crazy one? Seriously, I’m so tired of the “I tried looking for you on Facebook last night but I couldn’t find you, are you under a different name?” conversation. No. I don’t have Facebook. The shock on peoples faces when you say those 4 words is phenomenal, and also slightly worrying. That we live in an age when having Facebook is expected of you is really rather sad. People are even more shocked by the fact that I’m 22 and have somehow managed to live my life without Facebook. “But how can I contact you?” Well I have a phone, you could always call me. Failing that there’s text; email; Whatsapp; Twitter; the list goes on. If you really wanted to be adventurous you could send me a postcard – I know.
It’s not that I’m against social media, I see the benefit of it – I do, I just can’t be bothered with the hassle. Unfortunately upon discovering this fact about me most assume I’m anti-Facebook, which I’m not. Sure my partner doesn’t have Facebook either, but all our friends and relatives do, we just choose to live our lives in a different way. I’m willing to admit that I don’t have a lot of close friends, but the ones I do have are like family and I manage to keep up friendships with people all over the world. Because if you want to get to know me, you actually have to get to know me, not just scroll through my uploaded photos.
When I went travelling recently many people encouraged me to get Facebook, and I actually considered it until I thought about it more. Most of the people that wanted me to create an account were people that I’m not close to. The harsh reality is that these people are just downright nosy – and through Facebook it has become completely acceptable to judge and critique others based on their profile. I don’t want to have to prove I’m having a good time by posting pictures of myself, I’d rather be a little mysterious.
Inevitably my picture does end up on other peoples pages and I get the occasional mention, a fact which actually led to me being tracked down by my paternal father a few years ago. He found me through my step Dad’s profile. Is that not wrong? Obviously I didn’t want to be found, but nonetheless someone was able to find information about me and push their way into my life without my consent. The endless power of Facebook.
Facebook is a handy tool, and increasingly annoying to live without. Facebook groups for uni and work are very helpful but surely there’s a better way? A more organic way? Can’t people see that big companies are using this social media platform in particular to gather information on us? In order to sell us things, data collect, track us, and who knows what else? If you want to get in contact with someone you lost touch with years ago; call them, write to them, I promise you will make their day because you made maybe 10% more effort. Don’t be lazy with the people closest to you. I’ll tell you the biggest secret of all, are you ready? Living without Facebook is not hard, you will not die, and you will not lose contact with the people you actually talk to. Shhhhhhh. You may even find you’re happier without the pressure of it. So try it, why not?