I joined Facebook in 2007.
Almost 6 years of checking, posting, poking, liking and sharing have passed, and for the most part, they have been fun.
These days however, I’ve noticed that Facebook, and the way people use it, has slowly morphed into something I just don’t really enjoy any more.
In fact, it’s beyond a lack of enjoyment. It’s actually turned into an annoyance. A source of stress in some instances. A source of sadness and anxiety in others.
Why on earth?
Because Facebook is no longer just a place to share what you did at the weekend, what you think of the pint you’ve just been served at your local, or how much you just enjoyed a walk in the woods.
Now Facebook is a soapbox for anything and everything. And I have no real control over my feed (since I do not control my friends), or the statuses I see that I would rather not have read, or over the range of emotions that can be provoked in a 10 minute Facebook check.
More and more over the last few months I find that when I log in and check what’s going on, the whole experience just leaves me feeling irritated.
And I know I am seriously thinking of quitting because I have gradually gone from checking Facebook several times a day, to checking it so infrequently I now get emails that tell me I am missing out.
I haven’t posted a status update for exactly 2 weeks. The only other time I have gone so long without checking in was when I lost my pregnancy last summer (yup, I really have been a total Facebook addict for the last 6 years).
So, here we are. Some of my reasons, in no particular order, are:
- Time. I spend far less time on facebook now than I used to, but it is still a distraction and time-stealer.
- Facebook sponsored posts. There is no way of removing or opting out of sponsored posts for games and corporate offers. I find it intrusive and annoying to have to scroll past them every 5 or so updates.
- Political statements, pro- and anti- campaign links. It can be unsettling to see emotional and vehement posts sandwiched between a wish for someone’s happy birthday and a new album of someone’s holiday snaps.
- Weird privacy rules. When I use facebook on my computer, I get a feed at the right hand side that tells me all of my friends activities on ALL things. So if a friend comments on a non-friend’s job loss, divorce or other tragedy, I can also see the non-friend’s status. Hmm.
- Distressing news. For me personally, I find that I need to avoid a lot of the news because it can be so upsetting. I will cry and not be able to sleep over a child’s death or abuse, so to unexpectedly find this sort of story among humorous posts and pictures is something I do not deal very well with.
- Self promotion and validation. We’re all guilty of this, and in fact I think it is probably the one thing that provokes the most anxiety. Everyone likes a nice photo of themselves, or their family, or their holiday, or their hobbies, but sometimes I scroll through my feed and I can’t help but feel that other people’s lives are somehow shinier, better, more exciting and more glamorous than my own. This is a dangerous thing to be exposed to regularly because a) it simply isn’t true – everyone has their own problems and their own crosses to bear and b) over time it can affect your view of the world and make it seem that you just can’t “keep up”, promoting feelings of inadequacy that tend to find an outlet in over-eating, over-spending and general over-indulging.
For all these reasons (and other less rational issues), I am not really enjoying it at all any more.
Today for example, I scrolled through several rants about abusive family members, a tragic news story, a handful of shared pictures of naked men, some music video links and various comments on Britain’s Got Talent.
Is this really enriching my life?
I am beginning to think it is something I can live without.