Everyone in the virtual world should read this http://www.overthinkingit.com/2010/05/13/why-i-left-facebook/. Go and do it now, and then come back here and you'll hopefully be in the right mood to read my take on the topic.
So here's a thing that I used to say all the time, but recently have actively avoided mentioning because it reveals my secret identity as super-hypocrite:
I fucking hate Facebook.
I honestly, really do. There are a number of reasons why, but it's mostly just because Facebook is really very boring. Looking through my 'news feed' I see a massive jumble of photographs of other people's nights out*, mindless 'groups' with no purpose other than the shitty joke/'quirky' habit that everyone fucking has in the title, and detached, badly spelled one liners about whatever that individual has done so far today. And there comes a point when you realise that you really just don't care about any of this, even a little bit. But even though I'm well aware of this, I've still 'liked' two of those updates and commented on a third. And put another one of my own up, using the same quote that I wrote in the footnote of this page. Why? Because social networking sites have convinced me that I need to constantly do these things to remind my friends that I'm still alive and mentally functional. And also because I'm a sick, empty, ridiculous man who just wants some attention.
So I'm stuck in this ridiculous paradox where I actively loathe the thing I willingly spend copious amounts of time taking part in.
And I want to delete my Facebook. I really do. I want to follow in the footsteps of the writer of the above link and live a life without Facebook (although I'd also get rid of myspace and continue never getting twitter). But I can't. I'm a full blown Facebook addict. Even now I have a separate tab open with Facebook in it. I have a Facebook app on my desktop that tells me when I have messages and friend requests. When I'm not in sight of a computer I will use Facebook on my mobile. And throughout this entire piece I have been giving Facebook a capital 'F' that it surely does not deserve.
And it truly is an addiction. As much as I want to delete my Facebook and live a life without social networking, the thought of actually doing so terrifies me. I start to justify using it to myself. "How will I know when someone's planning a party or a night out?", "How will I know if something major happens to someone I know?"**, "What if I lose all my friends because I'm not able to contact them as easily on a daily basis?" etc. And of course it's all ridiculous, but it's easier to believe that than it is to admit that I have a severe, retarded problem.
I think back to when I first got Facebook and why, after months of restraint, I finally gave in and signed up. I got it because 1) I was living in Hong Kong at the time, 6000 miles away from everyone I knew, and I really did need a way of keeping in contact with my friends, and 2) because my girlfriend signed me up. That was a year and a half ago. In a year and a half, Facebook's been through three redesigns, groups have turned from being sorts of clubs you were part of to being the unholy mess of retardedness that we have now, I've gained 156 friends, 153 photos of me have been uploaded, and I've been reduced to a pathetic mess who needs to check his page several times a day.
I want to delete my Facebook profile. But I also want to drop out of university, move to a different country, leave everything behind and travel the world. But there's too much keeping me home, and too much keeping me on Facebook.
One day I will delete my Facebook profile. And on that day I shall begin a new and better life. But for now, I shall continue to be an unhappy addict, and I shall post the hypocritical link to this piece on my Facebook page.
*As Dennis Reynolds says in the very first episode of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia': "If I'm not in any of them and nobody's having sex, I just don't care."
**By this I mean if someone ends up in the hospital or goes to live in Uzbekistan, not if someone pulls the hot girl behind the bar. Actual important things.