I sighed and continued to scroll. This is my main annoyance with Facebook – silly groups and memes that are created to guilt teenagers into ‘liking’ a post. At the risk of sounding old, teenagers don’t realise how different life was before Facebook. If I wanted to contact my friends when I was a teenager there were only two ways of doing so: a phonecall to their landline or a handwritten letter. If they were out, I had to wait until they returned.
We got the Internet when I was 17. It was a new thing to my sisters and I – I had passed GCSE IT but the most complicated thing that I had to do was wait for five minutes while the dial-up connection worked and then send an e-mail. To be honest, I wasn’t particularly interested in most aspects of computer based things and aside from attempting to use a few chat rooms, which I didn’t understand, I ignored it.
I’ve been on Facebook since 2007, along with half a billion others. In its original state it was unique in that it allowed us to connect with people from our past and we were able to do silly things like ‘poke’ each other or throw sheep. However, over the years it has changed dramatically and I think there is now a sense of distrust after many issues with privacy settings and advertising. The concept still remains the same though – tell everybody everything about everything and put up pictures to prove it.
When I first activated my account I added everybody that I’d ever met – people from primary school that I hadn’t seen in 20 years, people that I went to secondary school with, people that I used to see occasionally on nights out, people I worked with… At one point I had about 400 ‘friends’.
Eventually I came to my senses and embarked on a massive ‘cull’. I worked out that out of the 400 people, I actually only spoke to 30 of them regularly, and out of that 30, I only saw 15 socially. The people that disappeared over the years did so for a reason – we weren’t ‘friends’ to begin with and we never actually spoke after we’d added each other. However, this presented an issue I hadn’t previously needed to consider – offending somebody. It’s easy to remove a person that you’re unlikely to bump into, but it becomes more difficult when you have similar friendship circles and there is a chance that you may be expected to see them occasionally because of your mutual associations. For example, I have a ‘friend’ on Facebook because we once went away on a weekend together to celebrate our friend’s 30th birthday. She’s actually very nice and I don’t dislike her at all, but we haven’t spoken since we returned from the trip eighteen months ago. However, I don’t feel that I can remove her because there is a strong chance that we are going to see each other again in the future, and I don’t wish to offend, which seems a ridiculous notion for a 32 year old woman.
Facebook users can generally be put into different categories:
2. The Attention Seeker – status’s such as ‘well that’s that then’, obviously hoping to prompt someone to ask “what’s happened?”. Why can’t they just just state what the matter is in the first place?
3. The Pointless – usually consists of useless information: ‘it’s cold’, ‘waiting for a bus,’ ‘today I’m doing nothing’…
4. The ‘Honeymooners’ – recently in a relationship. Usually consists of ‘he’s so wonderful’, ‘just been out for a romantic meal’, ‘I love watching him sleep’. Always followed by pictures. This is made even worse if you know both parties as your news feed is then bombarded with double of everything.
5. The Wannabe Football Managers – comment on every move their team makes.
6. The Drunk – ‘I’m so p*ssed’, ‘off to the pub’, ‘it’s wine o’clock’. Fake drunken writing. Usually followed by ‘I’m never drinking again’ the next morning, and ‘in the pub’ in the afternoon.
7. The Drama Queens – these use Facebook to have a go at anyone that has ever offended them because they don’t have the nerve to say things to their face.
8. Too Much Information – ‘I just had a huge dump,’ ‘I’ve got a massive spot on my face,’ ‘My dog has just puked on the floor’…
9. The Troll – likes to write things to deliberately to wind people up.
10. The Animal Lover – endless pictures of their pets.
11. The Parent – endless pictures of their children. Little Billy smiling. Little Billy covered in chocolate. Little Billy dribbling.
12. The Cause Campaigners – posts and shares every heartbreaking news story that they can find, often including pictures of abused children and animals.
I’m guilty of lots of these, particularly number three and number ten. However, I’m lucky to have rather amusing friends who often post interesting or witty status’s that make me smile. For example, a small selection from yesterday was:
‘Tonight sees Mr Dynamic falling asleep on the sofa again.’
‘It feels like I’m still wearing a hat.’
‘Popcorn… Perfect food for a drummer’.
‘Eww, probably best I don’t wear flip flops next time my son needs an emergency wee wee in the car park.’
I’ve thought about deleting my account on more than one occasion. I’ve seen the very worst that Facebook has to offer – pictures of dead children, animal slaughter and embarrassing images of drunken people in compromising positions. However, despite the huge amount of negative press it receives I am finding it difficult to move away from social networking. It has allowed me to maintain friendships, re-start old friendships and I have the opportunity to see more of my friends lives than I usually would, particularly when they share photographs of their day. I have also been brave and shared a few posts from my blog with them, which has surprised some of them as most weren’t even aware that I had a blog to begin with. They’ve been very supportive and complimentary, and my number of views has increased dramatically because they’ve been kind enough to share my ramblings with their friends.
What about you guys? What’s your relationship with Facebook? Do you share any of your posts with your friends?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog