My Love/Hate Relationship With Facebook

When I logged onto my Facebook account this morning I saw that somebody in my friends list had ‘liked’ this:image

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’.

imageEventually 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:

image1. The Foodies– pictures of everything that they cook and/or eat. Always Instagrammed before posted, just to make their food look that little more special.

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.

imageRegardless of your view on the subject, it’s difficult to ignore the impact that Facebook has had on modern culture and lifestyle. Love it or hate it, it’s not going anywhere soon…

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

113 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship With Facebook

  1. Not much of a Facebook fan, but it does let me keep in touch with family who live thousands of miles away. I get to see photos of them, read a few posts about what they’re up to, and if I want to respond in a personal way, I will email them individually.
    Shameful that so many abuse the WWW soapbox. It used to be that one had to stand on their little podium on a street corner and rant to those few who would listen. Or write a letter to the editor. Most of us today would still walk by such an exhibition without a glance or a listen, unimpressed with the tirades. But many are seduced by the easy and masked comments on FB and waste hours clicking away.
    The soapbox shpiel was usually better written than the drivel on FB. I fear it’s here to stay, with all the tears, insults, and damage it causes.

  2. This was great – so true! I got really frustrated Farmville was big and I had to hear how a lamb crossed into Jane Doe’s pasture 70 times a day. I’ve linked my account to facebook and twitter to get more views but am still very new to blogging.

  3. Reblogged this on ngangaisaac94 and commented:
    This contentions on Facebook unfortunately also extend to religion, which I would say is an infringement of one’s right to appropriate his religion to himself. Nobody really cares if you like then you’re a belieer as opposed to when you don’t then you’re a devil worshipper.

  4. Facebook is like everything else. It’s what you make of it. You can un-friend people without their realizing it. If they say, “Didn’t you see my post about it?” It’s easy to say, “No, I don’t know why.” because Facebook honestly doesn’t show you everything your friends post. Believe me. I’ve tested this theory. You have to actively look for people’s posts by creating a list and putting them on it or watching that stupid little scroll in the right hand corner that no one sees.

  5. For me it is a necessary ‘evil’ in some ways…for friends/family it’s a good way to stay in touch and show pix of kids to family who is back in Italy (while I am in the US)…for work it’s a great way to connect with audiences and people who like/liked my films…having said this, I totally agree with your points (although I am guilty of the pictures one)…#2 is my biggest pet peeve :))
    Great post as always!

  6. You share many of my frustrations with Facebook. I’ve written a load of articles about the insidious nature of Facebook over the past year (you can find them on the blog, if you’re curious) but got to the point where I simply closed the account. I can’t tell you how little I miss it. It’s like losing a stress headache and a ton of useless weight, all in one hit.

    Good post, as ever.

  7. We have found that among the Foodies (your point 1), Singaporeans are likely to play a major role. Many of our friends are from the Lion City and so it strikes us that such photos are mainly posted by them, and much less from our German, Malaysian or different Western European facebook “friends”. While we took this information from my girlfriend’s FB-account I have got one, too, precisely a fake one. Until now I do not wish to get mixed up with Facebook too much. Check the pages of friends or some celebrities here and there is enough; never more than 10-15 minutes per day. In it lies a bit the fear that Facebook could consume too much of my time because it is easy to see that it has got a fascinating aspect.

    Maybe in the near future I should, also with a view to blogging and yes, it may be a medium to restart old friendships again.

  8. I loved your article and how you describe all the different categories of people!! It made me laugh so much. As far as my feelings about facebook… I’ll just say this. “Shakespeare said once, ‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.’ Shakespeare must have belonged to Facebook.” Because that’s what Facebook does to you, it makes you preform for others and it makes you watch the people around you as well. Wither you mean to or not, you market yourself in a tiny prepack bit of micro space. And in my opinion, people are just way too complex for that. (I wrote a long blog article on this topic myself lol. Glad I’m not the only one!)

  9. I’ve also thought about deleting my account several times, but it has never worked. Right now I’m fine with it though. I’ve gotten a bit more active than usual. I don’t share my blog posts however because they are rather personal and I don’t need the 300+ “friends” I have on Facebook to be so familiar with me. I have kept my blog anonymous for a reason.

  10. Terminated.

    I will never EVER use Facebook again. Why? Several examples on your list are relatives, who then pretend that I don’t even exist. No thank you. Oh, I’ll find out about what’s happening with them, courtesy of my father. If he didn’t bother? Full on whistling in the dark, no clue, as in, they can’t be arsed to contact me. Even on Facebook, they still tended to pretend I didn’t exist.

    Last thing I heard from my father? One of my cousins chewing out my father over a misunderstanding.

    No, no, no, thank you. I’ve got enough family dysfunction without virtual enhancements.

  11. It took me a while to open a facebook account. I’ve been a booker for about a year and a half. During that time, I’ve seen every number on your list and then some. I’m not to the point of deleting or even disabling it. But I don’t post as often as I used to because I finally realized that what I want to do is write. That’s why I resumed blogging. There’s even a post about my first year on facebook. (Not sure about the linking protocol) Even my son told me my posts were too long; and that I needed to start a blog. I’m not amused by the crazy photos, moved by many of the pitiful ones, or enticed by the foodie ones. I’m just over it.

  12. I used to use Facebook to relentlessly ‘stalk’ my children (I joined before they did, then invited them so I could do just that 😉 ) but either they’ve cottoned on or they are also bored with the whole idea because I hardly see stuff from them any more. We all live on different continents, it’s an easy way to stay sort of connected.
    All those ‘friends’ I hardly know – I added them to the acquaintances list and set my default posting to ‘friends except aquaintances’. (Oh. Perhaps that’s what my children have done to me?!) I have also unfollowed more than half of my friends. That way I don’t have to see all the rubbish they post but I haven’t offended anyone by unfriending them.
    Great post!

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