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. A excellent line-up of typical Facebook users. I unfriend those who are in categories two and six. I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, and I only use it to communicate with family and friends – real friends. I have less than one hundred people on there, but I know them all. I would cancel my account, but like you, I find it invaluable for keeping up with friends all over the globe. My post yesterday was: “Closing my eyes and wriggling the end of my nose in vain. House still looks like Chernobyl”. Not sure which of your categories I fall into.

  2. Good post 🙂 I loathe FB for similar reasons but then love the aspect that helps me keep in direct touch with family in places like the Isle of Man or use it to promote blog posts. I resent the guilt posting, especially the cancer ones as my dad had it and those posting the 99% of you who dont share this want people to die of cancer etc etc type of posts are only doing so to make themselves feel better. if they cared that much they would be volunteering in a hospice or out raising funds not sitting on their backsides using an extension of childhood peer pressure and in some cases bullying to justify their own inactivity. The others that get to me are the deliberately ambiguous or enigmatic posts like “Fucked Off now” hoping some one will say “PM me Hunxxxxx” or the other posts saying “I`ve deleted you as a friend you two faced bastard” i guess irony can be pretty ironic at times. You’ve started me off now, i`m off to Facebook to vent my splee 😉

    • I’m finding that the adults are worse than the kids at the minute! I had to deal with something at work recently wher two kids had fallen out and it escalated because one of the parents messaged a kid and threatened them on Facebook!

      • Thats crazy behaviour, but you are right the adults are the worst. Apparently many kids are leaving FB because the olds are on there, I wonder how much of that is down to the perception of it being uncool, parents being able to monitor or just bad/embarrassing parental behaviour

      • That’s really interesting – I heard that the adults were defecting to Twitter because of the amount of kids on there… Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?

      • Twitter mainly as there are so many different articles to come across. Not a lover of FB but it has its uses when it comes to distant family and blogging but there are associated social problems that come with both. Twitter if i had to choose one or the other.

  3. Face I detest with a passion, I was there at the beginning, then because of stupid ideals, ideas and downright crap I closed my account, 6 months ago under pressure from friends and family I opened a new one, it lasted 3 weeks before I closed it and now I am Facebook free and I love it.
    Facebook is a breeding grounf for hatred, racism, homophobic thugs, I have to find a reason for Facebook to fill my life.
    Society says I must have Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp I have the the last two but wild horses will not get me back on Facebook.
    While I was on FB the first time I had 200+ people who called me their friend, people who I didn’t even know, friends of friends of friends of friends just because like a photograph I posted. A friend is some one you know personally, some who knows your date of birth without looking it up, knows your family, your secrets (well most of them) will give you a real hug when your in need of one, has your back at all times, lend you money when your skint, get drunk with you and then pushes you home in a supermarket trolly. Not one single person on my Facebook who calls me their ‘friend’ would do that.
    Like you Suzie I hate those groups with a passion the ability to form hate groups should be removed, like the one in your post that has gone beyond a Les Dawson mother in law joke and it advocates murder and there are people with mental illnesses could follow the advice, if groups where germs, I have a toilet bowl that has less germs.
    If an organisation allowed the racist and hate messages to be broadcast to the world 24/7 365 days a year would be shut down and the owners jailed, but FB allowed the supporters of the killers of Lee Rigby to broadcast their hate messages. I have been omline for nearly 20 years and its gone from being a great place to hang out, to a cesspit full of human trash and Facebook is fliating in the middle flying its flag to welcome its members and then to spread irs vile message.
    Facebook is a sick dog and like a sick dogs should be put down.

    • ‘Facebook is a sick dog and like a sick dogs should be put down.’

      Absolutely love this sentence Pete – brilliant way to sum it up.

      Hope you’re doing well!

      • I am fine today thanks, been having a problem with my balance, I have been fine sitting still but moving or laying down felt like I have had half a bottle of vodka even to the point of being sick, just something I have to live with, it will eventually calm down. We took the girls to see the Lego Movie yesterday,they loved it and I loved it, the wife hated it lol, four of us, 2small cokes, 2 small popcorn cost us £31 and the call it bargain Tuesday, plus its a 70 mile round trip to our nearest cinema its a expensive day out, but worth it for the time with the girls 🙂
        I do hope you are getting better, nothing worse then being ill and stuck at home, even more so on your own.
        You will soon be well enough to get vack to work. 🙂
        Thank you for the compliment on my sick dog 🙂

  4. Laughing at ‘It still feels like I’m wearing a hat’. Facebook: where you want to laugh and punch yourself in the face with frustration at the same time.

  5. I originally had everyone from school. Then I realized that some were kind of bigoted about certain things, so I dropped them. Eventually I dropped anyone who didn’t know how to contact me outside of FB.

    Now I have a lot of friends I have met online, but again, they are the ones I trust just as much as the people I met offline.

    As far as blog posts, I set up a separate page (finally) for people to subscribe to, but when I share a post on my personal page I restrict the audience (no kid, no former coworkers).

  6. Great post and so true. I have to admit I have nearly 1,000 Facebook friends thanks to a combination of my work as a local journalist and university – I don’t have the time, or the inclination, to filter through and delete the ones I don’t speak to but it does mean there are a lot of them who do fall into these groups. But I can’t help but enjoy reading about peoples’ lives, whether gruesome or annoying.. The one thing that really astonishes me over Facebook is that it is a first point of call for so many. Lately at work there has been a crazy amount of sudden deaths of young people for a variety of reasons – it amazed me to see that for each the first thing that made us aware of them was a tribute page on Facebook. One family even created an event for a funeral and wake of a girl who committed suicide! Seems absurd to me, but has become the norm now. I like to keep the personal to myself and keep things light and breezy online – but I do post a lot through my blog/Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr and now my blog’s Facebook page..

  7. Brilliant post. I loved this and very well said. I do share your love hate relationship with social media in general. I also have a Twitter account which continues to grow but I rarely use. I keep telling myself that one day I will make a point of working out what to do with it and using it more because more and more people seem to be deserting Facebook for Twitter. There is also a school of thought that Google + could rival Facebook in the long term. Not sure on that though. But the number of social media sites that we sign up to for work purposes is truly ridiculous. It is impossible to keep up with them all. Thanks for this, really enjoyed it. 🙂

  8. Great post and I have to say that i know a few. My exp[experience on Facebook has been very ordinary. I have a number of friends and I can honestly say that I know every one personally. People send me requests to ” Friend” them and mostly I don’t. Some I have friended I unfriend. I figure if they want to come on my page they want to talk to me. If I talk to them and they ignore me, I remove them. I think I have much less that 100 friends but I know them all and during the course of the week I will meet a number of them.

  9. This is a very interesting post. I don´t share everything i do on facebook, I don´t even share my blog. I use it mainly to get in touch with people. I saw and add the other day saying something like “Facebook, destroying relationships since 2001” and i thought it was very true. I support the concept of the social network but it has many huge down sides to it. People actually meet their friends in a coffee shop or a bar but don´t talk to each other, they spend that time on their phones updating their status to “Hanging on the pub… doing nothing”! Not to mention the jealous boyfriends and girlfriends making scenes over a “like”!

  10. I can relate with the love/hate FB thing. I found it curious that as time went on, people that I went to school with and had not communicated with in any form or shape with me while at school were suddenly asking me to add them as friends. Out of sheer curiosity, I’d add them, and after having only one initial chat with them, they never bothered afterwards. So I deleted them all. End of story.
    Then it was the overseas relatives. They requested I add them to my friends list after discovering that I was my brother’s sister. I didn’t know these people. I didn’t know who they were, and yet, we’re all related, because my brother had met them when he was oversees, and I confirmed with him if he knew these people or not. Once again, after an initial chat, nothing came of it, so I deleted the bulk of them and kept some others. Even so, I’m considering deleting them too because of their insistent game playing such as Farmville, and nothing more. I hide that stuff from appearing on my timeline, and I have moved all of my relatives into an “acquaintance folder” which prevents my seeing any of their stuff unless I open that folder to view it.
    In terms of numbers of FB friends I’ve culled back from having approx. 70 people down to 30 odd. I’m only keeping my account active because my kids are on it, otherwise, I would’ve deleted my account long ago.

    • I did exactly the same with what you described happened with your school friends. I’ve also been gobsmacked that some of these requests came from people who hadn’t been very nice to me at school – why would I want to talk to them now!

  11. I feel the need to apologize to my friends after seeing how many of the categories I fit, especially 3 and 11. I hate that I love facebook, but I do. I think I’m a junkie. I totally use it to share my blog with my friends, too. I’m not going to tell you how many “friends” I have….including the ones I have not seen since primary school. 😉

  12. I “cull” my friend list about 2x a year. Went from over 300 down to about 90-100. Could easily cut that list in 1/2 but would offend (like you mentioned) people I would actually run into.

  13. I have 74 friends at the current moment, down from 90 something. For me, FB is where I socialize, because I rarely go out anymore. I just try to keep my nose clean, and only share Memes that I find funny.

      • Having lived with unwanted drama ever since I was nine years old I discovered that not only giving face book the boot but ending most of my so called friendships and relationships with my family was fairly easy and quite rewarding.

      • I fell out with certain family members on Facebook and shut down Facebook, no hassle, no crap, no heartache. If they want to find me they have my phone number, I have a much better life without them in it. Its not sad Suzie its just a peaceful way of living 🙂

  14. There are a lot of things about Facebook I dislike, but Facebook is how I stay in touch with most of my bloggy friends. We IM day and night. It’s our main means of communication. Plus, we get to see pics of each other’s children and what not. The pros outweigh the cons, but not by much.

  15. I’ve gone through several phases with Facebook. I joined in 2006/7-ish, much like you, when it was still organized by college, and you had to have a college e-mail address at a college that FB recognized to use it. In its current form, I’m not terribly surprised that it seems the younger generation is ignoring FB’s existence in favor of other types of social media. I’ve deactivated, reactivated, added many friends, cut down to a few, etc. The things that people post…Man, they just amaze me.

  16. My daughters went on facebook before I even knew about it, after all, I’m old. My youngest, insisted I join, I ignored her for a few weeks. Finally everyone I knew started telling me I needed to get online and join since they were all friends of my daughter and she lived across the country and that way I could keep in touch with her. I finally caved. I don’t mind facebook. I have found friends from childhood, high school, and good friends from our days in the Navy. It has brought about good conversations and friendships renewed or actually started that I would not change now. I am one of those who reads more than posts, although, I tend to share many photos of my grandson after my daughter posts them… but, I figure I have looked at enough grandbaby photos in my life and so now it is my turn!! Great post today!

  17. I have zero problems with Facebook itself, and I like having it. I think Facebook is all in how you use it. 80% of my friends are family members who are long distance who I can keep in touch with via the site. The rest are the few friends I like to stay updated with, even if we don’t directly chat all the time. We occasionally comment on each others statuses etc, and I like to know how they’re doing and vice versa. Have I had the annoying constant posters and guilt getters? Of course. Some have even been family. But that’s easy enough to fix by turning off their posts from my feed.
    I honestly get slightly annoyed when people complain they ‘hate Facebook’ or think ‘it’s so stupid’ – which people do all the time! Then don’t use it. No one is making you after all haha! I love what I get out of it – a way to stay in touch with friends and family.

  18. Wow. A lot of people have a lot to say about this. I’ll keep it brief.

    You hit the nail on the head with this. Period. I’m still chuckling. Cheers!

    Regards,

    Chris
    Facebooking since 2004. (Ha! That’s a scary thought…)

  19. I really admire how you write, especially on this subject. It is very easy to read, flows well and intelligent. I know so many people who actually post to face book saying that are “over the drama, im about ready to delete my face book for real!” and i always think… then where will you post about how much you hate everything? haha! I did like how you wrote the different categories of FB users. They are very accurate and I am most defiantly numbers 3,4, and 10, because I do completely adore my husband, my animals and i cant help but every once in a while post how much ” I love doing nothing.” My reaction to face book is I use it how i want to use it, and I do love posting pictures of how cute my dog is every ten minutes. If other people hate it well thats perfectly okay with me!

  20. I think you have managed to summarise what most people seem to think. I came away from FB as I was the victim of a Drama Queen, my sister in law!! After about 6 years I came back on as it is the only way a lot of people communicate now. I’d call for a chat, to find out they’d missed the call as on FB. On the plus side, I have realised, through FB who my real friends are. They are the ones that I would share by blog with. They are the ones who use FB to organise getting together. The others are people I ‘know’ well but really have nothing in common with.

  21. I’m No 2, 6 and twelve. This is a freakin’ ace post! Thingy is mad at me because I deleted her as a friend but she’s a friend of a friend of my mate and I only say happy birthday to that mate because FB told me to and I haven’t actually seen her for 18 months since that dudes party… Sorry, wedding.

  22. I don’t do Facebook anymore. Closed my account for personal reasons about four or five years ago, and haven’t considered opening a new one since. Honestly, I don’t even know how to use Facebook anymore. I also don’t use Twitter…but I have been thinking about opening that one. I have Google+, but I have yet to figure out how to use it properly.

    As one of those “wow, I’m clueless about how to use this technological whats-it-called thing, and oh shoot, my computer crashed when I pushed that button I’ve always been curious about” types, it is probably better that I don’t use social networks. I would probably inadvertently cause all kinds of problems.

  23. I can relate to this post. I have to say that I know, but do not really talk to most of the people on my friends list. Of course, I use facebook to promote my website too. Those memes that tell you to like or share them drive me nuts. I won’t like or share them just on principle LOL

    Note: Playful Kitty has moved to http://www.playfulkitty.net . You can still follow using your WordPress.com reader, but you need to stop by and click the little blue button on the side bar. Thank you!

  24. Excellent description of Facebook !! And I agree completely. It’s a love/ hate relationship here too. I check I’m amused. I’m annoyed. But I still need to look at it.

  25. Spot on analysis. My husband and I deleted our account just over 2 years ago because of some of those users as well as Facebook privacy issues. Don’t miss the drama at all. It leaves me out of some giveaways but…no worries!

  26. Speaking of Facebook, your experience and feeling and mine are really alike. I’m think to deactivate my account too but it’s quite hard for me to leave Facebook because of its advantage over downside.

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  28. I like being able to keep in touch with friends at a distance, I like that I have re-connected with a few folks who I likely would never have re-connected with otherwise.
    I don’t like having to wade through all sorts of re-post of inspirations sayings with pretty backdrops, or re-posts of political ideology (even those I agree with, but especially those that I don’t agree with!) to get to the interesting posts. I’d like a button on fb that let me see posts ONLY IF the person posting had actually typed something him/her self.

    • I went through a phase of memes, but I’ve calmed down on that now. I love the amusing comments that my friends write, but the ones who keep posting pics that are awful are beginning to get on my nerves…

  29. Interesting/funny/sad Facebook moment: a few years ago I got a friend request from a family member. I added them, and later I liked a Billy Connelly video on YouTube. The family member deleted me as a facebook friend, not because they objected to the video, but because they were afraid someone else might object. They told me it wasn’t in their interest for people to know that we were related, but we could still be friends in real life!

    Twitter is interesting. It seems people follow others on Twitter to try an increase their own number of followers. I tweeted a poster I’d made for a book. The poster was a quote that said “I am the Lord your God, and I will smite you untill are smitten!” The next thing I knew I was being followed by fundamentalist Christians. Did they even read the tweet?

    It’s a funny old world.

    Great post as always, Suzie.

  30. You summed it all up, Suzie. And had me laughing while you were at it. I am guilty of 11. She’s just so dang cute. Ha! The Attention Seeker is my least favorite. In fact, I’ve taken to ignoring them altogether. If you don’t want to tell me what’s wrong right off the bat, I’m not going to ask. A little cold perhaps, but I don’t have time for that immature nonsense. It seems I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook as well and have even considered deleting my account several times. I much prefer Twitter because there’s less drama and more wit. Fun post, lovely! xo

  31. Had the same issues. Tried Restricted list. Too much admin involved into managing this. Unfriended lots of people. Questions and sad messages. Closed account, reopened anonymously and am friends with less than 10 people. Works just fine! For everyone else- Linkedin and Twitter and email.

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  33. Reblogged this on Glen Fahselt and commented:
    An interesting read. The categories section should be enlightening and humorous for any regular Facebook user and the comments that follow illustrate just how people react to content that annoys them. Enjoy!

  34. Great discussion in the comments!

    I had facebook for two or three weeks. After I hit my limit for Mafia Wars and Farmville requests, and Zuckerberg very publicly explaining how little he cared about my privacy, I deleted my account.
    Now I often forget I was ever there.
    I’ll stick with my blog, and twitter for general potato-headishness. On twitter, the more of a pezhead you are, the better. I fit right in! 😉

  35. Do you remember the song “Can it be that it was all so simple then, or has time re-written every line?” I started with ICQ and in those far off and forgotten days, the internet was fun. Chat rooms were fun. I started getting up in the wee small hours of the morning because my oldest sister still lived in Scotland and I was able to talk to her – dail-up. dropping out and having to re-dail – but part of the fun was that when you did that the friends you were chatting to before you dropped out always had a friendly “welcome back”. Yes, you are right, the early days of Facebook were fun. I have fewer than 60 friends – all of whom I know. I have had requests from others and I am very selective on who I add. I have had requests from people who are total strangers – which is very odd. People I have added over the years I have deleted mainly because I was silly enough to think they wanted to talk to me and when they just didn’t reply or they made some weird comment about something I had said, – “goodnight and goodbye” Facebook has advantages and disadvantages and for me, at the moment, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. If that should change, I will have no hesitation about terminating my account.

  36. I went through my friends list last year and deleted probably 300 people. They included people I just did not like… obvious drug addicts that only post about how much they want to get high or need someone to get high with… people who post annoying things like a whole list of what they are going to do throughout their entire day every day.. and then a few once friends that I never talk to. One of these friends messaged me literally minutes after I deleted her saying she wanted to ask me something about my job but then realized we weren’t friends for some reason. Of course I didn’t believe it but like a nice long island brat I wrote her back saying that I was going through my friends list and deleting people I never talk to.. she said something slightly offensive which I ignored and I wrote back asking her why she was mad… its just Facebook. She proceeded to tell me she wasn’t mad. So I then said ok good. What did you want to know about my job? She told me to forget it and she would ask someone she is “friends” with.

    Still don’t understand why this was such a big deal. =/

  37. Great post Suzie! I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, so this really hits the nail on the head.

    Although I’ve often thought that this online behaviour says less about Facebook as a tool, and more about the sort of friends we keep…

    Either way, a good Facebook cull is ALWAYS warranted in my opinion!

  38. Love your descriptions of typical facebook users I really laughed going through them! I can totally picture each and every one of those people on my newsfeed and I know what you mean about getting annoyed with it all!
    I’ve thought about deleting my Facebook on more than one occasion but I’ve found that I need it for the groups for organizations I’m involved with because many people use it as their only form of communication! How annoying!

    Alyssa

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