Archive for September, 2015

A Farewell To Facebook

It’s hard to know where to start with this. Like a break-up, there’s so much that needs to be said. Like a relationship that has soured, I am becoming someone I don’t want to be when I am with you, Facebook. I am unable to distinguish whether I am proud of myself because of certain achievements or I only become proud when I have shown the world the achievement and the world has given me a thumbs-up. Do I feel real pride in myself if there are no ‘likes’? I’m not sure any more. I’m starting to fear that the things I don’t like in the world around me are creeping into my own behaviour. Selfie sticks, statuses that let everyone know I just got home from work and am knackered, a need to photographically record significant moments, a resulting inability to assess what are significant moments and what are simply moments. Moments that probably don’t need sharing.

Because they’re not interesting to anyone else apart from me?

Because they don’t accurately represent my real life?

Because some things should be private?

Because privacy is an alien concept?

I worry about the version of my life that people see if they look at my Facebook. It’s not my real life and I don’t want people to think it is. Although, I don’t necessarily want people to know what my real life does consist of. I feel that in this age of recording obsessively, privacy and reality will be the last vestiges of sanity. In years to come, we will wonder why we needed to tell hundreds of people when we felt ill or excited. It will seem odd, embarrassing. Those momentary bursts of anger that we shared will now exist in the ether forever. Long after we would have moved on, the words we wrote sit there for everyone to see. When we have such an open view into each other’s homes, relationships, children, the space we spend away from Facebook will become the space we most treasure.

Even this post is a puzzle to me. Am I writing it because I really want to leave Facebook or am I writing it because I want people to see me doing it and, thus, in some strange way, admire it, giving me my required dose of outside approval? If I really wanted to leave Facebook, would I be doing it so publicly? I don’t know anymore. Simply being self-aware doesn’t make one immune to the forces that pull us all toward the desire to share.

Is the desire to share a bad thing in itself? I don’t know that either. I only know that something about it doesn’t sit right with my soul. I feel down in my bones that, while I love keeping up with what friends are doing, I sometimes find myself losing vast amounts of hours scrolling down my news feed and this is not a good thing. I’m just scrolling down…. down… down…. Looking…. And I’m not sure what I’m looking for. I never find it. I’m just killing time.

What a ridiculous concept, that I would need to kill time. I’m at a point in my life when I have finally decided to embrace the thing I have always wanted to do, since I can remember ever thinking about it. I am writing. I would like to be a full time writer. For my job.

There. It’s out.

It may go nowhere. You may never hear of my name connected to something that is successful. That’s not really why I’m doing it. I’m doing it because of the need to be honest about who I am and what I want to do.

To become a writer, I need to write. I have things in my head that I am constantly contemplating. I read lots of different books at the same time, to fill my head with as many styles and ideas and words as possible, to develop as a writer. My spare time is spent reading, writing, running, thinking. Or rather, it should be spent doing that.

What am I doing instead? Facebook. I can feel myself wasting my valuable time and I wonder when I’ll realise that the trade-off is no longer worth it. I am distracting myself from the thing I most want in life because I’ve deemed it necessary to share the 17 mile run I just did. The 17 mile run exists, regardless of whether I share it or not. I’m not sure that I truly appreciate this fact.

A holiday is still enjoyable even if I don’t tell anyone it happened. A relationship is still full of love even if I don’t change my status to ‘in a relationship’ online. It is still possible create and leave something behind in the world without the relentless pursuit of an online persona. And if my writing is good, it will still find an audience even if I don’t post a link on my Facebook account.

And so, I have made a decision… I think. I have decided to suspend my relationship with Facebook. We’re taking a break from each other until I have finished what I’m working on. I can no longer justify the Facebook hours while my half-baked ideas go undeveloped and unwritten. If I can think reasonably about you after this break, we might get back together but it might be that we’re better off apart. Let’s see, Facebook. Let’s just see.