When I first joined the team, amidst a conversation about upcoming projects, I was obliged to reveal my non-existence on one of the most hyped platforms of all time - Facebook. To my colleague's surprise, it sounded less and less crazy as I explained why I had dropped off of that particular map. And so, it turned into this little rant/justification. So with that bit of context, here's how I and a few others from around the world wide web see it.
By Dru Patel: Editorial Team, The Cross+ng
'From a pro-Facebook publication'
For some people, the necessity of an object, service, lifestyle only becomes apparent after giving in – the theory of 'you don't need it until you have it'. This is what occurred a few odd years ago (a decade) at school, when after much lamenting my Myspace profile was abandoned for the promise land. It was in some ways a discovery and in others, an uncomfortable realisation. Since then, the reason for leaving behind Facebook has become many.
A social outcast, boring individual and all round weirdo – are the phrases that can come to mind when anyone gets a glimpse of the title. But bear with, if you have gotten this far, as I gather the reasons why I have chosen to not be on this one social media platform and a few honourable mentions taken from the wider web (there isn't a cult to my knowledge) -
- Every person I want to speak to, on a daily basis is in my preferred messaging app (iMessages over here, with WhatsApp), fairly close to the top. As an introvert, I rarely have the need to ask them what they consumed over dinner, or whether they're streaming Girls at the same time as me. But a Shiba Inu opening up shop in Tokyo, now that they have to see.
- I either don't care about birthdays or selectively memorise the ones I have to, through the trauma of growing up in a big household.
- Admittedly, with any new platform, there is a curiosity as to what it may offer and what all the hype is about. So, back long ago when 1 in 15 people knew what an iPod was, I tried it out for a little while. I was tagged in silly photos, read through semi-meaningful Year 11 quotes from The Killers top hits and spied on other Facebook profiles. By the end of the experience, it felt like I knew those I already spoke to just as much I had and knew a little too much about those I had never spoken to, or even made eye contact with. It left me feeling creepy and none the better off. It now lays dormant, under a dusty pile of Farmville requests.
A few top hits for opting out of Facebook, according to the wider web:
- If you wanted to see holiday snaps of your colleagues or friends, while you're slumming it in the constant downpour of London you may be slightly in need of help. And if you did want to do so, we have Instagram where a sense of artistic sensibility is at least forced upon us and can ultimately make us feel good about second-screen voyeurism. Because you know, we're all working on our mood boards.
- The proof – the proof you exist as a human, or that you had dinner, passed a bowel movement or really have a French bulldog called Mignon. Facebook has been touted as the truth teller (along with some other social networks that have fallen prey) and subsequently has become a cesspool for false identities and exuberant lives which really only exist, online. I'll just have to make do with select Solipsism.
- Of course, Facebook is great for chatting – one of their newer additions. But, before that we had text, then data assisted WhatsApp - so why for the sake of 'don't fix it if it ain't broke', would you consider Facebook necessary for this function? A frame of reference for tracking your ex's movements, as you persuade your friend that he's clearly in denial vis-a-vis you – obviously this is why. I'll just shut up now.
- The need to share. Of course, social media in its ability to bring us closer is amazing and is one of the reasons behind our faster, more convenient lifestyles. But when sharing becomes over caring and there is a constant stream of consciousness flooding your timeline, it becomes clear why the only person you follow is your gran, whose account you basically manage.
With all of that complaining and criticism, I've also heard from friends that Facebook is like a diary for some people, a place to share all of their memories, stories, purring kitten vids and travel trails. That's a nice thought to end with, until the next platform rolls around. Till then, rant over.