Lou re-evaluates her relationship with Facebook. A light-hearted read with serious undertones.
Facebook. You have long been a big part of my life. From ploughing the fields of Farm Town to drunkenly blitzing my friends at Word Challenge at 3am, you shaped a lot of my late twenties. Sure, we had the occasional disagreement – like when you kept showing me my ex as a suggested friend or when you said that I couldn’t be listed as ‘in a relationship’ with Smith’s Salt and Vinegar chips (crinkle cut), but I thought we’d gotten through all that.
You facilitated the stalking of the man who would eventually become my husband when you kept letting me know what social events he would be attending. So helpful, Facebook. So thoughtful. There are only so many times you can say, “Oh my goodness, what are you doing here? What are the odds?!” before you start coming across a little “Fatal Attraction” but you helped me, Facebook. Future Husband is attending “Disgusting and weird gig at 3am at hole-in-the-wall venue in a street you’ve never been to. Attending?” YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS I AM.
You’ve allowed me to really hone in on what has become one of my biggest pleasures in life – the leaving of a ridiculous comment on a serious article. It’s hard to choose my favourite one but I think it would have to have been last year when a woman wrote a question asking what kind of bathing suit she should wear to swimming lessons with her baby and I wrote, “I like to wear bright colours so I’m not mistaken for a peaceful dugong”. I still think about that comment, Facebook. If I need a little boost I sometimes whisper the words “peaceful dugong” into the breeze and am instantly calmed.
So many good times, Facebook. So many happy memories. But I think we need to take a break.
Your immediacy and your constant presence in so many of our lives has led many of us to believe that we have a right, or even a need, to respond to absolutely EVERYTHING and give our personal opinion on EVERY event. You’ve lulled us into thinking that we’re these special snowflakes whose perspectives must be recognised by others and shouted from the rooftops.
You’ve created a world of sancti-mums, Facebook. Parents who feel like they have such a tenuous grasp on their own sense of identity that they need to tear strips off others for the crime of not aligning perfectly with what everyone else is doing. If your comment is starting with the sentence, “So this is just my opinion but….”. Stop. That’s not going to a good place. There is no sunshine at the end of that sentence. No one ever says, “So this is just my opinion but I love you and I want to have sex with you forever and your hair smells like fresh apples”. It’s always going to be a vicious balls up and it makes no difference anyway. No one is reading what anyone else says, we’re all just shouting swear words and vitriol into the void.
I think the issue is, Facebook, that many of us feel confused and stripped of power in our everyday lives. We’re unhappy, we’re dissatisfied, we’re voiceless. Your seemingly innocuous option little blank box at the bottom of shared articles is like a siren singing a sweet song to the bored, hateful, jealous and mean part in each of us and for many it’s too hard to resist.
So Facebook, I guess we’re at an impasse. I love you but this truly is a case of it’s not me, it’s you. I can’t keep allowing these negative voices to bleed out of my phone and into my head. Until you can develop some kind of system that stops people from writing mean comments and engaging in this hateful diatribe I think I’m going to have to bow out. I’ve sketched some plans, if that helps, but it’s mainly cartoon hands coming out of computers slapping people and loud hooting buzzers going off.
I also have a drawing that I did of me doing a cool stunt on a BMX if that might be useful at all.
Actually, I’m keeping that and signing out. Peace.