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My relief at leaving Facebook

Just over a month ago I decided to give Facebook a try. As is well documented on this blog, I have never liked the idea of it and have managed to not do Facebook for years. But as a PR person who likes to think they can give clients good advice on ALL media, I felt that I should give it a try. Egged on by GemGriff, who successfully uses her account for business, I took the leap….

But all my fears have been realised. I won’t go through every thing I don’t like about it but here’s a few…

(1) During set-up, I tapped one button too many on my phone and ended up importing my phone contacts (a complete accident) and next time I logged on was asked if I wanted to be friends with my daughter’s childminder (as well as a load of other people including the plumber). I really like my childminder, she’s brilliant, but I have no wish to see pictures of her on a night out. Call me conservative but I would rather think that she stayed in of an evening reading books on child development and learning new crafts to share with the children. Now of course, I could just not look – but I can’t resist. This is part of my problem – it has the potential to waste hours of my time and I don’t even enjoy it. I am just too curious.   

(2) The people I am in touch with today are the people I want in my life. I phone them, text them, FaceTime/Skype them, email them, IM them, sometimes even write them a letter and I try to see them as much as I can. There are, admittedly, people who I would like to see more of but again, I have their telephone numbers and all it needs is a little more effort. But there are others who I don’t want to see or hear from – they aren’t of interest to me anymore. BUT, when Facebook presents a window into the past I am someone who can’t help but take a peek. And I don’t like that side of me. Perhaps some people can resist sneaking a look at an old enemy or colleague to see how their life or career panned out but I can’t. Again, time-wasting.

(3) It got to the stage that when a friend invitation came through it was actually stressing me out trying to decide how to deal with it – I wanted to keep the page professional but what happened when family members asked to be friends – I like my family and don’t want to offend them. People were popping up that I immediately wanted to decline but was worried that was rude (GemGriff did offer excellent advice on how to deal with this but I couldn’t make it work for me). On top of that there were constant suggestions of people to connect with that could only have been found via looking at my connections of other sites – all a bit creepy for me.

(4) The launch of timeline is something that compounds every fear I had about Facebook and watching the third episode of Black Mirror last night just reminded me of this even more: The best memories and the ones worth holding onto will stay with you. Poring over old ones that you have forgotten is unnecessary, sometimes dangerous and occasionally upsetting. There is no need. Some things I will write down, in a diary or a baby book, but I don’t need to share them with the world and I certainly don’t need other people contributing to my memories, or reminding me of things that I have chosen to forget.

(5) I’m too private. I don’t want to post pictures of my family online for everyone to see, and have actually asked friends and family not to put pictures of me of my family on the Internet. I know some will end up there, that is life in the digital age and I have to accept that but if I can control a little then I will. I also don’t need to share every moment of my life. I tweet a bit but it’s more personal than family and I don’t chart my every movement, event or meal. 

So there it is, a tiny snapshot into why Facebook isn’t for me… I know some people love Facebook and that’s brilliant. I have no problem with it as a site. I realise that might be surprising given the above but it’s horses for courses and if it works for you then that’s great. But it doesn’t for me.

On a professional level, I can check in now and again to see the developments and ensure I know what it offers to brands. I can connect with journalists via other networks (or the phone) and I can keep abreast of industry issues via Twitter and Google+. So it is a thanks, but no thanks to Facebook. My page was deleted last night and in 14 days will disappear forever. And I feel a whole lot less anxious now I am back to not doing Facebook. 

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