I Deleted Facebook

... and it Might be Time you did too!

28 MARCH 2017,
Facebook addicted
Facebook addicted

The love affair is over. It’s been a month since I deleted the app on my phone and looking back now I can’t believe just how incessantly I would allow Facebook to invade my privacy. During movies, during lulls in conversation or pretty much the entire time I visited my family and friends, looking at it now I still can’t understand why. Facebook rarely brought me anything interesting or unique and if you go to reddit you can find 99% of the content that your friends post on their Facebook walls around 3 months before they tag you in it.

After the first few days of deleting the app I got a repeated niggling feeling, insisting I was missing out. Now though, I do not miss it in the slightest. Facebook has long since been about keeping in touch with family, sharing pictures and stalking ex-girlfriends (well now that you have stalked them all already) today Facebook is a soulless trench of meme’s, mock outrage, holier than thou bullshit and advertisements. It is just an aggregate of our own blinkered view of the world and this (I seriously believe) helped get Trump elected and also facilitated Brexit, I don’t care what Mark Zuckerberg tells you to the contrary. I guarantee that a large portion of people who voted for these disasters get most of their news from Facebook memes and if it doesn’t fit their blinkered world view then they can simply unlike it, block it or ignore it.

Here's an example of what I am talking about and this happened since I deleted the app. I foolishly logged into Facebook on my computer and randomly got into an argument with a complete stranger that voted for Brexit. They had stated stated “Remoaners” should just shut up, Brexit is what the majority of the country wanted”. My frustration boiled over and stupidly, I bit and went into the comment section armed with a raft of facts that proved their argument was ridiculous.

It said something like this: “When you do the math, it shows that in fact only 27% of the UK voted for Brexit. The other 63% is made up of people who either voted to remain part of the EU, people who abstained, or were part of the 20 Million citizens who were not entitled to vote. It is therefore impossible to say that it’s what the majority of the country wants. It is actually only what the majority of voters wanted (by the tiniest of margins.)”

When presented with my facts (From the BBC website and most recent population count according to Google) The response that I got to my hard researched facts?

“Not Interested.”

They were NOT INTERESTED!... not interested in facts, stats or figures thus immediately proving everything that I needed to prove to myself about Facebook. Facts, figures, experts and the truth are dead. On Facebook you can find a community of like-minded people that fit your narrative and produce handy memes that summarize your world views and simply ignore everything else, nobody needs to look at anything objectively any more. Life is now just aimless scrolling through comments people make, getting wrapped up in the fake outrage, expending energy by getting offended on other peoples behalves and doing all we can to stay wrapped up in our own little world of filtered bliss and bias.

To satisfy my curiosity (and continue this rant that I am on) I am going to give a live, unfiltered description of the last 10 posts on my timeline right now:

  1. A lady that I have spoken to only once in my life, after I met her on a train ride to the same town whom then added me on Facebook has posted a picture of some flowers. Using Facebooks “how are you feeling” drop down, she tells us she is “Feeling Great.” - I probably should have deleted her by now.

  2. A lady has posted in a For Sale group that I am a member of, that she is looking for a “Baby Rocking chair or glider.” - I have no rocking chairs or gliders for baby’s, I can’t help here.

  3. DW News shares a “barley even a story”, story about “Anti-Islam Dutch Politician Geert Wilders.” - I really couldn’t care less.

  4. DW News shares another story about Norwegian Airlines. - I don’t live in Norway.

  5. Digg shares a story titled “What everyone in the world is number 1 at.” Apparently, the UK is number 1 for Billionaires and Lithuania has the world's fastest Wi-Fi. - My life feels more enriched just knowing this.

  6. A friend shares an article from a blog about a doctor who is revealing how to reverse diabetes. - This friend is one of the healthiest people I know, so I’m not sure who that re-post is for.

  7. A friend has shared a snap chat video showing someone using a filter pretending to drown in bed. -

  8. A local band share a video of a recent concert filmed on an iPhone - OK, maybe on another day I might care about this.

  9. DW News... again... This time a story about Transgender bathroom policy issues in the US. - As if there wasn’t enough policies to worry about in America.

  10. The Local Germany share a story about Turkey encouraging teachers to spy in German schools. - Seriously!?

It’s only when you look at it without your rose tinted spectacles that you can see how much of a time waste it truly is. Not only is it all completely irrelevant to our day to day life, it’s not even interesting. I carried on scrolling (out of curiosity) to see how long it would take to find something that did interest me. It took TWENTY-SEVEN posts before I found one that interested me. It was a Digg article about NASA’s recent discovery of Seven Earth-like planets around a single star. 27 posts to find one of merit that actually, I had already read on their website anyway. On Reddit, their front page contains 25 different posts, of which I clicked on Ten, such is the difference in quality.

A little part of me was sad that it has come to this with Facebook, we have been friends for almost 10 years. I first signed up in 2007, I was on a 6-month deployment to Iraq with the Royal Air Force. Many of my fellow service members were logging on night after night to keep in touch with family and friends back home in the UK. I immediately saw how useful it could be.

I added friends I hadn’t spoken to in years, caught up with all kinds of strangers that had been living their lives since we had left school. Ex-girlfriends, friends from clubs, people I had met on holidays, it was fantastic to be this connected. Previous generations had no such luxury, they either stayed physically in touch or confined those people to memory. Now here they were gathered in one place, a click of a mouse away.

I can even trace the birth of my son all the way back to one Facebook comment I made. A friend had posted an old class picture that contained my High School sweetheart. I asked if anyone had heard from her and months later a notification popped up in my window to show she had responded. “Here I am” she said. I immediately added her as a friend, and after 10 years of never haven spoken a word, inside a few weeks a whirlwind romance began that resulted in a pregnancy, a two-year relationship, an engagement and a rather messy breakup ensued.

I used to think that I was using Facebook to keep a diary and record of my life to pass on to my son as perhaps he might’ve liked to look at it when he grew older. But, after reviewing some of my earlier timeline activity I am not sure that this will be the case anymore... it’s rather embarrassing.

I also thought it was neat to have a single place where I could share photo’s trips and activities with friends and family - particularly since I live in a different country to them. But sadly Facebook has changed so much, that I essentially ended up stressed out and worked up over the comments of strangers, getting withdrawal symptoms when not using the app - withdrawal symptoms from what I now realize was just me scrolling past post after post of garbage and advertisements.

But it’s not just me, according to the Independent newspaper nearly half of Millennial’s fear that their addiction to social media is having a detrimental effect on their mental and physical health. Try and go without it for a day, if you can’t, it’s already having a detrimental affect on yours - just like it was on mine.