GUEST POST > Emma Cossey
I’ve been thinking about it for a while. The writing is on the wall. Our relationship has felt toxic for over a year now, and I’m just not feeling the love.
I want to dump Facebook.
Facebook and I have had a strained relationship for a while. On the one hand, it’s my bread and butter – I teach small businesses how to use social media, and run social media campaigns. I still believe it has strength for business use. On the other hand, I find it an increasingly negative place to be on a personal basis. There seems to be a vast difference in the way people communicate on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Twitter is a great place to have discussions and debates, Google+ is informative and wonderfully geeky, while Facebook is a little…. whiney. People are either moaning, making passive aggressive jabs at others or telling everyone how in love they are. It’s not exactly an inspiring place to be. That’s not to say it’s entirely uninspiring. I have a collection of friends in the digital industry who do share interesting things. Those interesting things just happen to be sandwiched between someone slagging off their baby daddy and another person sharing the fifth photo of their little bundle of joy that day.
So, I’ve played around with the idea of quitting Facebook. But here’s the thing: it’s not just as simple as hitting the delete button. There are several reasons why it’s tricky:
- I use it for business, so I still need some form of account to access all the pages.
- All my photos are on there, as well as those I’m tagged in, so I need to download them all.
- I rely on Facebook to know when people’s birthdays are. God, I’ll have to start being organised!
- People take it as a personal attack when you delete your account.
That last point is ridiculous but quite true. When I voiced my thoughts about quitting Facebook recently, someone commented “Why, what have I done?” That pretty much sums up the problem with Facebook.
Delete or rejig?
So, it’s tricky to have a clean break from Facebook. For the moment, I’ve come up with the following solutions:
- Delete the people I really don’t want to be friends with. The Cull.
- Those people you can’t delete but don’t want to see (embarrassing aunts, annoying partners of your friends etc), change the settings so you only see the really important statuses. You can do this by clicking on the arrow next to their latest status and hitting ‘hide’. You’ll then get two options, “Change what updates you get from ******” and “Organise who you see in News Feed”. Firstly, click on the first option and choose “Important updates only”. then choose the second option, where you’ll get a list of the people you don’t talk to very often. You can then add them to the ‘Important updates only’ list too.
- Hide all the games apps. You can also block all the invites too.
- Hide the stalker sidebar. There is such a thing as information overkill.
So, this is my plan for the next couple of weeks. If that doesn’t work, I’ll bite the bullet and delete it alltogether.
Why are so many of us rejecting Facebook?
The interesting thing is, I’ve spoken to a few people about this recently, and the majority have considered doing the same. So, what is Facebook doing wrong? Arguably, the majority of problems come from how people use the site, not the site itself. But there seems to be a rebellion against the kind of over-sharing most of us have been doing for the past couple of years. Perhaps it’s the recession, but people seem to want to go back to the simple things a little more.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Facebook in the next few years. They’ve been at the centre of many discussions recently, with their changes to their advertising policies and controversy over whether page admins should have to pay for their own fans to view content. There’s a growing resentment over the site – and it’s probably even more annoying because it now has such a large part of many of our lives. We organise events through Facebook, upload our images, chat to long-lost friends and message others. Like it or not, it seems to draw us in and has us checking it while we’re queuing at the supermarket or on the bus to work. It’s the Daily Mail of social networks.
How do you feel about Facebook? Do you love it, or loath it?