Opinion · Rant · The Internet

Facebook is making me die inside.

I have a bit of a Facebook problem. I spend far too much time checking my Facebook, time when I should be, you know, parenting Sausage or doing housework or something. I’m more than happy to admit that my main motivation for having a Facebook page is my innate nosiness. I love to look at other people’s pictures, read snippets of what’s going on in their lives.

I have 343 online friends, the majority of whom I know in real life…well, sort of. I mean, how well do you really know the girls you went to school with ten years ago? There are quite a few people who I went to school with who I was really happy to get back in touch with, people I truly value but whose lives took such different paths to mine that we lost touch, but on the whole, I barely even knew these girls ten years ago. Now I wish them happy birthday every year and read about their pet cat getting scurvy.

Another little addiction for me is the ‘like’ button. I’m definitely the type of person who gets a kick out of the immediate gratification you get when you update your status and people click ‘like’. I mean let’s face it, why do we update our statuses if we don’t want people to read it, like it and relate to it? It makes us feel valid, doesn’t it?

But why the hell do I need someone who I haven’t seen since primary school ‘liking’ some glib remark I’ve made about Cbeebies to make me feel valid? Does that not say some really negative things about my personality, or is it just all part of the human condition, the condition which made that kid Zuckerberg worth $6.9 billion at the age of 26 (good God, he’s my age? *retches*) So, it’s obviously not just me, is it?

The trouble is, I’m a pedant. I don’t claim that every sentence I write is beautifully composed, with impeccable spelling and grammar (though I do try). But the ‘Facebook insight’ into other people has made me seriously question the level of education in this country. And I’m not just talking about the odd typo, I have at least one ‘friend’ who I’ve only just discovered is virtually illiterate. I’m dead serious. I try not to get too enraged about it all, but when another friend ends EVERY sentence with at least three exclamation marks, one has to wonder what the hell it is that they’re getting so excited about!!! That is the part of Facebook which makes me DIE INSIDE. I check everything I write and go back to delete and re-write whole statuses if I think they don’t sound right, or have a typo. How can others not give a shit that what they’ve written may as well be in Sanscrit?

The other thing that is sometimes lacking on Facebook  is a sense of context. Last year, I joined an online group created by people who were taking the same Open University course as me and I thought it would be really handy to be able to discuss the assignments and issues with a group of my peers. I also received ‘Friend Requests’ from a few of the people in the group, and happily accepted. We were a mixed bunch of varying ages, sexes and circumstances, but we fired up some great debates and helped each other along the way. Then, one day a discussion started about a particular issue which was being played out in the media and based on my (what I thought were fairly standard, by no means radical) comments, two of the women in the group decided to delete the whole conversation, delete me from their friends list and actually go to the effort of blocking me from ever seeing their profiles again.

If these women had known me, if they’d actually thought about the context of the conversation, they would have realised that what may have seemed like a reactionary comment was actually quite a reasoned and reasonable statement to make. Or maybe they wouldn’t. That’s the thing with Facebook, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Either way, their blocking me was no great loss and I’ve managed to get through life quite happily without their judgement. But really, doesn’t it all seem like hard work? Making sure we don’t offend people we don’t even know? I have enough trouble censoring myself for the people I know really well!

All I know is, I’ve been trying to lay off of Facebook a bit lately. I’ve not completely quit as I know there are people who I’d really miss. But on the whole, it’s losing it’s appeal. My cousin was actually brave enough to delete her whole profile, an action of which I will forever be in awe.

But at least there’s always Twitter.

*UPDATE* – I deleted the illiterate friend. I know that seems harsh, because I think she’s probably quite a nice person, but I don’t want my blood pressure to go up every time I read her status.

Also, does anyone else have *those* friends, you know, the ones who say deliberately veiled provocative things like “Phoebe is spending her afternoons sunbathing in the nude in her garden”. You just know they’re sitting there going “Ooh, how can I get people to think about my tits, without actually coming out and saying “hey everybody, think about my tits!” and thus garner an extra molecule of attention out of my friends?”. Or those ones who invent a personality for themselves, which you’re pretty sure doesn’t exist outside of Facebook?

Yeah, those people make me feel a bit nauseous.

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21 thoughts on “Facebook is making me die inside.

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  3. Ah, great post. I am the world’s biggest Facebook addict and check it a million times a day because I’m so nosy and I miss the my friends and family in the UK (I emigrated 2 yrs ago)

    but it does drive me nuts for all the same reasons you mention, I recently deleted over 10 friends, random people and people who probably haven’t even noticed that I ‘ve left the country!

  4. Ok, so I am little nervous about writing a comment in fear of a spelling mistake. I have to say spelling is my weakness and despite spell check, proof reading and the like, if it is not picked up, and I never knew it was wrong in the first place it would not be corrected because I would think it was right. Does that make sense? I also have that very annoying habit of using more than one exclamation mark…I really hope this is not putting you off me..I am nice I promise. I am now making a concious note to myself to reassess this!

    However, everything you say it completely true and I am guilty of some of them, and it made me laugh out loud. A wonderful post. Thank you. I am going to filter my facebook friends. x

  5. Ha ha. I’m afraid I am guilty of the exclamation marks!!

    However, I REALLY hate text speak and people who can’t spell. There is someone on my friend list who puts up status updates that I have to read about 6 times to decipher. It is great for staying in touch with people though. xx

  6. Love this. Just love it.
    I can’t abide bad spelling and grammar because if you can’t spell and can’t string a sentence together, don’t bother writing in the first place. Stick to something you’re good at, like nude sunbathing.
    The thing that’s really, really getting my back up on FB statuses at the minute is those people who feel the need to emphasise a word, but emphasise the wrong letter, like if they really enjoy something their status reads ‘ I llloovveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee it’. What? What does this even say??
    God, sorry, have used this comment box to reduce my own blood pressure. Apologies.
    Did I say I love this post??

  7. Oh don’t get me started on FB, what about all those status’s (I’m not great with apostrophe’s – spelling I’m ok with, I google anything I’m not sure of before posting to FB or Twitter)……that go along the lines of “Susan Jones is pissed off today”…….uggghhh I hate all that attention seeking & will never ask. I just wait for someone else to ask “Ah Susan, what’s up hun?” and then it’s “I’ll message you”. What?! Why put it on FB in the first place if you’re not going to let us in on all the juicy details. And then there’s some “Great night out with all of my great mates” – well I’m clearly not a great mate then as I wasn’t invited!!!!! (oops was that too many!!!!!).

    I’ve switched over to Twitter more recently but my friends are missing my late night drunken Status updates…….and then there’s other peoples status’s that I comment on after a few and only realise that I’ve done it when a notification comes through to say that someone else has also commented….oops!

    Great post….

  8. I too wish I had the guts to delete my facebook page. The truth is I very rarely add anyone else as a friend, but feel somewhat obliged to accept friend requests from everybody I went to school with . . . and hated . . . and didn’t keep in touch with for a reason. It’s odd, part of me thinks it’s nice to move forward and think that we could be ‘friends’ but the truth is that many of them wouldn’t acknowledge me if we passed on the street. So why don’t I just delete them? Because I like to be nosy. Ah, and therein lies the problem. I don’t want them being nosy at my page but I can’t have it both ways! Facebook really is the work of the devil! Great post.

  9. Facebook terrifies me. I set up a page and have never been on it. I get into enough trouble with my drunken ramblings on Twitter. The idea of me being let loose on FB after a couple of drinks makes me shudder. Great post.

  10. I am one of those people who do you lots of exclamation marks so will try not to!

    I do agree though that facebook can leave you with mixed feelings. Nowadays I tend not to bother about what old school friends are up to but rather real friends and family who care about me. facebook can be a great way for friends and family who lives miles a way to keep up to date with each others lives and photos :-). I have recently deleted lots of so called friends who are not because I do not really care what they are up to! It shouldn’t be a competition to get lots of followers but I got caught up in that before. I have a separate account for my blog which has not really taken off yet and must admit 5 likes is a little weak! But I am not going to get to upset about it.

    Feel free to check out my post for this meme!

  11. Oh GOD YES! I know exactly how you feel about the dreaded FB. My slow decline into hating the site started with making a fairly inocuous (sp?) comment about someone (unnamed) that a work colleague reported to my boss for which I got a bollocking. I deleted said work colleague and adjusted all my privacy settings so that other work colleagues couldn’t see my status updates. During maternity, before discovering twitter, I spent way too much time playing silly Zynga games. Since finding the haven of twitter, I have really backed off. I’ve also axed people left, right and centre. Primarily because I don’t know them well enough to want them to see my life, but also because their basic comprehension of written English distresses me.

    Thanks for linking up to ShowOff ShowCase.

  12. Before I became a parent it used to bug the hell out of me that my friends with kids would always, ALWAYS post status updates about their babies, and how they ate some yogurt, or moved their hands, or summink. I even blocked someone for that very misdemeanour. Now I’m a mum and I’m totally doing the same thing. Facebook fail.

    Also, I am a grammar/spelling Nazi but I frequently spell things wrong in a hip, ironic way (see: ‘summink’ above). I like to think this makes me cleverer than the average FB user, whereas a sensible part of my brain suspects it prob just makes me look like a twat. Maha.

    1. Oh Fran, I do think you and I would get along famously in real life! Summink is a favourite of mine, as is innit, dunno, an’all (as in “me an’all”, I think it’s a total Essex-ism for “me too”). I even respond to Husband with an ironically urban “Is iiit?” on occasion, but only because I love to see the veins bulging in his forehead!

      I’ve kind of given up on Facebbok recently, it just doesn’t hold the appeal for me anymore. I’m far more of a Twitter addict and I can excuse a lack of grammar/shortened words over there as you have to do everything you can to fit into 140 characters. It’s doing wonders for my blood pressure!

  13. The lack of basic grammar skills among my friends, acquaintances, and former classmates, as demonstrated on Facebook, is even more annoying than typos and other errors in the news ticker running at the bottom on cable news channels. And by annoying, I mean “induces steam to whistle out my ears while I turn bright red and hop up and down.” I readily acknowledge that I am a grammar snob. With its error-riddled status updates and user-created quizzes, Facebook should cause enough stress to drive me away. Yet I crawl back. I can’t quit it.

    In brief: I feel your pain.

  14. Well! YES YES YES! Fear not Jayne, it’s not your imagination, the world of Facebook does seem to be largely inhabited by illiterate morons…illiterate, naked morons that is…

    I’m going to write to Zuckerberg guy and suggest he renames it “heyeveryonelookatme.com”.

    To make Facebook work for you I think you need to apply my life motto to it…97% of all people are idiots. That helps me understand loads of things in life.


  15. Immediately put up a link on facebook! (irony!). I have a dictionary next to pc for fear of looking dumb with spelling mistooks on well chosen words!!!!(is 4 exclamation marks ok?). I’ve decided to cut out the chaf and defriend the people whose funerals I wouldn’t go to. Is that harsh!!!!!(ps am typing naked)

    1. Wow, were we seperated at birth? I have an inherent mistrust of my spellcheck and also refer to the actual paper dictionary on a regular basis.

      As for your Facebook cull, I actually think the ‘funeral’ rule is awesome, and totally workable. I do have this fear though (and it actually happened to me recently) that I’ll delete someone and then bump into them in the street. It was so uncomfortable, I tried to walk past but she collared me and started a conversation and kept mentioning things from Facebook and then sort of trailed off, like she’d remembered that we were no longer friends…AWKWARD!

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