Thursday, December 8, 2011

the end of the Facebook era.

Soooo… I’m pretty sure that when I get back to Australia I’m going to deactivate my Facebook account. Why? Well, there are a few reasons, but before I get to them, I want you to know I’ve taken a step towards the final cut. 

Just to prove how serious I am. 

I deleted about 160 people so that I now have exactly 200 “friends”. (I mean, clearly this post isn’t bragging because 360 is not a freakishly high number of Facebook “friends” to have.) The number 200 is pretty random, and I figured it’s a reasonable half-way point. Also, the internet is slow here and I was SO bored after just un-friending for an hour that at 223 I decided 200 would be a nice, rounded cut-off. Apart from the boredom (solved by listening to Blue Oyster Cult and eating a lot of cake) I was a little surprised at just how easy it was to delete so many people.

What a revelation – I’m not actually friends with a lot of my Facebook “friends”?


On top of this? I’m still “friends” with someone’s dog. And my favourite bookstore. Why? Well, I just asked myself a few simple questions as I went down the alphabetical “friends” list.

1.       Would I talk to this person if I saw them (also) alone at the small and quaint café I was drinking black coffee and writing in?
2.       Would it be weird if I texted this person? (Dogs are excluded from this requirement.)
3.       When I go to this person’s page can I actually tell if they are the blonde or the brunette in the profile picture?

There are lots of criteria that people use all the time to do this kind of thing, and yes, most people who “cull” their facebook “friends” do so because they actually have, like, more than 500. Does this make me feel presumptuous and a bit silly? Yes, yes it does. Does this make me feel like an inadequate human being? Well, yes it does a little bit – it makes me feel not very cool – and that’s one of the reasons I think I might just get rid of it.

I just don’t like where the whole thing is heading. I don’t spend a lot of time stalking through the accounts of other people, and now that I have to unsubscribe from people’s feeds in order to not be inundated with their updates, I just don’t have the inclination to keep it up. Most of the people I admire and am best friends with in real life don’t use Facebook for anything more than occasional convenience of connection, and I intend on doing the same.

Here a particular problem arises – what about the friends I have made overseas who I don’t see in Brisbane? Well, a few hours of brainstorming and a focus group and a lot of mind-mapping led me to the brilliant conclusion of… sending emails. SHAZAM. I like emailing! Emailing is nice and makes me actually write proper things to people instead of anagrams describing the laughter I’m not laughing. I thought I might even call people. I know, now you just think I’m being crazy. Calls are awkward and take time and actual interaction and can cost money. I don’t think it will be like that. I have absolute faith that when I call someone and say “Hey! Got time to chat? I wanna hear how your life is!” they aren’t gonna tell me to fuck off and re-activate my Facebook account because they don’t enjoy the personal interaction. I just called a phone call a ‘personal interaction’ for godssake! What kind of world do we live in!? WHAT KIND OF WORLD?!?!

I’m calm again, and thinking about why this idea only came to me yesterday/today. Maybe it’s because these days most of the most meaningful interactions I have with family and friends is through computers. I miss people. Real people. In real life. When I can look at their face and see if they are lying when they start saying they’re “fine”. I like shooting harsh eyes at people when I call them douchebags. I miss hearing intonations in people’s voices so that when they tell me a movie is “excellent” I know whether I really want to see it or not. I like looking at someone’s hair when they say they’ve been “up all night” and you can really tell if they have or haven’t. I like hugging people when I say hello to them.  (This is withoutadoubt a biproduct of the intense hermit mode I have been existing in for the past few months. A topic I shall discuss in more detail at a later, but soon, date.)

I have a feeling that less Facebook would equal more quality person-to-person relationships in my life.

“And if you’re wrong, Bri?” You ask me -
Sorry, I’m not familiar with that phenomenon.

TOTALLY KIDDING. I’ll just reactivate the damn thing. No biggie.

Any other reasons? Yeah. Duh. I read this, this, and this.

So anyways, before I make any really rash moves I’ll have to get back to my beloved hometown first and see what life is like. For starters, I have to make a Facebook “event” for my coming-home party. I have no other way of letting my friends know about it. (Also, a lack of Facebook makes me send out real invitations for future house parties!!!) It might be the case that Brisbane has turned into some big virtual land of robot people and for one reason or another I just can’t survive without an account. It’s possible. I think I’ll come back and reassess the situation in early March. I don’t get back until February, so that seems reasonable.

Hahahahah I also just realised I’m still friends with a man called Kamarudin Alias. A while ago when I visited Jurong Bird Park in Singapore, I got chosen from the crowd of small children (all of whom I beat down and stomped on with my Doc Martens) to hold a vulture. Then I went home a put a joke ‘Employer’ update that I was a ‘Falconer’ at Jurong Bird Park. Two days later Kamarudin added me as his 34th Facebook “friend” because he also worked at the park and Facebook suggested we be friends and I accepted.

So no, I don’t take this social media platform very seriously.


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