You’ll never believe what happens when this 27 year old male deletes Facebook!
“There are all these ways to see through the fence into your neighbours yard.”
- La Dispute, For Mayor in Splitsville
I recently deleted Facebook.
Not deactivated, deleted. It’s gone, sucked into the ethereal night-lands of the internet.
I can never get it back.
As someone trying to get his writing in front of as many people as possible, this is basically suicide. Almost no one will read this. Also, I work in digital marketing — imagine, a digital marketer who doesn’t have Facebook.
It’s a scandal.
But I decided that I could no longer continue to be a part of and contribute to something so awful. And Facebook is awful.
It is easily the most consumed form of media (as if anyone you know still buys newspapers), and it’s killing your brain one sensationalised post at a time. Allow me to elaborate:
The media has always been a very dangerous thing — it’s not a new idea. Long before social media, way back to Gutenberg’s 13th century printing press, the powers-that-be have used the rapid dissemination of information provided by technological advances to influence and control the populace.
People have always been mass consumers of media, so why single out Facebook? What’s the difference between Facebook and subscribing to a newspaper, watching the news, or reading a book?
Well, a lot actually.
Firstly, traditional media — although it might be a propaganda prone para-state-mind-control machine — is at least curated by intelligent people. Don’t get me wrong, the media is invariably a biased load of tripe, but it’s curated in one centralised place, by people with a centralised leaning. A certain news channel might be left leaning or right leaning, but you know what you’re going to get before you get it, and so you’re prepared.
Facebook, by contrast, is curated by idiots, and you know them all personally: your far flung extended family members, the annoying co-worker from the office you worked at 3 jobs ago, and the morons that you went to high school with — these are the people who get to play a role in shaping your world view. Remember the ex-Rhodesian guy in your grade 11 year who brought a gun to a house party? That guy is now populating your news feed with opinion pieces.
Or maybe it’s your friend’s mom who once told you that “apartheid wasn’t that bad” — she gets to decide on your front page news.
And because it’s so easy, because everything online is “click-to-share”, it means that every single knee jerk reaction of society is very quickly shoved in your face. It’s stupid, and I want nothing more to do with it.
Secondly, traditional media is read-only.
You can’t talk back to a news paper article. You just have to take it for what it is. Maybe you disagree with it. Maybe you don’t like it’s tone, or you feel it’s omitting a key point. But you can’t do anything about it, can you? Oh sure, you could rant to your wife about it, but she probably won’t care. You have no audience to quickly dump your knee-jerk reaction onto, and so you just sort of get over it, and 15 minutes after reading the article, you’ve forgotten it ever existed.
Not so with Facebook. On Facebook, the comment button is right there, just waiting for you to expunge your poorly thought out rage. You rant and then your opponent rants and everyone has a massive rant and at the end of it all you feel a bit sick to the stomach and quite embarrassed because everyone on the internet read what you said, and you also noticed a typo in your first post, but you don’t want to go back and edit it because that would show weakness.
With traditional media, if you really, really want to have a rant, you know what you do?
You write a letter.
You sit down, and you rationalise your thoughts. You lay out a coherent, purposeful argument. It normally takes a long time, and your emotions tend to subside a little, so you tend to come off as less of a wanker.
You also get to proof read it, so no typos.
Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, when you delete Facebook, you get your life back. Sure, it was initially a bit strange. Here I had gone and done this momentous thing, and I had no one to tell about it — there was no way to let the world know how morally superior I was for deleting Facebook (yes, I’m well aware of the irony that I am currently telling you how morally superior I am). But as the weeks have gone on, I have come to love the sort of present consideration-of-the-moment that comes with not having an audience to share it with. What ever happens in my day just sort of happens, and it will remain unrelated until I get home to hang out with my wife.
Now look, I’m not saying that deleting Facebook is for everyone. I’m also not bemoaning all forms of user curated online media. Medium, for example, is an awesome way to share content. Instagram is cool too, with a general focus on genuine beauty and a general lack of hastily reposted News24 articles.
But what I am asking, is that you might have a look at your Facebook feed and genuinely weigh up the costs and benefits of having it in your life.
I’d wager you’re better off with out it.
Now can some please share this post on Facebook for me?
It’s lonely out here.