Well, I’ve tried Facebook a couple of times now. For someone who is basically a LONER (in capital letters) it was a social experiment that I followed out of curiosity at first and then, out of habit. I guess that’s the way it gets to you.
For any of you who haven’t partaken being on FB, there is a subtle and very sophisticated system of “likes” that people you know (or don’t know) can put on things that you post or comments that you make. You can also be in or out with people depending upon whether they reply to your “friend” request or not. Simply put, it’s like being in junior high school again when some people like you for the shoes you wear or ignore you in the lunchroom because they’re, well, ignoring you. Despite the superficiality of this “likes” system, it does grab you and you start to care about it because as a human being, everyone wants to be “liked.” But being on Facebook puts you in the crosshairs of being “liked” or not – by people you don’t even know very well. Or being ignored by people that you do know well! See how subtle the passive aggressive nature of the “likes” system can be?
At first, it’s easy to get caught up in assembling “likes” on to photos that you put up or posts that you make about what’s going on in your life. Then, there are the die-hards who post weird things and then get caught up in one-on-one exchanges in public for all the world to see. One FB thread included a comment from his friend on EVERY post he made, as though he had a FB babysitter who would compliment him on some really far-out nonsense. I felt like telling them to “get a room.”
On another note, I’ve noticed that Facebook has gradually and insistently inserted advertisements from vendors on to one’s Facebook page. First, they appeared on the right side column where you could choose to ignore it or not. Recently, free form ads now pop up in the main column of your “home” page: ads selling bras, clothing, etc. When you click the “X” to hide or delete the ad, there’s a nervy four item questionnaire asking you why you want to delete it. Really?
The proliferation and expansiveness of the ad campaigns were enough to turn me off of Facebook. But it was an inconsequential annoyance compared to the time-consuming and fatuous entries made by people, trivializing our culture even more than it already is: “national dog day,” for example and arguing about politics with each other in a long stream of “comments” as though they mattered to anyone else but themselves. It’s more of the narcissistic trend for the narcissists. And since we are all susceptible to that too, or maybe we wouldn’t even be on FB at ALL, it’s a self-propelling prophecy.
Anyhow, I turned it off after I discovered how much I had allowed myself to be roped into that part of the culture of Facebook. So it wasn’t anyone else’s fault that I left, it’s because I found myself wasting so much time on stuff that was trivial, entered by people whom I’m not even friends with but only know slightly. I asked myself, “what am I doing? and why am I doing it?” There were no good answers. So, it was time to log-off.