Life After Facebook

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Scott Jenkins

I'm a full-time dreamer and amateur philosopher (aka English undergraduate) which some may call a little out-of-date at twenty-one. I spend a bit too long moaning, listening to Empire of the Sun, and fretting about being skinny. If things are going wrong, get drunk and worry about it in the morning.

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About a year ago, scrolling through a batch of photos of a guy I’d spoken to twice, and feeling thoroughly discontented with my own uninteresting tagged photos, I decided that I was going to give up Facebook. When I made the decision I was fearful that the process would be a months-long uphill struggle. Yet, amazingly, I did just that. Within a week the only reason I went on that life-guzzling website was to check on upcoming events every few days. I’ve kept this up for a long time now, and far from becoming the recluse I feared I would, I am a happier, saner and altogether more sociable individual.

From this detachment, I have gained a new, probably very unfavourable opinion of Facebook and its social networking counterparts. I can certainly see the use of such a powerful, connecting tool, but I can also see the horrors and the harm it does to users.

Nowadays, most of us have a Facebook account, an online depiction of the self we’d like to be. We like the things we want other people to know we like – whether because it’s endearing, respected or adds to your online profile. We are tagged in pictures that depict us having the time of our lives, straddling a statue of a horse, bottle of booze in hand, making an utterly hilarious face.

But really. There comes a point where everybody has to stand back and say “this is not me”. There needs to come a point where people can be content in their own wonderfully mundane lives. The problem is that Facebook turns you into an image-obsessed, continually-comparing drone who is more alive virtually than in reality. The number of times that I have been in the presence of both friends and strangers who have spent more time tagging themselves at a Florence + the Machine gig than actually listening to Florence Welch sing… The statuses I’ve seen that tag three or four girls on a life-defining shopping trip… The conversations I’ve seen between friends laughing about the hilarious times they’ve had together and the prolific memories…

From an external perspective, this whole charade is just ludicrous. Stop tagging yourself at events and enjoy them! Stop writing statuses about your shopping trips because nobody actually cares. Instead of writing on one another’s walls, TEXT EACH OTHER seeing as you’re such good friends.

It’s not only the stupidity of Facebook that gets my back up these days. According to OMG Facts, 1/3 of divorces in 2011 included the word ‘Facebook’. Where once, there was a sense of the transient, there is now a permanent log of your activity for one and all to see. Innocent moments can be misconstrued by partners as unfaithful abominations. You have nowhere to hide from those times you aren’t in the mood to spend time with anybody and call off a catch-up with a mate, only to end up seeing another friend by coincidence. It’s branded upon your Facebook wall.

I just wish the world would start living again and stop creating a dream life for themselves, from the comforts of their own homes on the computers that keep them from making double the memories they document on Facebook.

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