If you are reading this, the likelihood is – you are probably one of the 2.23 billion members of social media mega-giant Facebook.
As most of us are members, would it surprise you to know that I’m post-Facebook and no longer post on there?
I joined up in 2006 when the social network was just finding its feet as a wider social media platform after spending its initial years as a university-only network.
At the time, there was stiff competition from the likes of MySpace, FriendsReunited and Bebo – all dominant in commanding you join-up with them and many millions did.
Somehow, Facebook broke free of the crowd and was so successful, it’s peer-networks simply could not compete and were gradually wound up or repackaged.
There seemed no stopping Facebook and I was certainly an avid user of the service.
For years, I talked to many, many people – those I met on there and those who I knew in real life. It helped bridge the gaps of time, geography, life and even awkwardness (that last one refers to an unlikely friendship I forged on there, still makes me smile!) – all things that without Facebook, I am not certain I would have been able to do any of those things without it.
It facilitates the human urge to be nosy – clicking on someone’s life (aka profile), nosying through it and making a judgement from what you have found therein.
We all therefore put our best feet forwards and ensured that there was a bright and shiny version of ourselves for the outside world to see and only show any realness with the right privacy settings in place.
I was a daily user of Facebook at one point and felt like there was some reality to the many hundreds of ‘friendships’ I accrued on there.
After a while though, I began to feel jaded. This platform is not reality and the fact remained that reality was so much better than the persona portrayed by all on Facebook.
I began to realise that pouring so much of myself into this online void was meaningless – to whose benefit was it for? The only people I want to know about things going on with me, I already know well enough without a computer.
I think I began to break it all down and from that, I quickly learned that Facebook could be removed and replaced and that so much more of my life could be held back and kept private.
I like to share pictures – great, Instagram just does pictures. I like to voice an opinion on stuff – great, Twitter can help you do that and build the right audience. Sometimes (like now), I like to talk and talk and talk, just to let ideas and thoughts hit the air – great, your WordPress blog can help with that.
Everything else is just unnecessary after that.
No-one wants to know what I had for breakfast, where I went on holiday or how many pets I do and don’t have.
Except, perhaps for the people who love me and care enough about me to stay in touch.
What more do I need share?
I hope to set an example to my kids to show that social media is not the beginning and the end of everything. It is merely an aid, an apparatus to talk randomly to friends – but that they should always remember real-life exposes those who truly care.
I did enjoy most of my time on Facebook and my initial 10 year old profile has been downloaded from Facebook and stored securely away, so I haven’t lost all the pictures, videos, posts and private messages. I might have time eventually to look through it all and maybe reminisce, but for now, it’s a shelved endeavour.
If you are ever brave enough to join me in the the post-Facebook world – let me know!