Facebook, we need to talk.

Facebook user Ah Facebook, you saucy minx.  Every time I try to leave you, you tempt me back with your siren song of LOL cats and ambiguous, attention-seeking status updates.   It was fun in the beginning.  I will always remember the butterflies in the pit of my stomach brought on by each new friend request;  the illicit thrill of discovering the fate of ex-boyfriends and high school mean girls I’d never want to actually speak to in real life;  the exotic holidays we went on together (well, other people went on them and you showed me the photos).  Good times.   Unfortunately I’ve learned a few harsh lessons lately and I’m not sure I can trust you anymore.  It’s not all your fault, I’ll admit.  It’s the combination of you and human nature that causes the trouble.  Facebook doesn’t hurt people; people hurt people. But Facebook allows them to do it faster and with greater force.

You have bestowed upon me many gifts, Facey.  I have stayed in touch with overseas and interstate friends – I’ve watched their children grow, congratulated them on new jobs and sympathised with their daily crapulence.  I may or may not ever have gotten around to sending these same friends an actual letter; and if I had, it would have been an anodyne précis of the year that was rather than a more honest outburst about the little things that make up a big life.  Your virtual community has increased my real world friendship circle. I like that about you.

You’ve also given me the gift of knowledge.  Sure, I have to sift through an awful lot of inspirational quotes about finding my inner rainbow before I get to the actual ‘knowledge’, but from world news to emergency services updates, you can really keep me stimulated when you’re in the right frame of mind.  Facebook

Unfortunately, I’ve found out that you’re not always faithful.  You don’t always show me the newsy updates I crave, but palm me off with cheap advertising instead.   I miss out on new posts from the people I care about and instead get many, many reminders about more people you think I should be friends with when I’ve never even heard of them (and some of them look highly suspicious).   I wish you wouldn’t make decisions without consulting me. I wish you’d respect my privacy settings.

But as I said, I’m not blaming you for everything.  The fact is, you’re revealing things about me and my friends that make me uncomfortable.  You force us to be honest about where we are at any given point in time, for example.  No longer is it possible to let someone down gently by telling them you’re too sick to come to their Tupperware party if you’ve been tagged at 2am sipping pina coladas in a Viking costume.   People are very quickly aware if they have missed out on an invitation to the party of the year and that’s not a nice feeling.  You can take us straight back to the playground, Facebook; make us feel like we haven’t been picked for the team.

You force us to admit that we have more in common with some friends than others.  Just because you’ve known someone longer, or you see someone more often, or you’re related to certain people, it doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily bond over SongPop.   You make it all too obvious if our politics, our childrearing or our radio station of preference does not align with those of our friends.  There are things I wouldn’t discuss at a dinner party that I’ll still ‘like’ when you offer them to me.  You make me forget my manners.

And, worse still, you  make me forget my grammar.  I throw up random updates that are easily misconstrued thanks to autocorrect and lazy comma implementation.  I don’t get a chance to explain myself.

You bring out my green eyed monster by flaunting my friends’ holidays and kid-free weekends and exquisite cups of coffee and brilliant photography and weight loss secrets.  I’ll admit I still experience envy and lust and greed and sloth and pride – even with all those rainbow cats telling me not to.

This week I heard about someone who had been really hurt by the combination of virtual thoughtlessness and real world bitching.  It can’t be the first time this has happened inadvertently thanks to my relationship with you, Facebook.  So I think we need a break.  Just let me take a breather. I’ll be back soon, I promise.  No, really, it’s not you, it’s me.

Well, no, it’s probably you.

How’s your relationship with Facebook these days? Do you go through bouts of Facebook fatigue?

ps. Who am I kidding? I’m a junkie. I’ll be back for a Facebook hit by this afternoon.

pps. I’ve also just realised I could replace ‘Facebook’ with ‘wine’ throughout this post and it would mostly still work. Cause for concern?

44 comments for “Facebook, we need to talk.

  1. March 19, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Ha! I struggle with FB. It’s just a direct feedline to bogans. I always wind up following one link after another and falling down some terrible place.

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Yes it does get a bit like Alice down the rabbit hole – travelling to weird and wonderful places (mostly weird).

  2. March 19, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Last week I tried to go from the morning to the evening without checking Facebook. I lasted until the first feed . . . maybe I need to keep a book next to me, instead of reaching for the computer!

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      Well, I think those of us who hate the telephone are probably even more likely to get hooked on something like this! Books are good – but they don’t talk back 😉

  3. March 19, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I want to hear more about sipping Pina Colada’s in a Viking costume. There’s two things that totally float my (long) boat. 😉

    • Enid Bite'Em
      March 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      I’m thinking Vikings would maybe go more for vodka or Schnapps or cider, but hey, if you’re providing …

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      I’m not sure I’ve ever actually tried a pina colada, but it sounds like the sort of fluffy drink one would get sprung with at a fancy dress party. And everyone has a Viking costume in the cupboard don’t they?

  4. March 19, 2013 at 9:05 am

    I have a hate/love relationship with Facebook….I hate to love it. I am addicted. Hooked. Co-dependent. I deleted the app off my phone, only to end up using m.facebook.com instead. So THAT didn’t work. I do it at work, in the car, in queue (anywhere), walking in and out of school drop off/pick up…I can’t look away! There should be meetings for this kind of thing…and I’m not even joking! Great post! I’d have laughed out loud, several times, if it wasn’t all so damn true.

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      Smart phones haven’t helped at all have they? Talk about enablers! Yes, come to Facebookers Anonymous with Francesca and I in a few years’ time :)

  5. Janet
    March 19, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Or you could do what I did, turn your addiction into your job – I now coordinate social media for a couple of businesses and get PAID for it!!!

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Ah Janet, you’re living the dream! I use it a bit for work too so I could never get rid of it altogether.

  6. March 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Yep. Replace FB with wine. :)

  7. Tanya
    March 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I agree with much of what you say, and I have mentioned to you before of my love/hate relationship with Facebook. I almost quit the addiction two Christmases ago, troubled by the weird premise of ‘friendship’ that Facebook encourages. I don’t, and never will, understand the idea of wanting to be ‘friends’ with someone who you wouldn’t bother to contact if you were coming to their town. Instead, I just had a massive cull. Maybe that will help you. Nowadays, I find Facebook a valuable source of the latest information and debates in my profession and I am really enjoying that aspect. I also value being able to easily share news of my family, with family and friends in Bris. And likewise to easily hear news of theirs. I do think a little more thought needs to be put into our digital footprint at times, and remembering that our actions have consequences. One is a new concept for those in our generation – the other is not a new concept at all.

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      Very well said Tanya. x

  8. March 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Oh I completely agree Lara. I have toned it down a bit lately though. I have more activity on my page than my personal profile these days.

    I could never de-activate my account though – I must be addicted too!

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      I think I’d be lost if I deleted it completely and I know I’d lose touch with a few friends who only communicate that way (overseas people etc). I’m not sure what that says about the nature of those friendships… but yes, I’ll be with you one day at Facebookers Anonymous.

  9. Enid Bite'Em
    March 19, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Annabel Crabb wrote a great piece called ‘Facebook is not your friend’ – I’d link to it, but, you know, it would take away valuable time when I could be checking my status update :)

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks, I’ve Googled it. There was a great radio interview with a chap from Facebook this week too which explained a lot about human behaviour in the virtual environment. I must post the link once I can figure out who he was and where I heard it!

  10. Kim
    March 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    HA i just wanted to ‘like’ Enid’s comment! I am a junkie too, I admit it. I’m a bit of a purist about my feed though. I really only like to have friends in my personal FB feed and the new ads are driving me MENTAL. GRRrRrrrrrrrr.

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      That’s the answer I reckon Kim, being strong about what you do or don’t ‘like’ so your feed doesn’t get too clogged. I’m glad I don’t have a proper business to plug on Facebook cos the ads and conditions for advertising seem to change daily!

  11. Eva
    March 19, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I couldn’t ever part with facebook and not because I’m addicted but because my business is Social Media Management! Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not such a good thing when I need a break from it all!

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      It’s a great way to spread a message quickly so I don’t think it’ll be going anywhere soon as far as the business side of things goes. I love it for blogging and I also use it for work, but the personal side of things gets me down sometimes.

  12. March 19, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Hee hee, wine works for me. I think FB is also a way for many people to get back at others. We were recently snubbed at a social event and only found out it happened via FB. I long for the days when it didn’t exist, but then again, those were such different times.

    • Rachel
      March 20, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Assholes! Who snubs someone and then broadcasts it on Facebook? People with serous issues that’s who. I reckon they did you a favour not talking to you :)

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      Yes, I do think some people use it deliberately to prove a point (whatever point that may be!). Shame about your snubbing story. That never gets easier really.

  13. Rachel
    March 20, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I’m a bit “off” Facebook at the moment but not becuaswe I have a problem with it. It’s just that I’ve only recently found my feet on Twitter and am finding myself increasingly diverted by it.

    I love the real time interaction which FB can’t really compete with. And I find its a way better platform for news and interesting debates and opinions. To use Kim-Marie’s analogy, when I click on a link in Twitter I usually end up somewhere exciting and thought-provoking!But Facebook is still the home of my old friends so I’ll never give it up entirely.

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      I do both Facebook and Twitter – Twitter is def better for professional networking but not many of my personal friends are on it, so I keep drifting back to Facebook :)

  14. Jeannine Barrett
    March 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I went the whole hog and deactivated my account about 6 months ago, it was just getting to me to much and making me crazy. There was a withdrawal period but I have to say I feel great now that I’ve thrown off the chains :)

    • This Charming Mum
      March 21, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      Glad to hear you’re feeling a sense of relief. I can’t imagine ditching it altogether – and it does come in handy for work and blogging – but the initial love affair is definitely over!

  15. March 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Great post. I wish I could let Facebook go. It annoys me so much but it keeps on drawing me back… like virtual crack.

  16. March 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    My blog FB page takes up most of my FB time, whilst my personal account languishes a little. I think sometimes on the personal pages, I get a little tired of the oversharing by some people I know who use it as a diary!!! But its great for reminding you who has a birthday!

    (via FYBF)

  17. Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions
    March 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    I just spend most of my Facebook time on my blog page now. I do scroll through my newsfeed but don’t get too involved, I just can’t be bothered, too many other things to do!

  18. March 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Oh I am badly addicted to FB and all social media. I blame my stupid phone. Stupid smart phone. Stupid because it is smart. Sometimes I feel like throwing it in the bin but them I CAN’T and I always come back for more aargh !!

    • This Charming Mum
      March 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      Yeah, the phone doesn’t help does it? It’s with you ALL the time!

  19. March 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I had to ‘unfriend’ someone this week – she shared one too many Labour party ads. When I want to know Julia Gillard’s status, I’d read edenland’s blog! :)

  20. March 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    I really identify with the love/hate and I haven’t really got into twitter so its mostly love with FB. But the newsfeeds lately with so much paid stuff are such a pain to sift through. Plus I wish I wasn’t so needy when it comes to likes and engagement – I blog as yinyangmother so I guess I should take a balanced approach, but hold on I need to check my page!

  21. March 22, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I have to say I am struggling with Facebook these days.

    i get fed up with Facebook telling me what are the top stories. Even if I try the “most recent” tab it still tries to trick me. Surely someone has posted something more recent than last Wednesday.

    Because of this I am turning to other social media sites – Twitter Pinterest, Google+. Though I have read they too may turn.

    Maybe I should go back to twiddling my thumbs which is what my husband thinks I do all day anyway.

  22. March 22, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Brilliant post – and so true. I HATE that I don’t know how I lived before facebook existed. I am a junkie too. Is there a support group somewhere. Wait what am I thinking, there is probably a facebook page I can go and like. :-)

  23. March 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    I spend a little too much time on it (like everyone it seems!) and it bothers me that I have little control over what comes into my newsfeed – that is seriously annoying. But it means I can keep in touch with friends and family and keeps me up to date with what’s going on in the world so it’s usefulness currently outweighs the annoyance factor for me…just!

  24. Rita
    April 3, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Oh wow! I just love your post! You described exactly the relation I have with Facebook! Haha! I love the part about no longer it’s possible to say you’re sick when this is not the case because then you have to check out what you’re saying on FB!

    • This Charming Mum
      April 4, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Thanks! Yes, I think a lot of people can relate. It’s a fantastic tool, but it has its down sides.

  25. Margo, Thrift at Home
    April 3, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    and this is why I just lurk on Facebook through my husband’s account!! I never say anything there (but I say plenty on my blog) – I’m just afraid that it will spiral down in to a pit and I will never reclaim my free time, I will always feel like I’m missing something. I’m worried about smartphones for the same reason, but my husband and I might be getting them this year. sighhhhh

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