My name is Rog and I am an addict.
Three and a half years ago I wrote a blog about giving up Facebook and it went something like this:
“Last week something momentous happened.
Not on the World stage or even village level – it was a lightbulb moment in my head so won’t affect anyone apart from one of the World’s richest men. I’m talking, of course, of Mr Mark Zuckerberg.
Last Thursday I suddenly realised I’d been working as one of his chief suppliers of “content” for 10 years and it was time to retire. Perhaps “content” is a tad grandiose a description for pictures of dogs and endless convoluted puns which I often have trouble deciphering myself when they show up 3 years later “on this day”. But still. Enough is enough.
I’d wavered a bit after the Cambridge Analytica fiasco but carried on as usual because the profiled advertising revenue model for “free” internet services is no longer novel and I happily trade my soul for the amazing goodies in Google’s cupboard. However, it suddenly dawned upon me that the Facebook exchange model has become grossly out of balance since everything has gone mobile. The omnipresence of my beloved iPhone was encouraging me to open the mobile Facebook app at 6.30am in the morning and, on and off, until I’m safely tucked into bed in my jim jams with a mug of horlicks and digestive biscuit at 9.45pm.
So I deleted the Facebook App from my phone and am realising that life is not lived through a small 6″ x 3″ window trying to entertain or impress people I often hardly know but here in the present. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through other people’s digital lives when I awake, I pop into the other room and practice my guitar. I’m even thinking of reading the odd book.
I haven’t deserted Facebook altogether and have retained a link on my desktop but have taken off most of my notifications and intend simply “popping by” from time to time like the irritating ex-alcoholic at a drinks party. Special occasions or trips may still require a picture and The PBGV and Tibetan Terrier groups may still need the odd picture of our lovely four legged team.
What I won’t miss is:
- Political Posts where people feel the need to nail their voting colours to the mast – it’s very un-English, negative and extremely tedious.
- Feuds and bitter disputes on the village web site about parking, poo and parish council. These get borderline psychotic post wine-o-clock and make you wonder about the future of homo sapiens.
- Twee virtue signalling posts about wisdom, normally involving native American Indians.
- Videos from that youthful religious group, “the Lad’s Bible” usually involving swearing and someone getting badly hurt for “bantz”.
- Endless adverts for stuff I’ve recently purchased.”
It’s now 3.5 years on and I was rather deflated to discover this posting having just sat down to make a blogging return with a post about, er, giving up Facebook. (shame faced emoji) . I seem to remember the above attempt lasted about 10 days before the desperate urge to post a picture of my Yorkshire Terrier overcame me and the project was quietly shelved alongside “learning French” and “solving World Poverty”. The app was back on my phone and the need to keep liking, commenting, posting and coming up with wordy “jokes” was again assuaged.
I’m now convinced that social media “over-sharing” is the 21st Century version of “Dad dancing”, so this is a new and more determined effort to sit in the corner smiling politely at the young people jigging about on the dancefloor.
Acknowledging that a new diet is never going work if the cupboards are stashed with Mr Kipling’s Sponge delights and bulk packs of Twix, I’ve taken things more seriously this time by “unfriending” about 50 “friends” and just leaving family members (who have mostly deserted Facebook some time ago for Tik-Tok or Tinder or whatever) and intend making the full exit soon. I’ve also got a new Kobo e-Reader with access to Norfolk Libraries and am starting to work my way through the complete Georges Simenon canon which is so much better than reading illustrated posts of dog poo in Fenn Street.
One day at a time, dear reader ….