The not so social network

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I left Facebook this week. I’ve done it before and then come back on a couple of days later and in my worst example of a lack of will power last time I left Facebook I came back on just one day later but this time I know it’s for real or at the very least for a month as that’s the target I’ve set myself to show I can do it. 

“But why Ant?” I can hear you all asking well I shall now try and explain. I’ve spent way too much time on the place and over the last few months have managed to get into arguments on there about things as varied as the MMR vaccine – I think it’s safe, a friend didn’t and we had Facebook words, there was the whole Swansea City thing that happened last week and finally at the weekend I got into a serious debate with a good friend about The X Factor – neither of us are fans but I can see the why the show is popular and successful and I don’t necessarily think that it nor Simon Cowell are instruments of evil. 

Anyway the two of us were having this Facebook conversation when it suddenly struck me – along with a not very complimentary comment from my wife about it – what the hell was I doing at 11 o’clock on a Sunday evening having this discussion about The X Factor?!?! I thought about all the other things I’d wasted my time typing about and had got involved with on Facebook and realised that I just wasn’t enjoying myself on there anymore, the adverts for crap games, the requests from people to join these crap games, jokes getting recycled over and over again, jokes nicked from other places without people giving credit for them (For me that’s the cardinal Facebook and Twitter sin), repeated friendship requests from people who didn’t like me at school nor me them. I would be reading a book when suddenly the compulsion came to put the book down and just see what’s happening on Facebook and so on and so on. 

Basically I fell out of love with the place. 

The difficult thing is that over the years I’ve put so much of my life on there; photos, messages, friends but does that matter? Will my life grind to a halt if I’m not on Facebook? I still have Twitter, Instagram and the emails and phone numbers of all the people that I need to be in touch with so I’m going to see how I go with not being on it. I’m not conceited enough to think that right now as you read this there are people scratching their heads and saying to their life partner “I don’t understand it, where the hell has Ant gone? He was on Facebook on Sunday but he’s gone now, make no mistake, it’s a bit of a mystery.” 

I think I’ll be fine, the first day of my Facebook cold turkey was odd – not having the app on my phone looked okay, reading a story on a website and not clicking the share button was just weird though, reading a joke on Twitter and only retweeting it to my Twitter feed was tad bit unusual but I read so much more of the book that I’m currently reading*, I watched University Challenge and concentrated all the way through, I didn’t get cross with my sons when they came downstairs after their bedtime to hassle me as I wasn’t in the middle of a Facebook conversation about nothing that had inextricably become vitally important to me. Three days down, twenty seven more to go until the end of September – I can do this. 

I still like Twitter – lots of jokes, chatting with my favourite authors and tittle tattle keep me happy and my experience of Instagram is that it’s full of lovely people taking pictures that are beautiful, funny, pointless, worthy and that feeds my passion for photography but the truth is that Facebook just doesn’t do it for me at the moment and so after six years on there I have taken my leave from the place. 

* Denise Mina’s The Red Road – she’s very good, you should read her books.

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