Do you ever find that when you’re on the computer, you spend senseless hours checking and rechecking the same websites with no real outcome or gain? Social networking websites have been my vice for the last seven years. First it was the MySpace phenomenon, and then it became Facebook and Twitter… and a few other ones that have been mentioned and advertised but never quite had the clout that the three major ones did. I never had a Twitter, because I never understood why people felt the need to have an account where all you really do is update your status. It’s like a beta version of Facebook, so why not just have a Facebook?

I still hold that MySpace was the best of all of them. The layout never really changed, but you had the option of personalizing it like you would a website. You never got harassed by apps. You got the occasional spammer or creep messaging you, but you get that anywhere. I myself can’t even pinpoint the reason why people flocked from MySpace to Facebook. It probably has something to do with the notifications and the feed about everyone else’s activity… which is ok for some things, but usually it just gets abused with nonsense.

Anyway, the other day I decided that I was no longer going to be a slave of social media. It’s drained far too many of my hours and days in my 20-something life, and for no real good reason. It became addictive (because I think anyone does this even if they don’t admit it) to watch the activity of your favourite people, or the people who interested you for any number of reasons. But, it hugely invades one’s privacy. The ongoing battle between Facebook and its users over photo copyrights is one indication of this, as is the upset from folks who want to get rid of their account but are aware that their account is never fully deleted from the Facebook world. They also make it difficult for you to put your profile on lockdown, if you don’t want the general public seeing all your stuff. For example, you now have to edit your settings one thing at a time to make every single aspect of your page private… but they have all these loopholes – like, if someone posts a picture of you without your consent they can have it on their page for everyone to see, and then people on your page have access to it even though you didn’t put it on there. Remember on Myspace, how you had the option to either make your profile completely private to friends only, or leave it public? That seems like a simple choice to me. Facebook did the complete opposite. They took away simplicity and replaced it with a million options, and in order for you to make sure you got everything covered you have to spend an hour modifying settings. That’s stupid, and such a waste of time. Maybe some of us don’t feel the need to go that far. Maybe some of us are satisfied with simply choosing private or public, for our entire page. They could at least let you have the option.

They also don’t make it easy for you to avoid notifications that become a nuisance. Why did the modifiers feel it necessary to make it so that every time someone got 10,000 points in Ruby Blast, that everyone on their list had to be made aware of this? In order for you to stop notifications, you have to go to each person’s page individually and modify your notification settings for every single person. I had one guy on my friends list who kept sending me stupid app invites, and I tried everything to get them to stop. I modified his settings (or so I thought) so that I wouldn’t receive ANY notifications about him or invites from him, but it didn’t change anything. Of course, a lot of headaches and annoyances could be avoided by simply giving users an option to not receive ANY app notifications or invites from ANYONE. I’m surprised they haven’t tackled this issue, because it’s among the top complaints of everyone on Facebook. So that means I might take care of one annoying person on Facebook who doesn’t have the brain power to unclick “send this app to everyone on my friends list” every time they play a game, but I have to start the process all over again if and when someone else takes a sudden interest in online games. I had 230 people on my friends page; I don’t have the time to modify that many settings.

Facebook is also a means for people who are attention seekers to put their problems out there. Ok, admittedly I’m guilty of that at times too, but it gets to be a bit much when you have to read the same crap all the time from the same people who keep revisiting the same issues. The reason they do it on Facebook is to either embarrass someone else or get support about an issue that probably isn’t anyone else’s business. The baby momma stuff gets to me… the ever-looming threats on the fathers and the incessant reminders towards him that he’s not needed. I mean, really? If you’re over it, then be over it.

I washed my hands of the site two days ago, and I haven’t looked back. I find myself coming on the computer just as often, because checking Facebook has just become a habit in my day-to-day life. I deleted my account once before, but I ended up going back. This time there are no jitters like a smoker who hasn’t had a cigarette in five hours. I actually feel pretty liberated… except for knowing that my account isn’t truly deleted. But I took all my pictures off before I deleted it, which makes me feel better about it.

I find that I’m more interested in the more primitive internet communications – like e-mail, or friends following my blog. I don’t like that Facebook just becomes a contest for who has more friends. I had people on there who I haven’t seen or talked to in years, and having them on Facebook didn’t change that. So, I never really gained anything from having them as friends on my page. Those people who I’m actually good friends with, or those who are important enough to communicate with, will find a way to contact me, or vice versa. I have a cell phone. The most important people in my life have the number, as well as my e-mail. It’s time to get back to basics.


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