Filofax to Facebook?

We live in a world where Facebook is big enough to be its own country, and a superpower at that. Some recent statistics show that:

  • There are 1.11 billion active users in the world
  • 66.5 million of these users log on daily
  • 752 million users log on using their mobile phones
  • There are 223 million users in Europe alone
  • The biggest demographic is age 25-34
  • 53% of users are female

*Statistics courtesy of Zephoria

And guess what? Despite being in the biggest demographic category and a female living in Europe, I am not a Facebook member. And I’m proud of that fact.

For me, Facebook can’t do anything that I can’t do myself via other mediums. Such as:

  • keeping in touch with friends who live a distance from me/abroad – I have a phone/e-mail/text
  • arranging parties, dates, other events – I have a phone/e-mail/text
  • publicity, marketing – I have a phone/e-mail/text & the internet
  • gaming – I buy games/download games to my various mobile devices/consoles
  • remember birthdays – I have a calendar/a diary/a phone – oh and a memory
  • photo albums – I have a phone/a computer – and perhaps quirkily enough, an actual photo album
  • updating people on my relationship status, what I’ve had for tea, how I’m feeling, where I’m going or where I’ve been – if I feel the need to share this information with anyone, I can call them, text them, e-mail them – but I don’t usually…

Hell, I think I’d be more likely to send a letter than I would be to join Facebook.

I have friends, I like them. We meet up often enough, we talk a lot, we text frequently. But they don’t tell me – and I don’t want to know – what they’ve had for tea, what’s on their iPod right now, how they’re feeling every minute of every day etc. etc. [insert additional inane information here]

What really repels me about Facebook is the inability to maintain distance. I like to go home, shut my door and decompress at the end of the day. I don’t want 300+ ‘friends’ in my living room with me clamouring to tell me nothing I want to hear.

And ‘friends’ by the way? Random acquaintances, everyone you hated at school and forgot and now pretend to like, or people from school who say they like you but really want to have a nosy round your life and compare it to theirs – probably unfavourably, ex partners who you stalk or who stalk you, or even the ex-partners of your current partner – or what I can’t get my head around – people who live next door, who you work with, friends you see every day – I mean, really, is there anything else left to say? No. Certainly nothing of value.

And don’t get me started on the ‘number of friends’. I mean who has ‘1097 friends’ in their lifetime, let alone at once? A definition in need of revision I think, Facebook. The people referred to in the previous paragraph do not qualify as ‘Friends’ in my world.

It’s exhausting. Communicating 24/7. Whatever happened to the beauty of silence? Reflection? The ability to be alone not only physically but virtually, mentally. Have we become that socially dependent that even when we’re not talking, we have to think out loud?

The virtual has become more like the actual than ever before. You socialise virtually with people you actually know. The Internet, a tool that can expand horizons has effectively, with the rise of Facebook, narrowed them down to  ‘Likes’, ‘Walls’ and ‘Status Updates’.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not going to war wholesale on all Social Media – I believe that it’s good to meet people, talk to people, broaden your perspective on life etc. but surely we can do that in a much better way than recycling our interactions with people we already know and perhaps don’t even really like.

I don’t talk to all of my friends in the same way. Everyone in my life knows me in different ways and therefore knows different things about me. I can’t ever imagine telling someone at work about my relationship status, issues, emotional wellbeing – whilst at the same time I can’t imagine telling someone from school who I haven’t spoken to in fifteen years what I’ve had for tea. It’s exposing, it’s unnecessary and to me, it’s just unthinkable.

If I don’t have your phone number, your address or your e-mail address (or you don’t have mine) then newsflash – I don’t want to talk to you – let alone tell you about my life/hear about yours.

There are 1.3 billion non-active Facebook users out there, so it is comforting to know I’m not alone but I think it’s safe to say out of the 2.4 billion internet global users, I’ll be looking for the 2.4 billion minus anyone I know personally to interact with via alternative social media.

And please, if you’re reading this and we ever do get to know each other/exchange e-mails etc. don’t ever ask me to join Facebook or to be your ‘friend’.