At least once a year, I think about ending it. I think about all the things that just aren’t working for me, and I wind myself up into a state of negativity. Thing is, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, but it’s a big brave step to take any action.
When I start to feel this way, I tend to let things simmer away, before suddenly remembering all the reasons why I haven’t left yet; reasons which, so far, are enough to make me stay.
I’m talking about you, Facebook. You and your gnarly, addictive, poisonous ways. You and your strange electronic ability to reduce a mature, intelligent person like myself into a social-media groupie.
I’m sorry, but there are some things that really bug me about you, and it’s high time I told you (for both our sakes).
I hate it when you suggest a page I might like. I’m sorry, Logitech, but I have no interest in liking your page. Tony’s Tyre Service…you’re not even in Dunedin, so fat lot of use that little click would be.
I despise the way people hijack someone else’s status as a way to vent, or settle a score, or argue with another commenter. There’s a time and a place, people, and someone’s innocent status is not that. I once saw a friend write that she’d had a rough day with her two kids, and that she was very glad when her husband got home. Sounded like a reasonable way to feel, but someone’s comment about “you should try being a solo mum” really got my hackles up. The status wasn’t meant to offend, it was just a tired mum expressing how she felt, but the reaction of one person soured everything. I was sorely tempted to jump in to my friend’s defence, but that would just have added fuel to the fire, and I wasn’t prepared to do that.
And those show offs who say, “Oh yey, it’s on Facebook now, I’ve been waiting for you to announce this…” – it’s wonderful that they’ve been a confidante, but they don’t need to rub it in everyone else’s face that they knew before it became public knowledge.
It bothers me that things are so easy to misconstrue, and that it’s hard to express the necessary emotion without an excess of exclamation marks and smiley faces. Unless you know someone well in real life, you don’t necessarily read the sarcasm, irony or excitement in a status, and trying to explain yourself often just ends up looking like you’ve gone on the defensive, even when you haven’t.
My blood boils a little when friends write a little teaser…ooooh, I get stabby. When someone wrote, “…and then there were four…”, I wasn’t the only one who thought this was an announcement of pregnancy, and the response that showed he knew exactly how people would view that status made me seethe. Little surprise, then, that when the real announcement of pregnancy was made, numerous people said, “Is it actually you this time??” Then there was the friend who said that he was going to cut off his dreads…then that he had cut them off…JUST POST A PHOTO ALREADY!! Don’t expect me to beg for one though.
Those statuses that are just begging for sympathy or an ego-stroke, but are more cryptic than a crossword…Facebook, I think you might be overselling your psychic abilities here. If someone is depressed, angry, sad, excited, lonely…tell me, and I’ll be there to listen, but I won’t play any silly guessing games if they’re not prepared to come straight out and say what’s going on. Maybe other people like to play detective…but not me. Unless it sounds serious, in which case I will certainly pick up the phone or send a message privately.
It freaks me out the way you now ask how I’m feeling, or what’s going on. It’s like you’re watching. Stop it. Please.
Having said all this, Facebook, you do have some redeeming features. And I’m fully aware that most of my gripes are to do with Facebook users, not you yourself, but you help to foster the actions that make me cringe.
Anyhoo, I like that you allow me to easily share photos with family and friends who live far away; my brother and sister, and sister-in-law, wouldn’t see their nephews growing up if it weren’t for you.
I like that you’ve allowed me to re-connect with old friends, and to keep in touch when I don’t have the time to send an email. And I like it very much that through you, I’ve been able to connect on a more personal level with a handful of my favourite bloggers. That’s pretty cool, really.
And I like it that I can show my support for small, local businesses, as well as for bigger corporations. The ones I choose to like, obviously, not the ones you suggest.
So for now, Facebook, I’m sticking with you. But you should know that our relationship is rocky, and that we’re going to have to work pretty hard at it if it’s going to work out in the long run.