I like Facebook because:
I can upload photos of my children and share them with my family. For example I tagged my sister in pictures of my weekend in Bristol. So she can show them to my Mum. I love the in the moment nature of these kinds of photos, and I love to share them.
I can keep connected to old friends that live all over the world. It means a great deal to me to be able to see how they are and what they are up to. It makes me feel much closer to them.
I love the ridiculous banter that I can have with people who share a common love of Victoria Wood, the 80's, Friends and who get my sense of humour. I love to laugh, and there's not a lot of that around here at the moment.
I love the flippancy of it. I often chuckle to myself at the ridiculous personal statuses I put up. I'm like that. I often laugh at my own jokes.
I can speak to people through the inbox system in real time. In private.
I don't like Facebook because:
It can be used as a place to bully and intimidate people.
I am not too keen on the 'my perfect life' illusion that seems prevalent in all media.
There is a lot of stalking that goes on, when one person quietly watches someone else from the sidelines, flicking through the pages of their life. That's kind of weird. I did it myself once. It felt wrong but it also felt strangely compelling. I never did it again.
It can be used to float an open ended comment that can be harmful or hurtful.
It is easily accessed by young children, who aren't mature enough to engage with social media of this kind.
Equally it can be accessed by adults, who aren't mature enough to engage either.
There are those who would use it for unethical and evil purposes.
I joined Facebook in 2009, in order to connect with old Uni chums. I have 151 friends, and apart from a couple of imaginary characters (a long story), they are all people that I know. I don't go searching for blasts from the past. I couldn't care less what old boyfriends are doing, for example. I do like to look at any photos that people post up. Even those people that I haven't seen for the longest time. I don't think I have ever fired off a bitchy, sarcastic or a 'you know it's directed at you, even though I haven't mentioned you by name' post. I'm more likely to stew in my own head about whatever is bothering me, rather than use Facebook as a place to air my grievance. It's cowardly, and although I am a coward I'm not that sort of coward.
Some of my friends can get very political, and it can get annoying. But I scroll down. They have chosen to use Facebook as a platform to voice their views and opinions, and that's fine by me. I don't have to read it if I don't want to, and I would imagine that's fine by them. I'm sure there are those that scroll past me. I mean not everyone is as fascinated by my three year old as I am. I admit to feeling a little hot under the collar at the 'my perfect life' statuses. But I have also been accused of portraying that right here. I guess we see and read what we want to in that moment.
My eldest son has been on Facebook for about three years. We agreed to him having an account. It was one of those Xbox moments; As a parent you hate them, but you let them have them. And them you moan when they spend all their time on them. I won't let my middle son access Facebook. He is too young. I have had friend requests from children as young as seven. I don't accept their requests. I can't accept what I don't condone. Even as I write that I have remembered that I am friends with my nephew. He is 9. Inconsistent. That's me.
Alfie has a mobile phone, and therefore he can text or talk to anyone he wants to. He also has Internet access. With relevant parental controls. I'm not comfortable with him having a phone. I'm not sure children are responsible enough to use them wisely and appropriately. But I like that I can check in on him when he is out and about. And, you know, everyone has a phone. Everyone. And I bow to peer pressure and oughts and shoulds all the time. Letting him have a phone is one of those times. I'm completely normal, mundane, fallible and obvious in that respect I'm afraid. The second shot in my foot.
But I digress...
I realise that I am too reliant on Facebook. I spend an awful lot of time on my own, and it has become a way of engaging with the world. A very lazy way. In the same way as it is easier to text than phone. Or email. And when was the last time I wrote a letter? 1993? And so today I am wondering. I am wondering whether I could walk away from it. Could I take myself off Facebook for a whole month? And if I do that should I take myself off every form of social media? I don't use Twitter. I don't have Instagram. I don't use Snap Chat or Ask.fm or anything else. Pinterest was a five minute wonder. But I do have this blog, and it is a social platform of sorts. So if I junk Facebook, do I also junk Today's Stuff? Could I junk it?
I would really appreciate your feedback and comments.