My biggest bugbear. What’s right about this social media site? (Sorry, Mark Zuckerberg…)
It first made its appearance back in 2004 and was open to the above 13 years old public in 2006. At first, Facebook appeared to attract an adult market as a way to reconnect with old school friends, neighbours, colleagues and friends around the globe easily. Since then, there have been plenty of other sites and ways to keep in touch with those we don’t see everyday made, thus altering Facebook’s main purpose.
Now, it is primarily a place for people to make sure everyone they know by name or face has been informed of their latest meal, shopping trip, extravagant birthday party or night out… Yes, it could probably be said that this is the purpose of most social media platforms, but there is just something about Facebook that seems more annoying than the rest.
Perhaps it is just my biased views because I have had a terrible experience with Facebook. I joined Facebook as soon as I could (probably even sooner) because it was the only social media I was aware of and all the ‘cool kids’ had it. At this point, for my generation, the aim of Facebook was to collect as many ‘friends’ as you could by adding people you had seen around school, heard by name or who appeared as a mutual friend, and this was how popularity was established.
As time went on, I realised having everyone from my school, people I never spoke to, was pointless. I told myself it did not matter that I didn’t have as many ‘friends’ as some other people, but in reality, the only thing that did not matter was my view on this. The rules were already there; Facebook friends = popularity, like a simple sum to those around me. These days, it’s likes = popularity, and this is a feature of all social media sites that I despise. I am one of those people who will like everyone’s photos on Instagram (the only other site that is as like oriented as Facebook that I use) simply to be nice with very few exceptions – I’m strongly opposed to the content, too many of the same photos have been posted or I don’t believe the photo was taken by the poster. However, I do believe others are much more critical as they scrutinise through their timelines, judging the person far more than the post.
Facebook has also been a big source of cyberbullying through my time using it, for me and others. It does not use the simple ‘indirect’ method, but gets far more specific. And what’s worse is people will comment on that post, trying to publically find out the details of a person’s anger, upset or cruelty, which thus leads to further anger, upset or cruelty, often to the point where the person it is about has no choice but to get involved. Behind a screen, there is a barrier where you cannot see the person you’re hurting’s reaction. It is so easy to become detached from emotion as you type out, blank-faced, a message filled with as many insults your brain can think of, which is why it is so easy and so common to encounter cyberbullying.
(If anyone is suffering from the abuse of cyberbullying, I will be writing a post on bullying at a later date. But if there’s one thing you can learn from this particular post, it is that it really is easy to detach yourself from emotion online. Bullies want a reaction. Stay calm, reply calm and you’ll soon be laughing about it all later.)
A heated battle of words cannot accurately portray what is written on someone’s face or what is racing through that person’s mind. The written word also allows people to be more calculating with their responses. There is also a waiting game that forms, which means it isn’t really ‘heated’, is it? It is more of a bashing out a heated message, waiting, cooling off as time passes, and then, when the response you have been waiting for finally comes through, all the emotion comes flooding back.
Facebook is also the worst place for stalking. I’m sure everyone has done this at some point. Despite the talks in secondary school about internet safety, I know so many people whose profiles are open to the public. If I did that, it probably would not matter because I rarely to never post anything, but these days, you can find out everything about someone from finding their Facebook page.
Because I don’t use Facebook often, there is one thing I would love to open to discussion because I just don’t understand it. It is this: why is unfriending someone the biggest insult/shun people of the modern world can think of?
I have recently had to sit through my mum and her friends discussing whether or not to unfriend or block this person or that person for whatever reason and taking a very long time to decide upon answers, almost as if they are plotting murder. I have also been on the receiving end of being ‘unfollowed’ as the final straw to someone. When I was in that situation, I did not want bad blood between this person despite everything, and so I was not as quick to do the same, but then the time came where I thought, ‘Well, this is ridiculous, there’s no point,’ and gave up.
So, there you have it. Everything wrong with Facebook. I hate it, but I will continue to use it until group video calls comes back into fashion or good old meeting up in person.
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Until the next one…