This may not be the most original title I could’ve chosen, considering that it is the title of a movie as well as a Phil Collins album, neither of which I’ve watched or listened to, but I found it suitable today.
For the very first time since joining, I am seriously considering shutting down my Facebook account. I’ve closed it temporarily when I was very upset with someone, very upset indeed. But I got over it and always thought there are merits for a traveller like myself to have Facebook and keep in touch with those friends that I made overseas.
If we would actively keep in touch outside of liking each others posts and occasionally commenting on them, it might be worth keeping. But mostly we are not.
I spend about 15 minutes per day going through my news feed, which isn’t even showing everyone, because I’ve hidden a number of people who I ended up becoming annoyed with. Just because our politics differ, doesn’t mean I don’t want to be friends with you. I simply chose not to be exposed to your views on certain things.
I’ve never been a big “poster” on Facebook and rarely share things unless I find them really cool or really noteworthy in some way. Vice versa I generally only like posts and comments made by others, if I find them particularly funny or I’m in complete agreement. There is no “dislike” button after all.
Then there’s this funny phenomenon about social media that was brought to my attention on Tumblr the other day. If I loose a Facebook friend, I don’t find myself very upset, especially when I don’t it notice for a while and then can’t tell who it might’ve been, because we’ve not seen each other in years anyway and have had no contact whatsoever.
However, if I loose a follower on one of my blogs I grow worried and maybe even feel insulted, because someone just wordlessly left when I would’ve wished they’d tell me why. Isn’t that strange?
A person I neither know nor have ever met should have the decency of telling me that I’m not writing well enough, or they don’t find my posts interesting enough anymore to follow me. Or maybe I’ve offended someone with my views.
I have just over 60 followers in total, which is a surprisingly large number. I have almost a hundred friends on Facebook and whenever I find myself with more than a hundred friends, I start saying goodbye to people and “unfriend” them.
It is sheer vanity to be proud of the number of people that follow my blogs.
There, I said it.
But aside from getting an ego boost whenever someone starts following me, I need you, dear reader, for more than that. I write for myself, but I also write to be read. Claiming anything else would be a lie. You need to keep me in check. I know you are there, so I make an extra effort to write well and get better at it.
I’m my own worst critic, but if you ever chose to talk to me and tell me what you think, you could exert some serious influence. None of you have the power to bring me down or insult me. But you may have the power to sway me one way or another.
And this right here brings me back to my initial problem. I wouldn’t say any of this on Facebook. Incidentally this will get posted to my Facebook feed via Tumblr, but my friends (most of them anyway) don’t actually read my posts.
It’s strange how one somehow expects their friends to read what one writes and be supportive, but since this is sometimes so darn personal, I feel safer talking to a largely anonymous audience.
You don’t know who I am, but reading through this blog you potentially know more about me than most of my friends.
One last reason I am considering to shut down Facebook is this: it would force me to write more emails in order to actually stay in touch with those people I really do want to stay in touch with. I very much miss quite a few of my friends that live in Australia, New Zealand and North America.
I am pretty sure that when I go on my big trip next year in order to visit as many of them as I can, I may very well see them for the very last time in my life. Unless they make the effort of coming to visit me.
No social media platform on the internet can ever substitute real life. Liking something I said on Facebook will never replace the joy of seeing you again after months or years have passed, the closeness of a hug and the familiarity of shared laughter over inside jokes.
I’ve not decided yet, but eventually I will. Though I won’t just disappear.
There are better ways to stay in touch with your friends than Facebook. But it will mean that you won’t be staying in touch will all those gazillions of people that you used to collect like stamps.
If someone is meant to walk through life with you, the internet will neither keep them away from you nor help hold them close. Because no ocean in the world would be wide enough to keep you apart.