Do you actually know anyone that isn’t on Facebook, or hasn’t been at one time? I’m not sure that I do! My entire family and all of my friends are regular users, and I was too up until a few months ago. My account is presently deactivated.While I have fallen out of love with Facebook (we were so close in the beginning, I couldn’t wait to get home and spend time with it), I can’t discount all the good things about it. After all, it has revolutionised the way that we communicate. People from anywhere in the world can be part of a community. It doesn’t discriminate – it is a platform for anyone to have an opinion and be heard. If a person has access to the internet, they need never be lonely again! You can communicate with other people on Facebook 24/7, pretty much anywhere on the planet.
In the beginning it felt like a close-knit community, and logging on and having a rant about my day or having a laugh about something embarrassing that I may have done was a bit like being part of an extended family. It was enjoyable and entertaining and personal. It added another dimension to my friendships and had a sort of virtual lets-meet-for-drinks-after-work-and-unwind feel to it. All of my ‘friends’ were exactly that, or family.
So why did I fall out of love? Same old story – I didn’t feel special any more It didn’t happen overnight, we just grew apart. Friend invitations popped up from work colleagues, acquaintances that I hardly knew, and people that found me just based on my ‘likes.’ It wasn’t long before I found myself filtering what I posted in an attempt to keep my not so close ‘friends’ from knowing too much about me. I began to resent that if I didn’t keep abreast of all the changes that Facebook kept making on privacy settings, that the information that I posted could potentially be seen by anyone. Next came the bombardment of invitations to play games; a newsfeed full of blurbs telling me who ‘liked’ what particular product/song/group and hundreds of memes – basically; my friends were replaced with stuff. The friendly community that I used to enjoy was long gone. To see my friends’ newsfeeds I had to actually go to their timelines.
At first when I pulled the plug on my Facebook account, it felt strange. My nightly habit of many years of logging on to see if anyone had posted anything important was not as easy to break as I had imagined; but after a while I realised that while the early years on this social network had been fun, the last few years had become a bit of a chore.
I have heard that Facebook is rolling out some new changes soon based on user feedback. One of these changes involves the newsfeed. Rather than having the standard newsfeed, users can select alternative feeds. This includes an option for one which shows the updates posted by friends rather than just the ones selected by Facebook’s algorithms. So, will these changes tempt me back? No, I don’t think so, not right now. I have found something new to add to my evenings and am having too much fun deciding how to best use my 140 characters.