Socialising, and media.

I have deleted my twitter and facebook accounts. Again.  This is the second time I’ve bombed my twitter, and probably the 4th deactivation of my Facebook. Problem being, that with such a dramatic act of defiance against new media, they keep your data sitting there, and you can go back at any time.

So I have. And probably will again.

I have a long history of a love/hate relationship with online communicating, starting with mIRC chatrooms back on dial-up in 1996. I have weaved a web of bulletin boards, forums, Facebook, Twitter, then Instagram. I’ve dabbled in others, but these are the big ones that seem to have stuck.

My latest theory is that the internet is positive when used for as a source of information gathering, but is destructive as a form of socialising. It’s not a nuclear bomb kind of destruction but rather something more drawn out, like asbestos in your ceiling or mercury in your teeth.

Facebook seems to have been the hardest to shake. As well as a simple friend network it’s my login for numerous other websites (the price of convenience – it’s easier than remembering a hundred different logins) and also a way to connect through work in a valid work type of way, it’s a family noticeboard, news platform and a mere distraction.  Once, after the initial frenzy of adding as many people as I possibly to could to grow my friends list into the hundreds of hundreds, I blitzed my friends list to under 100 close friends and family. It was a desperate move on my part because I was becoming obsessed with updates and wanted to break the spell. It worked temporarily but long term I think it damaged some key relationships – colleagues etc – who I had culled. They didn’t realise of course, that I had culled everyone. Just thought it was personal. Which it wasn’t, but then, they’ll never know that either.. All in all, not my best move.

Ultimately I ended back online, checking my media every half hour or so – and then Facebook changed their algorithm in an effort to maximise their profits. Fair enough, but I felt over time that I was missing out – I wasn’t seeing what my friends were up to… Some people were pushed to the top of my feed and they weren’t necessarliy people I wanted to connect with and I missed out on my actual friends, and then it all went over the top when a mature Aunt of mine unfriended a whole arm of the family (sorry. Aunty, but we’re still related – no button for that, Ha!) and my feed became mostly memes and radio station updates, and in the end it felt like I had no friends and this Social space suddenly felt entirely unsocial, so I blitzed it. Again.

It is an interesting social experiment – how can one survive without Facebook… how will I know what people are up to? Be informed of the soccer cancellations? Connect with my students from last year? Know how my friends are? Stay up to date with all my cousins?

Talk to them, I guess, or email, text, one on one communication without “The World” as our audience. Failing that, there’s always Instagram. (@annannannasmart)

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