I am anti-Facebook, and I have lots of reasons for this. Facebook is so ubiquitous that it has begun to homogenise human interaction. Sites like Facebook have monopolised the internet, which was supposed to be democratic, according to Timmy, the founder of the World Wide Web himself. Facebook is encouraging us all to stalk each other, removing the mystery of meeting people and interacting with people spontaneously and feeding certain dangerous personality types. According to a few scientific studies, Facebook is decreasing our attention spans. We have started to expect boring old print media – and literature even – to be dumped onto social media and chopped up for easy and instant comprehension.
But, whatever, all of this is subjective, and you’ve heard all of these lazy criticisms before. Shut the hell up, granddad. Maybe we’ve always all been like this, somehow. And anyway, essentially, my real reasons for being so anti-Facebook date back to my teenage years. I communicated things to friends via Facebook that I should have communicated using face-to-face interactions, all because I was capable of hiding behind the keyboard. I abused someone I thought had ‘stolen’ my girlfriend, which talking to him in real life would easily have cleared up. I told someone that I had been having very negative thoughts, worrying him incessantly, something I should have done without the veil of the Book. As a result, Facebook carries awful connotations for me – it hearkens back to a time when I was a lot younger and too afraid to talk to people fully in real life (I got Facebook when I was about thirteen, eight years ago). I’ve been a lot happier since not having it.
And so, I have constructed endless articles against Facebook in my head, where I bombastically encourage everyone to leave Facebook and start living again, to find anew the world of experience they’re missing by being so constantly plugged in to everything. Articles about how every time you withdraw into Facebook, you lose the full awareness of a “real-life” moment, and the needless background noise of the Facebook news feed is actually obstructing you from just living.
In one of these mental articles, I would talk about E.M. Forster’s short story ‘The Machine Stops’, which depicts a dystopia in which a machine apparently fulfills all our human needs, only for a character to rediscover the simple pleasure of running around some hills and finding a more colourful version of life. In another, I would skillfully put down various societies, such as the Vegetarian and Vegan Society and Fringe Society, for apparently not existing outside of Facebook and not bothering to use the e-mail account given to them by YUSU even every now and again. In yet another, I would rally against the fact that I had to get a small fake account, just to provide the society I chair with “much-needed Facebook presence”.
Yet all of these articles would do no good. And, so, my real anti-Facebook article has watered itself down into a desperate plea. Look, we may be irritating poseurs with badly-constructed goat beards, who have made the utterly stupid choice to take ourselves off the radar in spite of our better judgment and the thrust of modernity. You may pray that we crash our ludicrous fixed-gear bicycles into any embracing oncoming traffic. But please do not isolate us from society completely just yet. Invite us to parties every now and again by in person, by text or by post. Or we’ll cry.