I was watching Gogglebox on Friday night at home, with my laptop open, drinking wine and having a fabulous time, when I posted on Facebook something about one of the characters I was watching. About 10 minutes later I posted about something else that had made me laugh on the programme, and a friend wrote under it "That's it, you're officially unfollowed."
I thought they'd been offended by what I'd posted, and confused, I said to Chris "Is what I said that bad?" -- and he was all like "No mate, he probably finds it annoying how much you post on there. It can't be a surprise to you, can it? Surely you know how much you overshare?"
He carried on. "Yeah, all my mates think you post WAY too much. They all hide your notifications."
I slammed the laptop shut. "OH RIGHT. Like I care anyway! WHATEVER, YOU BELLEND!" and stomped off to bed, where I then deleted my Facebook account because I am totally rational and not at all a woman of extremes. I think I cried. In my defence, I'd had some wine and I was what Perez Hilton would call "tired and emotional."
I felt so slighted that not every human on the planet thinks that everything that comes out of my brain is hilarious or worthy of note that I decided that Facebook was full of arseholes and that I didn't want to be "friends" with people who didn't like my posts. I then also thought about the huge proportion of my "friends" on the site that were actually really only vague acquaintances and people I went to school with who I haven't spoken to in over a decade. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that I'd become this elusive mystery woman who suddenly vanishes from social media, leaving a trail of questions in her wake.
"Yeah!" I thought. "I'll be one of those cool people who are way too busy having a life to go on social media. I'll snark on people who have Facebook accounts and be all like 'No I don't have an account, actually' when people ask about it. I'll be one of those people who rolls their eyes at people for posting more than once a day, 'Eugh, do they have nothing better to do?' I'll say to my friends. I'll become the ANTI-ME."
I then thought perhaps I was overthinking it and I should probably just get on with life.
It's probably no surprise to you, considering I write about my life for a website, that I enjoy interacting on the Internet. I enjoy engaging in comment sections. I read blogs. I love Twitter, I post photos on Instagram and get lost down a Reddit rabbit hole pretty regularly. I love the instant conversations with people I never met, but know better than some people I grew up with.
When I joined Twitter in 2008, I did the thing that every new member does, and used it to just shout into the abyss. Soon though, I worked out how to get involved in conversations and made some pretty good friends. Those friends are now people who I am more likely to have a conversation with than some of my own family. Twitter made the world smaller for me, and I love it.
Facebook is like Twitter's uncool cousin. On Twitter, you follow people you're really interested in. On Facebook, you politely befriend people you think you should, people you're not really interested in what they say -- old schoolfriends who you now have nothing in common with. Distant relations with whom you share nothing but some DNA. Your partner's friends, who you have regular pass-agg encounters with, who you suspect like you as little as you like them.
I thought I'd feel free, free of the trappings of all of these people knowing my business, and me knowing theirs - all the mundane day-to-day activities filling my brain as I mindlessly scroll through the news feed while on the bus or train to work. I'd also be free of all the advertising, free of being part of such a huge monster. I'd suddenly be unavailable and most importantly, I wouldn't be the butt of anyone's jokes. Oversharing? WHATEVER, GUYS. It's not as though I actually wanted to "like" Facebook. Liking Facebook is like admitting you like Coldplay. I didn't like Facebook! I just happened to be on it a lot!
Do you know what happened, though? I found out that I actually really love it and I'm not even sorry.
I didn't last very long with a deactivated account, for a few reasons. Firstly, I woke up and couldn't scroll through the news feed, seeing what everyone had been up to overnight. I like doing this! I enjoy seeing what my friends in America have been doing while our side of the world sleeps. I like seeing the photos of Claire's dogs, and her cocktails. I like reading the drunken statuses of people leaving the clubs at 5 am, before they're swiftly deleted later in the day. I like seeing what people have planned for the day. I like seeing photos of people's breakfast. SORRY.
I then set out for the day, and found my bus journey pretty boring. I'd forgotten my book, so I sat and looked out of the grubby window for a while, thinking that this is what I should be doing. Taking in the surroundings! Enjoying the natural beauty of the world! Well, London Road in Brighton is really not that great to look at. I saw a man do a wee down an alley way in broad daylight though, so there's that. Oh and I saw a seagull eat some vomit at a bus stop too. I then thought that was pretty funny and wanted to share this observation with the world, until I remembered I wasn't doing that anymore, because I am MYSTERIOUS. If a seagull eats some vomit and there's no-one there to tell, did it happen after all?
I also had plans in the evening for a friend's birthday, which was all arranged on Facebook. When I got my phone nicked, I never replaced all the numbers because I am lazy, so didn't have numbers to call and check plans. I had to get Chris to make plans on my behalf, which is always a worry because he is rubbish at stuff like that. Long story short, I was STRESSED OUT.
My life was not improved by being Facebook-less. I enjoy being part of a community that I can instantly access at the touch of my phone screen. I like being able to make plans easily. I like that I can look back over 6 years of my life easily. I like checking in with people and I like also posting photos of my own breakfast. If that annoys you, UNFRIEND ME. I shall continue to post three times a day if I so wish. I will update everyone with all the mindless drivel that I see fit. I like Facebook. I am uncool, and I'm cool with that. And do you know what's even worse? I like Coldplay, too.
Natalie posts WAY TOO MUCH on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM