Saturday 19 January 2019

Melanie Morris: Why I'm unfriending Facebook (and I'm not the only one)

Facebook, it's not me -- it's you! And it seems, I'm not alone.

I was beginning to feel a bit guilty for neglecting my Facebook page. I'd been leaving increasing lengths of time between status updates. I haven't uploaded a photo in yonks and I'd not looked at my 'events calendar' in, quite literally, years.

My farm is overgrown, my cafe deserted. And if truth be known, I've barely bothered looking at my live feed.

Yes, I've been a bad Facebook friend, because it's all become a bit of a chore.

I'm glad to see I'm not alone in thinking this. A survey, released earlier this week, revealed hundreds of thousands are getting bored and abandoning the social network site.

Last night, my niece texted me, asking why I hadn't gotten back to her; that she was coming to Dublin and wanted to hook up. Suddenly I felt a flash of guilt. I'd seen notice of her private message on my email, but hadn't gone near Facebook because I knew I'd have to wade through pages of spam about club nights, special offers, requests to 'like' pages and gig notices before I'd find what I wanted. Easier to ostrich.

Right now, to my shame, I have 272 unopened messages on my Facebook, some as much as three years old.

And it's a vicious circle. Of my 189 pending friend requests, I'd say 60pc would result in a further deluge of sales pitches from people or companies I know little about.

It's all got too much like hard work. There was a time when it was fun to log on to Facebook; to see candid photos from friends' riotous nights out, or to silently stalk the one or ones that got away.

Now, everyone's gotten far too cautious, vetting their page content in fear their boss/granny/former headmaster might get a glimpse into part of their lives they may not want to share.

What's worse, those who are incredibly self-obsessed can now download a Facebook programme which tell them you've been visiting their profile. Multiple times. Agh.


Bet let's be frank. When your former maths teacher sends you a friend request, it's time to bow out. Equally, when you find yourself deleting wall posts because you're worried what you ex- boyfriend's mum might think, Facebook has no longer become the fun waste of time we loved it for. (I'd also ask why did you 'friend' your ex's mum, but that's another story).

Facebook, we've had great times, but they are becoming less and less often. My fiance Trevor put his finger on it when he pointed out it's because the site hasn't moved on. Like Bebo or Myspace, it was great for a while, but there's nothing new to do on it now.

And that's true. We're bored of uploading (heavily censored) photos, we've played all the games we're interested in, we've bitched about those who constantly post status updates, we've poked, liked, left a comment and wished people we'd otherwise have forgotten about a happy birthday.

It seems we've peaked with our interest in Facebook. I know I mightn't go on it from one end of the week to the other these days, while I used to be hooked.

Instead, I've discovered mobile gaming. I spent last Sunday downloading and completing Peggle on my iPhone.

I think I'm the last person on the planet to discover this game, but since becoming a "Peggle Master" I've found quite a lot of other Peggle addicts. Next on my list is Bejewelled. I know, it's been around for ages too, but hey, I've been up to my eyes with Facebook till now.

Come in Facebook, your time is up. There seems a whole new digital world out there for me to discover.

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