Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Faced Off

At the risk of becoming a moaning blogger; I’m irritated again.

You see, the people to whom I'm closest are, I'm guessing, pretty much similar to those closest to you - they have their good days and their bad days. They’re often chipper and upbeat, sometimes depressed; regularly using gin as a crutch, and occasionally experiencing crises.

But my casual acquaintances are a different story.

I am sitting at work, mildly irritated, around 20 degrees cooler than I’d ideally like, and feeling racked with guilt about the £60 splurge I had in White Stuff last week. (Forgive me readers?)

But if I’m judging by their jolly old Facebook updates, their lives are one long sequence of breathtaking road trips, beach holidays, perfect weddings, exciting new jobs and adorable new babies. They are, in short, incredibly irritating, and I'd de-friend them in a second, except that it would be even more irritating to suspect them of having so much frivolity behind my back.

Everyone is on Facebook. It was once considered exotic, but now, if you are without an account, you are suspected of having something to hide. You are the kid at school who isn’t allowed sweets because they’ll rot your teeth, and your parents don’t let you watch TV. No scratch that, you don’t even have a TV. You, my (non-Facebook) friend, are an oddity.

But I have long thought that Disgracebook was a social nightmare. Anyone who has ever had a Facebook page will know what I mean. On signing up, you are asked to fill in a questionnaire. Under date of birth you are asked to fill in your favourite quotation (because obviously everyone has one of those); then what you are looking for: friendship; dating; a relationship; networking? In the good old days at least you were offered "random play".

It is a minefield. You can’t even leave. When you do try and delete your account, you are offered a range of brainwashing phrases about why you should stay in the happy land of social media. ‘Stay in touch’ with all range of people you’d probably ignore if you passed them in the street, by endlessly providing tiny updates on the minutiae of your life.

It turns out I am not alone in feeling annoyed, anxious and a complete failure. The researchers at Edinburgh Napier University have shown that using Facebook stresses you right out. In fact, the more time people spent on Facebook, the more anxious they became. Factors included, the dreaded ‘friend-envy’, tiresome stalking and resentment of anyone who seemed to be having a more fabulous time on the site.

Of course, we can't blame our quasi-friends, in the public-ish world of Facebook, for not wanting to reveal their disappointments and sadnesses, can we? But I think I want out. Perhaps I’ll just leave before the guilt of turning down a friend request gets too much.

On second thought, I can’t. The desire to update my status to ‘Rachel has just left Facebook’ is too strong.


  1. oh my god - TOTALLY! see for my take on the above.

    Rach i get you.

  2. Brilliant rach! I hate it when people use facebook to update everyone on every little un-interesting thing they are doing- who cares!!!

    Well said tho lady! Xxxxxx

  3. Do it! Leave the FriendFace flock and come hang with the oddities!

    One of us... One of us... One of us...