Why I’ll Never Forgive Facebook

An email pops into my inbox. A stale alert informs me a particularly active friend has, yet again, posted to a group we both belong to. I quickly jump windows on the screen, sighing and eye rolling, to perform the ritualistic set of clicks simply to get that annoying little blue-boxed 1 to go away from the left column of my Facebook homepage.

I realized, then: I hate Facebook. Any residual questioning, any attempt to salvage the positives – I can maintain the illusion I’m “in touch” with high school friends! I can easily invite people to come drink heavily at my apartment! I look so cool in those disposable camera photos!- had all together evaporated. I hate Facebook. Recently viewing the admittedly good, if over-hyped, The Social Network and reading through some of Mark Zuckerberg’s nasty college day IM messages sealed the deal. Facebook has moved into my bedroom, uninvited, rearranged my furniture, and decided who else is allowed to come and go, without any conversation with me.

I hate the way an aesthetically stagnant interface demands so much of my visual energy. The notifications seem to be constantly alerting me of the most mundane things. Events I won’t go to, notes I won’t read, spam-y wall posts promising impossible deals: much of the activity that clogs up my daily digital dawdling comes from people who have very little influence IRL. Beyond the now gratingly boring task of staring at that virtual world of just-so blue, there’s a whole world of still confusing ways Facebook has restructured the way I think about myself, the way others think about me, they way I think about them, and thus, the way we can all connect in the real world.

Did Zuckerberg think about how his jerk-off of a new media project would radically change the way we understand ourselves a human beings?  We now know his asshole tendencies definitely anticipated some kind of world takeover, but did he really get it? Did he anticipate that unquenchable awkwardness when you walk past a “friend” from a coked up night at a sticky loft party and neither of you have the guts to say hey? What would he say about trying to find the right way to tell your Dad, wading waywardly through the bog of post-divorce bewilderment, that he’s got to change his status from “married to” your mother? What about the babies around us, growing up with their entire life the digital property of a questionable international media corporation by the proud if disconcerting attempts of well meaning parents trying to share and remember the joy of childhood in a way less time consuming than scrap booking? What does it mean when people can comment on your image, like it or not, before you can even speak? How are you supposed to handle your nostalgic family insisting that past relics of your now deceased grandfather, your overweight childhood years, the intimate pajama’ed play of siblings be relived, rehashed in the most public of ways?

I worry about these things, as I do many things. Granted, there is always the obvious option: opt out, shut it down, quit Facebook and rid myself of its unrelentingly influence. But its harder than it sounds. I can’t just say no. I’m too deep in the game. Facebook has literally remapped the makeup of my life, marked me and the people I love, if in less a dramatic way than a full color sleeve tattoo. But its pretty damn close. And I just don’t think I can forgive Zuckerberg for it, ever, even with his trendy newfound responsible food politics.

I’ve taken steps. I’ve deleted every friend from my news feed, denying the little blurbs that shout from my homepage, tempting my fragile attention span like a snake devil and an apple. I check once a day, max, take care of messages, posts, untagging and tagging, all in one sitting and then that’s it. Usually. I rarely use the media to share interesting articles, new music, or images, preferring instead the good old fashioned email or the somehow less threatening tweet. I find myself less and less interested in posting anything. Although, I’ll admit the skip-of-a-beat thrill of finding myself tagged is hard to kill. And who can resist the sweet self-affirming glow of a person who wants to publicly declare me as one of chosen, inducted into the elite group of their 900+ friends?

In the end, though, I’m left with what feels like a chore of up keeping my digital identity, navigating a whole additional, complicated sphere of interpersonal connection, while Mark laughs in the face of lawsuits that toss around one or two of his inconsequential millions. What’s the real cost? I don’t have the algorithms to figure it out. TC mark

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  • xuene

    I'm not sure I agree with this article, but I definitely love it to bits and pieces. Really made me think.

  • Megan Conery

    It's actually quite difficult to completely delete your facebook account. You can deactivate it pretty easily, but that is really just like taking a break because as soon as you log in again its back and running like nothing ever happened. If you want to completely delete your account you have to sift through your account settings until you find a 'delete' button. Then if you do actually take the drastic step of 'deleting' your facebook account, facebook makes you wait 2 weeks, during those 2 weeksyou aren't allowed to log in at all or the entire process is null and void. Only after 2 weeks of no access is your facebook identity officially gone. Not completely gone, because all that information you logged in before deleting is still the property of facebook, and they can do whatever they want with it.

  • Julia

    What gets me is how much of people's lives they allow to be chronicled online and nowhere else. I can make a scrapbook and keep it on a shelf in my house, or in my attic, or wherever, and it will always be there. But a digital entity is finite — at some point facebook will go out of business, or a new site will overtake it, and what will happen to the dozens of photo albums that are on there?

    I just don't trust the internet, ultimately.

    • PhermonousFan

      Trust the anonymity of the internet. Don't trust the ethics of Facebook.

  • Ted

    Another article about facebook? Do you know you're less skillfully rehashing the same things everyone else says?

  • Rob

    What's with these kinds of articles?  You seem to get it … but really, people need to stop over-using Facebook and it's amazing what seems to be the willpower required to do so.  Stop “friending” people you don't give a damn about, and who probably don't give a damn about you.  That solves much of the “problem” people have with FB.

    People will get it, eventually … the same way we've exploded into this idea of making so much public, it will implode upon the idea of “hey, maybe whole world doesn't really care as much as we want to think.”

  • Brendafager

    You're a hypocrite!  You're like the person that clumsily spills their coffee from McDonalds, burns their 'hooha', and then blames McDonalds because their 'hot beverage' is!!!!!  Shut it off or shut up!!

    • Rob NY

      It's not that easy is it? We live in a world that DEMANDS our electronic presence.

      • Lola

        No we don't, for Facebook at least. That's a shitty excuse. I know plenty of people my age who don't have Facebook or have left, and still remain social, functioning adults. Very few people I know actually have Twitter. Other ways to communicate, such as texting, calling, and god forbid, holding actual physical conversations, and emailing still exist, you know. 

        Hating on Facebook is so passe. Imagine how much we can accomplish if we directed the amount of energy we expend on Facebook-hating and Mark Zuckerberg-hating to a worthier cause. On Gawker there seems to be dozens of people who seem to know every minute detail of the latest Facebook development and Zuckerberg's lawsuits, and I doubt they know as much about say, Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy or the state of our economy.

         Leave the annoying group you're in. Don't answer your friend's FB message if it isn't necessary. Stop subscribing to all the useless stuff. If you don't have the power to resist, STFU.

  • xra

    dude i check facebook like twice a week… it's possible

  • Rachel Butters Scotch

    Delete your Facebook, move to the woods, read Walden, become a martyr for your people. Whisper to the trees in the dead of night: “I have won.”

  • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com Aja

    Just quit it.  You'll feel better.  Promise!

  • http://twitter.com/jkymarsh J. Ky Marsh

    Another really good read. Can't say I disagree with any of the points made. But you're right, it is rather difficult to return to a life of minimal social media presence after experiencing something like Facebook. Sure is tempting, though…

  • smh

    If you really dislike facebook – I dare you to shut the Thought Catalog fan page down. We'll see how much you hate facebook after that.

  • http://blackmoonclan.tumblr.com Kelsea

    I hate it too. I especially hate the new chat/message thing works. My ex boyfriend messages me to ask how I've been doing, and, BAM, I can read all of our past “OOOOHH I MISS YOU SOOOO MUCHH!!!” messages. No more sifting through hundreds of messages–I can feel regret (or possibly disgust) in a matter of seconds! Whoopee!

    • Poppy

      I hate this, too. Some things are not meant to hang around and haunt you forever.

  • Jetplane

    The saddest thing for me is that while I was reading the article, all I wanted to do was check my facebook.

  • Miranda

    I think a lot of the stuff people complain about in re: Facebook is caused by friending too many people. Go through your friends, delete everyone you don't regularly interact with or think about, and you'll probably find yourself much happier.

  • http://twitter.com/laputanwmachine Thomas Johnson

    I deleted mine. You can too. Join me.

  • http://hotfemmeinthecity.wordpress.com/ natasia

    If you don’t like facebook, then get rid of your account. Sometimes life is simple. 

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/kate-harveston/2018/04/if-you-havent-been-following-heres-what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-facebook/ If You Haven’t Been Following, Here’s What The Hell Is Going On With Facebook | Thought Catalog

    […] with the Cambridge Analytica scandal still fresh in the public memory, it’s unlikely anyone feels very confident in their dealings with Facebook these […]

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