Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Facebook Suicide

I've finally done it, I feel liberated; I've permanently deleted my Facebook account.

It sounds ridiculous, but the damn thing depressed me. Once upon a time, it had been the Greatest Site in the World, a place to gather everyone I'd ever met (and those I hadn't) in one convenient place, and detailing my every fucking movement; (Fweng has finished work. Fweng is off to the pub. Fweng is trying to cope with a hangover).

In those heady early days, I wanted it to be mandatory for everyone to have their own Facebook account. It was great having a one-stop site to see everyone and catch up without actually going anywhere but slowly, imperceptibly at first, I began to loathe the place.

At first, all I really wanted was to reach 100 friends; proof that an average thirty-something male with his own hair could reach triple social figures and, pathetically, be 'popular'. I told as many people about it as I could - including my sister, and my Mum and Dad, then added them. They're not friends; they're lumbered with me forever. Friendship doesn't come into it. We're the closest of close relatives already (not that I actually see or talk to them, however.)

Finding and adding old schoolfriends was impossible to resist - until the whole thing felt a bit stalky and generally left well alone, apart from one guy, an old schoolfriend who I had fond memories of.

I contacted him through a Facebook email at first, a cheerful message of greeting. His reply was a little odd;
"Where are you now? What are you doing? Are you married?"

That was it. 'Hello' wouldn't have gone amiss.

Nonetheless, I answered his specific questions. He responded, 6% more warmly than before. We 'added' each other. I then saw his friends, 200 of them. Oh, okay. Hey look, there's about twenty lads from school here. Well I'm not going to contact them, as they used to - what's the word? - fucking hate me.

'Hey!' I thought, 'that's great! All these old guys from school are still in touch with each other.'
'Oh!' I noted, 'Even the guys from different groups who weren't friends back then all seem to be friends now. That's so nice.'
'Wow!' I exclaimed. 'A lot of them are married. Cool. And the ones that aren't are in relationships. That's just brilliant.'
'Hey, look!! There's a bunch of photos from their trip to Marbella when they were 16! That's odd, we were all friends then. I don't recall being invit-WHAT THE FUCK???

It didn't take me very long to feel sick to the very pit of my stomach. Here were the guys from my old school - wankers, to be blunt - all friends with each other, all getting on with their fabulous lives together with their fabulous wives or cute girlfriends. I had been the jolly fat kid at school - one who got spat at and shunned - those guys! - and, two decades later, Facebook reintroduced me to them. I was content with my life (just), until I was being reminded of their continued existence.
Never mind, time heals all wounds, people change, et cetera, et cetera.

"Don't write to me here," my old friend replied in a message. "Contact me at work - it's blah blah blah @"

So I did, a friendly catch-up email detailing what I was up to (nothing), where I'd been (nowhere), and who I was dating (no-one). Naturally, I ended by asking him how life was treating him.

That was about nine months ago, and I'm still waiting for a reply. If I was being honest, and I tend to on this blog, it irked me with a burning vibrancy - There. I've admitted it. I was only saying hello to one of the few blokes I got on with, yet eighteen years had passed and I was being shunned again - this time, without the spit (although I'm sure if spittle was included in those little Facebook gifts, they'd cover me in it.) Dammit, this was a bloody one-off hello, not an attempt to crowbar my way into their pointless fucking world!

I'm too old to get wound up by this trivial shit.

I spotted another guy there, another member of these Facebook guys I went to school with and liked, and contacted him too. He was friendlier than Richard - he emailed to say he remembered the cartoons I used to draw (even I forgot that) - and we exchanged another email. He too didn't bother replying when I asked him how he was either, but by then I was actually amused; I expected it. Clearly these guys are fucking petrified that I'm lonely and mad and desperate for human contact, rather like this chap...

There were other irks. In the right light, at the right angle, with the moon waxing and Saturn aligned with Venus, I might, after 5,000,000 pictures, look fairly non-repellent in a photo. Despite this, my real-life friends tagged pictures of me relentlessly; ones of me with three chins, ones of me looking bewildered and confused, ones of me looking like a corpse with its eyes open. One little tinker even tagged a photo of me for all to see; I was licking a TV screen that had prominently displayed, pornography.

And these photos kept coming.

But the final straw came last week when I discovered my lovely American ex-girlfriend had joined. We exchanged Facebook messages, which was pleasant, and I had a cursory glance at her friends. The only other Limey she knew had been her boyfriend immediately after me. She admitted long ago that after we'd split up, she rebounded onto an Englishman living in New York.

When I looked at his friends, I saw a couple of twats I went to school with.

The Jewish community is very close.

Except with me. I repel Jews. And Hindus. And Muslims, Jains, Christians, the irreligious, and even the desperate.
And don't get me started on women in general.

I simply had to leave Facebook. I was beginning to see little point in belonging to a site full of people who'd rather I wasn't there... people such as my lovely American ex-girlfriend.

In taking your collective advice from my comments box (my life is beginning to resemble the Truman Show), I decided to tell her how I feel about her. I didn't launch into it at first. I began by sending her a solitary email to say that I've left Facebook for good and we should keep in touch this way. I also added that I was planning a trip to the States (I'm not), and it would be nice to meet up for a coffee.

She hasn't replied.



Z said...

I've realised the fundamental difference between you and me - you still have this touching optimism and faith in your fellow man whilst I was born a cynical beast. Therefore, I'm often happily surprised, whilst you are doomed to disappointment.

I wouldn't touch Facebook with a bargepole. Some awful person I hardly remember will want to be my friend. My schooldays were mercifully behind me before you were born and I want no reminder of them. Never look back, darling. Either the past was better, which is depressing, or worse, which gives rise to miserable memories.

I've just realised that stories of your past make extremely entertaining posts. Hm. Write 'em all down, then let them go.

C said...

Facebook is the devil spawn. Its..unnatural. I have everything off and an empty profile. The only reason I haven't deleted myself is that its useful for spying on people and seeing who's spying on me.

frumhouse said...

Great post! It had me laughing. I too am thinking about deleting my Facebook account. It really only serves to remind me what a loser I am. Although, I did read a study that said the people with the most Facebook friends are the people with the fewest friends in real life who have time to surf around on Facebook rather than make active friends offline. :)

JamieSmitten said...

Why is it that the people who make your life hell in school still have that power years later? There ought to be a pill or bottle of something to cure it. Hooray for dead facebook accounts!

Dom said...

It's not so much facebook suicide as a temporary departure. You can still come back :D

The thing to remember with facebook (and, before it, friends reuinited) is that everybody lies. I remember writing on my friends reunited profile (really should update that give it's 7 years out of date :D ) how I was living with my long term girlfriend in my lovely house enjoying my great job.

The reality was I was working for an idiot, my relationship was a sham, the house needed a lot of work and the whole thing was driving me into a spiral of dispair. Of course my 'friends' didn't need to know this :D

I'm with Z here. Cynacism is the way forward. Assume the worst and you'll never be dissapointed. Takes a few months to get into it though, your first attempts at 'the worst' will fall well short. The other way is to just be crushed into not caring. Only when you have attained both states will you truely gain oneness with your life. [Note, oneness is not the same as happiness. Happiness is an illusion that simply leads to greater dispair.]

And to think, today I'm in a good mood :D

Vi said...

I've only really just started using mine, for the speed dating application. It's actually quite a blast, getting 3 minutes to chat to a total stranger. But I think you would take offence if the person shut you down before you even got to type one word saying hello!

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't give a shit about what your peers are up to, of course they are going to make like they are having a wonderful time of it arent they?

I've been reading this blog for months now, you have a way with words that is most entertaining. I just wish you'd cheer the fuck up :)

Clarissa said...

I am the complete opposite of you and Z. I still think I'm hopelessly happy and popular even though I have a total of like 5 facebook people linked to me.

Truthfully, I'm not a fan. Just another place in the Internets where time can be wasted.

Anonymous said...

Ur a cunt!

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Anonymous...something tells me that won't be especially groundbreaking news to dear fwenge.

On the subject of facebook - I'm definitely getting complacent with the whole thing. Currently pending friend requests on my page include a girl who bullied me at school and ridiculed me whenever she could, a work colleague who has so far added no one else from work, and a bloke who I don't think I ever uttered anything to other than 'God, you're a dick'. Requests firmly denied.

Homer said...

Facebook is crap. And scary after the anonymity of blogging.

I lasted three weeks before deleting my account after receiving a friend request from someone I actively disliked at school. And yes, all the twats are still friends with all the other twats.

My confidence as an adult is hard-won, I don't want to revert to feeling like that podgy, bespectacled, swotty loner again!

Anonymous said...

"In the right light, at the right angle, with the moon waxing and Saturn aligned with Venus, I might, after 5,000,000 pictures, look fairly non-repellent in a photo."

You know, sweetie, I have actually seen you, and I find it hard to believe you look that bad in photos, since you are good-looking in person.

GirlDoesTokyo said...

The only good thing about Facebook is getting poked by strangers.

FranklyWrankles said...

Oh sweet mother of Jehovah. I found your blog through a link on Daisy Fae's. Damn you're funny. I think I might just vomit or have a stroke I laughed so much.

The Nothing Man said...

Hi mate,

Take me off your blogroll. It's pointless being on there as I'm not likely to write another post as The Nothing Man. I think I'm just going to continue with the novels only from now on.


fwengebola said...

Z ~ Yes, despite my apparent negativity, I am strangely optimistic, in a naive way. Facebook is nonsense, and I hope it vanishes up its own cyber arse. I'm glad you like the past stories though. They were happy, happy days.
Wait, no they weren't.
C ~ Yes, it's good to... wait, did you say you can see who's been spying on you? Oh shit.
Frumhouse ~ Welcome. Yes, press delete! But I'd disagree that you're a loser. Only I may put myself down. Don't you start.
JS ~ And welcome too. I think the people who were the first to run you down have this special power to push your buttons, something I didn't realise until after I'd been on Facebook for a while.
Dom ~ Actually, I contacted admin and told them to permanently remove all my details - I couldn't go back without restarting all over again. I agree about the lying. I used to be quite honest on my profile. I like your advice though. It's like anti-Buddhism.
Vi ~ I didn't realise you were on it. Speed dating? That's brilliant! Dammit!
Anon ~ Yes, I know, but I can't help noticing.
And I am actually very cheerful. It's just that I have a way of writing things that sound very depressing and suicidal.
Plus, that tends to be funnier. Don't ask me; blame humanity.
Clar ~ Yeah, and oddly, even now I've dropped Facebook, I'm still managing to waste all my time on the Internet.
Anon ~ Yeah, I know.
PDEWYMO ~ Aw, that's nice. Add them all and play scrabble with them.
Homer ~ Sounds like you've got the right idea. Except I can't help but notice that you were getting old school requests whereas I was making them. Ergo, I'm the twat.
Mar ~ Thank you, ducky, that's very kind. Trust me, though. Photography is my enemy.
GDT ~ Yes, although I was mostly poked by men I knew.
FW ~ Welcome. And good lord, thank you. Please don't make yourself ill.
NM ~ Hello, fuckbucket. I will indeed, when I have a moment.

Dom said...

Oh, I had them delete my account too. I'm still back there :)

fwengebola said...

Jesus. I must never reach those depths. And if I did rejoin, it would be as Fwengebola.

(No - I won't.)