Some people look at me as if I’m odd. Not for the myriad of reasons they usually do, specifically when I tell them I don’t have Facebook. “Why”, you ask. Well there are many reasons, some of which you may already be able to come up with. I actually haven’t had Facebook for a while. This post was more inspired by Facebook’s image-centric acquisition, Instagram. I had an Instagram account until recently just to follow people I know and because I’ve always had an interest in photography (even the amateur kind) that you could find on there.
The problem I had with it was, for the most part, the same problem I had with Facebook. For one, I’m not interested that you had a soda and “it really hit the spot”. I also don’t need to see 10 consecutive images of your pet.
Secondly, the “discussions” were a bigger part of why I got rid of both accounts. I like to pretend that social media sites should be a forum for your own ideas, beliefs and interests that you should be able to share with others free from persecution or bullying (if said beliefs are not hateful, harmful or intended to be towards others). Sadly, because of the very thing that should be great about Facebook and Instagram plus the lack of enforcement of their terms of service for the very things I outlined above, they become more of a forum for judgement, hate and bullying. On Facebook, I would be dragged into arguments about things that need not be argued about mainly because I had an opinion that others simply disagreed with. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a discussion about things controversial or otherwise on an occasional basis as long as it’s not someone just telling me I’m wrong. It was especially annoying because most people are stupid (more so than myself) and having to prove them wrong only to have them dismiss it because they can’t accept it (likely from stupidity) was taxing and got old very quickly.
Thirdly, I feel Facebook and Instagram act as a corrupting influence to those that use them. I say this because I felt it personally which was why I decided to get rid of the last vestige of FB. More on that in a bit. There have also been studies that have shown that people who have FB tend to be more depressed or unhappy (which I believe correlates to the amount of time spent on it). I’m not including citations to such studies because I’d like to believe that people are able to Google (side note: I find it amusing that “Google” is a verb now) to find those studies themselves. Anger, depression, sadness and other negative emotions tend to be more contagious than positive ones I find. The problem with the users of FB and IG is the impulse to say something about everything. So when they see something they don’t like or disagree with, something negative must be said. I know there are people who can resist this impulse but there seems to be more people who can’t. With that, the reason I got rid of IG is because it began to suck me into the behaviour of being a terrible person.
I follow the Suicide Girls (a modeling site featuring women with unique looks, e.g. odd hair styles/colours; tattoos; piercings; differing body types, etcetera) because I’m a fan of photography and the female form in many of its permutations. A common sight to see on one of these posts are men and women commenting “gross”, “yuck”, or “ew”. I ask, who needs to see that? Certainly not the poster, subject (if a person) or myself. It would be easier to just pass on by and not say anything and yet people are compelled to spread that negativity and signal to all others that they are a closed-minded, judgemental, and hateful people. In my case, there was a girl who was unhappy about the name of the website, thinking it was about helping those with suicide. Understandable, to a point. With a bit of research anyone can find out that the name Suicide Girls comes from a quote in a book by Chuck Palahniuk. The line she crossed was to scold the people who made the post and the people who viewed it. I responded with some very not nice things to say. It was after that, I looked at how easily incensed I can be in the presence of such blatant ignorance and decided I didn’t need that influence. You may think, “but surely such things take place on other social media sites” to which I respond with “of course”. I just don’t find it to be so rampant on other sites. In the case above, the picture on IG would get around 100 comments with roughly 20 of them being negative. The same picture on Tumblr would get hundreds more “likes” with not one negative comment. To me, it says a lot about the kind of people attracted to these sites and about the people running them.
There also seems to be a trend of people dropping their FB accounts for a variety of reasons though I hope the main one is a resurgence of tolerance, morality, manners and intelligence. Something I would like to see is social media websites deciding on what kind of people and content they are willing to allow on there (and enforce it) and letting the public determine through use of those sites which ones they want to be a part of. Facebook and Instagram are supposed to be more “family-friendly” sites but my experience is that they are more unfriendly than I’d like.