/ Technology

Is this the end for Facebook?

Social networking dilemma

Facebook seemed to have bucked the trend of short-lived social networks (Bebo, Myspace). Until now? I’ve seen people deactivate their Facebook accounts left right and centre, so is it time we all jumped ship?

So why are they leaving Facebook behind? Is it to join another social network, like Google+? Or is it just to get away from the relentless stream of useless information?

After using it for a solid four to five years myself, I have also decided to deactivate my account. Why? For the simple fact that I was fed up with the constant notifications of people needlessly telling me about what they had had for dinner, or a sport I had no desire to watch.

The reaction to my split with Facebook was amazing – many were confused with why anyone would think of leaving, and some even worried about my well-being. But, in fact, I feel more at ease listening to music and reading the newspaper on my train journey home, rather then scrolling through my Facebook news feed.

All of these updates were fantastic at the beginning, fulfilling a need we all have to know what others are doing while we’re at home in front of our computers. But the arrival of smartphones, which lets us post information on the move, has taken things too far. Is there really a need to ‘check-in’ to places all the time?

Facebook isn’t personal

I thought I would miss Facebook. It was a safety net that was always there if I had nothing to do. But let’s be honest, the people who are important in our lives have our phone numbers or we have theirs.

Keeping in touch with old friends has lost its personal touch compared to when we used to email or even write letters to them – this always seemed to have a more sentimental element.

There’s just no need to think about anything with Facebook. You don’t need to remember birthdays, as Facebook will tell you. How is that in anyway special? I had hundreds of birthday wishes, which I appreciated, but all my “friends” did was look in their news feed, rather than actually remembering it was the anniversary of my birth.

Time to deactivate

In the last year more than fifty people I know have deactivated their Facebook accounts. And there was a similar feeling in reply to Ben Steven’s Conversation which argued that there were much bigger things ahead for Facebook. Dave Harsh explained why had “deleted” his account:

‘By publishing your entire life on Facebook you are clearly seeking attention. They are not the type of people I normally hang around with, but it turned out that most of my friends and family were in fact that way inclined.’

So is this the end of Facebook? In some respects, yes. People are beginning to toy with the idea of leaving – inconceivable a couple of years ago. But will everyone actually have the courage to leave their social networking safety net? Only time can tell. However, I for one am glad I got out.


couldn’t agree more Aneesh

bombayblack says:
14 July 2011

About time someone said this, FB is a waste of time and digital space, some suckers are going to regret they bought the 70$ billion BS soon enough – which convo is a splendid idea btw

Fat Sam, Glos says:
15 July 2011

couldn’t disagree any less!

It’s all down to how you use it. Like anything, in moderation is good – in excess is probably unhealthy.

Yes, it allowed my friends to remember my birthday – it also allowed me to have more friends attend my birthday celebrations because for once everyone could see who was coming, where we were all meeting and when.

It allows banter to be exchanged on a different media, it allows quick updates, it allows you to express opinions and emotions. It allows you to keep in touch with a large number of people who may not live within easy reach. Personally, I don’t get the idea of adding everyone I’ve breathed past – I think the more ‘friends’ anyone has over around 150 is in direct correlation to how insecure you are so I keep mine to a manageable number (in particular, discretely removing work colleagues or people who I met on holiday, or past relationships!).

It doesn’t force you to respond like a phone call can. But it doesn’t replace a phone call either.

You choose when you want to view, you decide what you want to see. You don’t have to look at all your friends’ holiday snaps. Again, personal choice, but I only add a few snaps that I think may be of interest – I certainly don’t partake in global uploads of every out-of-focus and uninteresting shot of a cloudy beach or wedding guest.

And it isn’t intrusive. It’s your choice to receive notifications or not – you could quite easily have switched them off. It takes seconds.

People who complain about online social networks are probably descendants of people who complained when phones became widespread. In my experience, people who complain about online social networks are the least sociable people around, and complain about online networks because they’re afraid of the technology or don’t understand it and don’t feel comfortable amongst others and look for any excuse to turn their nose up at it. Just whack up the privacy settings if you’re worried about being stalked or data mined.

It doesn’t have to take over your life. You use it when you want to. I wouldn’t say online social networking has replaced face-to-face interaction – personally, I feel it’s enhanced mine and I feel much closer to a lot more people in real life. But, if you’re not sociable, then Facebook probably isn’t for you. 750 million active users. That’s a big slice of the connected world.

It’s just different, that’s all.

“In my experience, people who complain about online social networks are the least sociable people around”

It depends what you call sociable. They are less sociable because they are not on facebook? or less sociable because they don’t want to talk to you?

The friends of mine who laud the virtues of Facebook are actually the most socially inept. They are the ones whose life facebook has enhanced because it gives them a feeling of belonging, even if you just see them as an acquaintance.

I even saw 2 of my friends, as in, a husband and wife having their arguments on facebook, I mean come on, is this sociable?

I don’t want to know, I really don’t. I am a very outgoing and approachable person, I always have been, facebook actually encourages you to be more introverted and cryptic, whilst creating the illusion that you are “interacting” with someone.

” if you’re not sociable, then Facebook probably isn’t for you” – actually, I think the exact opposite to this

oh and Dave, I’ve just re-read your post, and

you “couldn’t disagree any less”

Which actually means that you wholeheartedly agree!

Oh for an edit function eh? 🙂

Sam, I mean Sam, doh

James says:
15 July 2011

Mr article writer. You are wrong. That is all.

It’s a fad. It’s not a “social networking tool” – it’s a way for the owner to make money. Just like this site is for Which. It will continue until there are too few people on it to make it attractive to advertisers. Maybe for ever. But hopefully not as something that people feel is something they can’t live without.

Max says:
15 July 2011

In ten years, when your friends have all parted ways and you want to know what they are up to now, you, and they will regret the decision to abandon facebook. It is far easier to contact them through their fb profile than looking back through old phone numbers/addresses/. Perhaps the problem was not that you all had a facebook account, but that you used it far too much. I use mine about six times a week for about 15 minutes each time, and this in no way infringes on the rest of my life. I still read the newspaper and listen to music on the train, but I still have the capability to easily contact all of my friends network. Facebook is here for the long run, and I consider those who delete their accounts to be seeking attention for doing so, as one of my friends was considering it clearly for this reason. Facebook should be part of a well rounded life and not the focus, and this is the idea people need to consider, rather than the existence of their account in the first place.

I agree – it’s just another tool. Like a mobile phone or a landline. it’s no big deal. I don’t rave about it. it doesn’t run my life. I hardly give it a second thought except when having to analyse it for the purposes of debate like now. As I’ve said before, I usually check my profile on a loo break at work. I don’t think I’d want to chat with my friends in there – probably a little too intimate.

Equally, I don’t get why people spend hours on there playing silly games like Farmville and feel they need to share this kind of information. Now that’s a down side.

But I find these ‘I hate facebook because…’ type posts/articles just a bit tiresome because then I find myself defending it when really I just don’t give a sh. People just ought to learn that life is full of millions of choices – you either choose Facebook – or you don’t.

Isn’t contributing on this Which forum just another form of social networking?

kath cole says:
17 July 2012

I would be grateful for your advise on how to delete my facebook account,I have deleted all my personal details to the best of my knowledge and have requested that my account be permanently deleted and entered “delete my account” in the subject line of e-mails I sent to the following sites on 4/6 13/6 20/6 27/6 privacy@facebook support@facebook,so far I have received two automated e-mails of acknowledgement on 20/6 and 27/6, and facebook are still sending e-mails to inform “friends waiting” my which membership number is p419203981