I was following instructions on how to make my yeller iPhone’s battery last longer. The instructions for dummies were – luckily – step-by-step and very clear, as normally that kind of thing makes me lose concentration within the first geek-friendly-real-person-unfriendly sentence.
It told me to check my battery usage, to see what was using the most battery. Up there on the top of my list was Stalkbook. It was using a whopping 53% of my battery. Fifty. Three. I took a weeks’ hiatus from Stalkbook a couple of months ago, and have been promising myself I’ll do it again. Those little friends – the five, and the three, and their googlie-eyed % friend were my sign.
I love Stalkbook. As is obvious from what I’ve just said above, I am, basically, the poster child Facebook whore. It started surreptitiously – only at work, only in the week, in those minutes between doing one thing and another. Then I got it on my phone. I’m still good(ish) at ignoring it over the weekends and spending more time actually living life in realtime. It’s that ‘(ish)’ that’s becoming problematic.
The thing is that it is a wonderful connection to people I’d ordinarily not see every day or every year or even for the past twenty years. It gives a sense of community, of friendship, of just being in each others’ lives. But it’s not real. It’s been said before, and it’ll be said again by people who string words together far better than I (like my friend, Nicki).
We put up only what we want people to see, creating a veneer of perfect lives, beautiful sunsets, happy children and brilliant scores. In between those, people put up heart-breaking pictures of hornless rhino, bleeding to death and spread horrific stories of crime and fear and loathing – often untrue, often malicious, often ridiculous, but nobody checks. It’s just too easy to press that ‘share’ button and feel like you’ve done something, even though you haven’t done a thing to help any cause at all. My worst is the ex-pats who love posting the ‘How terrible life in South Africa is.’ Shame. And then the inspirational quotes…
So I’m out of there, for as long as it takes for me to stop doing it too much. To stop scrolling through it when I should be listening to the person talking to me – completely; to read my book without stopping to check it; to watch a DVD without missing a bit while I check something; to get back to writing: here, there and the everywhere.
My beloved Whinge-Free Wednesday has been stocked up with its Wednesday fodder for the foreseeable future because that’s a happy Facebook thing.
I’ll miss the beautiful things that people post, the links to fascinating articles, the street art, the funny bits, the connectedness. But I must, if I’m ever to get that thing done, that thing I really want to get done. I just must.
And I’m going to miss the Scrabble. Oh-so-terribly.