Six Months as a Social Pariah

Last year, I came as close as you can to burying yourself underground without, you know, doing the deed. I deactivated my Facebook account. I was the girl who agonised over the number of likes a status received, who worried that she didn’t have enough “friends” on Facebook, who scrupulously untagged unflattering photos, who felt an inflated sense of self-worth when two or more people liked her (numerous) witty comments.  If you’ve ever shared a similar thought, this Timeline is for you.

Ground Zero

While reading about my friend’s cold cup of coffee in my Facebook newsfeed, a life–changing thought enters head. I could be doing so many more interesting things with my life. Should trial living six months without Facebook. Am astounded at own brilliance.

Post status announcing the six months challenge.

Receive some support, but mostly outrage and shock. I deactivate, even though Facebook throws up a list of my friends’ photos and tells me how much they will miss me. Surprised by Facebook’s insight into my friends’ psyches.

29th May, 2012

Wake up in the morning. Gaping emptiness inside. Not knowing what is happening in my friends’ lives makes me feel like I am falling into a canyon of loneliness and gloom.  Throughout the day, keep going to open Facebook every five to ten minutes.  Shocked by the extent of my addiction.

30th May

Revert to using Tumblr instead.  The blue background is makes me feel like I’m still wrapped in the comfort blanket of Facebook. I lust over photos of good-looking Italian men on cobblestone streets.  Not the same as gazing at photos of my friends at a 1920s murder mystery party, while feeling uncool for staying in and watching The Vampire Diaries. Am adjusting.

1 June

Hitting the exam period, am able to study for entire hours at a time without getting distracted or using the internet as a reward. Gloat inwardly at rocketing productivity levels.

30 July

Receive call from friend I thought was in Mexico, asking if I’m going to a party in Sydney next week. Was not invited. Get horror flash backs to Year Seven when I was the only one in the group not invited to see Spider-Man. Agonise for two hours, then send text to party-thrower asking if I’m welcome. The reply? “Sorry, forgot about you! You’re still invited!” Relief. Can stop reliving Year Seven.

1st August

My house throws a London Olympics party. I hoard a stash of candid shots, refusing to let any one else post them online. Receive only-half ironic hate from friends. What is the point of having a party if we can’t pump out new material for our internet projections? Will people even care about our party by the time I post photos on the Day of my Glorious Return to Facebook?

7th October

Several people have said to me, “Saw pictures of you at Gentleman of the Road on Facebook”. Always followed by awkward silence. Perhaps have stunned people with the glamour of festival-camping life style: unwashed hair, sweaty clothes, and generally rowdy behaviour.  Worry for a little while about what the photos look like, then realise have bigger fish to fry.

Six Months Expires, 29th November 2012

8am

Excitement has been mounting for a week and have finally logged in. Facebook has changed so much. Using it is like trying to speak a language I was once fluent in.  Post a comment to this effect on housemate’s status. Receive instant like. Wave of relief. Am significant still. Begin day feeling wise and profound.

10am

Waste some time looking at photos of a girl, who I never spoke to at school, in Fiji. Feel jealous of her perfect bikini body. Decide to go to Fiji.

10pm

Stalk some people I haven’t seen in six months. Guilt stabs my stomach when I notice people on my friends list and realise that in six months, I have forgotten to think about them. Does this make me a bad person?

30th December

9am

Finally “friend” my thirteen year old brother on Facebook, which triggers a lot of cooing from my friends. Having my every action exposed online is making me feel like a snail stripped of its shell and pinned under a magnifying glass. Am seriously disturbed by this thought, not in the least because am comparing self to a snail.

11pm

Sinking realisation that I have regressed.

1 December

Permanent Deactivation.

Perhaps I’m a crusty old Luddite, but I enjoy the freedom of living my life without cataloguing it online, and knowing every detail of the lives of the people who surround me. Instead of being glued to a newsfeed, I read books. I can book tickets at the theatre without knowing that four other people I know are going on the same night. I can peruse the internet without a site telling me that seven of my friends have already been there. Does life without Facebook makes me a social pariah? Yes. And I like it.