9 Dec 2013

Nobody's Girl (Part 1)

Something had to be done. I was down that rocky self-love pilgrimage like I've been for the best part of 2013, when I came to the realisation that Facebook wasn't/ couldn't be a part of my journey anymore and I had to let it go. For the second time - and yes I should have known better that first time around.

Heidi Klum tells it as it is!

Oh, Facebook and I had been in a complicated on-off relationship since 2008. I signed up to it originally under false pretences, namely due to my job in marketing, where the team were encouraged to 'promote' certain causes and raise awareness in our 'me' time and connect with PR/ design execs and marketing affiliates. Work colleagues and personal friends and acquaintances got intermingled on my friends list, sitting side by side on my screen and leaving me slightly unnerved at the 'friend' tag that suppliers, clients, co-workers and bosses suddenly fell under. This 'one size fits all' tag devalued the very notion of friendship - whose value I hold with high regard.

Before long, one of our PR agents was happily streaming her bar-mitzvah photos by the truck-load, while - in a case of unvoluntary voyeurism - I would also witness co-workers' holiday snapshots and their family time intrusion onto my timeline activity stream blurred boundaries further. I think that back in those early FB days, the concept of filtering hadn't reached any of us just yet.

The Blogcademy Melbourne, via galadarling via Flickr, photo by Lakshal Perera

I tried to play it cool and started to pretend to be myself on FB, unveiled the real I beyond the marketing girl, and then exposed my community to my 'likes' and 'shares' and (carefully-written) notes. Problem is, I liked the unlikeable: Courtney Love, Queens of the Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, A Perfect Circle, Slipknot, etc. My music tastes weren't obviously gonna cut the mustard as they weren't in line with the company's brand image, core values and product offering - and NO I didn't happen to work for Interscope or Roxy or Converse!

I got tired of being pigeonholed cos of likes I was supposed to dislike and dislikes I was supposed to like. I wasn't gonna play games anymore. I had the outcome all mapped out in my head. One night, I unfriended each one of my 'friends', painstakingly unliked my likes, deleted every post I'd written, every comment I'd added, until I got my FB page to its bare bones. Then I deactivated it.

'Pangolin!', photo by BTphotographic (Benjamin Tupper), 24/03/2013, via Flickr

Roll forward four years. Surprisingly in the interim FB had still managed to seep into my inbox, advising me from time to time about a friend who wanted to 'friend' me. My account was deactivated - not closed. In late Summer 2012 I gave FB another chance, mainly in order to keep easy contact with a couple of friends from overseas - without the costly phone bills or hassle of email.

Then my circle widened up to co-workers, exes, former friends and about everyone and anyone. In my quest for popularity and to bridge that void within, I threw caution to the wind and went for quantity over quality! Besides I seized the FB opportunity as a channel to broadcast wildlife and animal welfare causes close to my heart - and this really resonated with my value system: charities and NFP organisations, environmental foundations, business networking groups... Shark-friendly advocacy communities... Cool fashion and lifestyle brands like Roxy and Billabong... Amazingly I made 'friends' with some cool dudes whom I had never met in real life. So then, what was gonna bring me to end it with FB? (to be continued)

Further Reading on the Adverse Effects of FB: 

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