I remember the day it felt like my world began to crumble. It was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the air was warm, all around me people were laughing and enjoying the summer. My son and I were in Tivoli Gardens. Every so often I looked at the time, watching my watch tick tick tick its way towards 1.30 p.m.
17 August 2016.
At that hour, my father would walk into an office in a hospital on the other side of the country and find out if he had cancer. It was my son’s first day of school, his new school. He didn’t know it then, but now he knows why I screamed so loudly on the roller coaster that day.
I cried in my car every morning before work and every day on the way home. One evening I looked at my Facebook feed and almost screamed, ‘Who f***ing cares!’ It all seemed so utterly pointless. Cat vidoes, updates from people I once worked with and had never had any contact with since. Who bloody cared what food they ate last night, what movie they saw or how incredibly awesome they found their partner? I deleted the app.
During my last relationship, I was an active Facebook user. It bothered me that he wasn’t. It bothered me that I could not brag about us, tag him in my updates, and show the world that our relationship was “real”. It bothered me that his exes posted photos of him or made lewd comments on his wall when they were drunk. I thought our inability to be a “Facebook couple” like everyone else meant there was something wrong with our relationship. When co-workers friended almost everyone in the office but me I thought there was something wrong with me.
Once I stopped using Facebook I thought about all the time I had spent posting pointless information. Time I could have spent writing. Time I could have spent with my son without a phone in my hand. Time I could have spent talking to my friends and really hearing about what was happening in their lives. Time I can never get back. Perhaps I would actually have finished Chocolates on My Pillow by now?
Tonight I asked Facebook to permanently delete my account.
Because while it was initially a great way to reconnect with friends I had lost touch with over the years, it quickly became something that stole my focus. Checking at work, checking at home, checking in the car. And for what? So someone can try and sell me something I don’t need, or make me vote for something I don’t believe in?
The friends I want to be in touch with, I am in touch with.
Bye bye Facebook. Cambridge Analytica was the last straw. I can send Pennywise memes to my friend another way.