Wednesday, 6 May 2015

My "f*#% you" to Facebook apathy

I have decided to quit Facebook indefinitely. To be honest with you it was a long time coming as I've grown increasing tired of the constant navel gazing. I mean let's be honest, how many f-ing selfies do you need to take before you've convinced your self-absorbed self that you're beautiful or rather that you photograph well? And yes so you signed a contract or closed a deal, some people negotiate ceasefires between warring parties or resuscitate people for a living but you don't see them regaling us with tales of their contribution to humanity or world peace now do you. But even with all that silent suffering, I kept coming back, dare I add like an addict. So I guess the straw that broke the camel's back was the reaction to two recent stories/status updates that I posted. One involved a celebrity and as I would have predicted within hours there were comments and "likes" and it felt like I was having a real conversation with real people.  The second related to a critically ill child in need of medical care, post a liver transplant and depressingly that post elicited one like in a day and a second the following day. In that post, I pleaded with those on my Facebook to help me raise a modest amount for a friend's campaign whose goal was to help the girl's family with hospital treatment that could save her. It was met with a deafening silence. Not only did I find that deeply disheartening (let me be honest with you... or as we say in Krio "tell friend true nor pwell (spoil) friend"), but it reminded me of how fickle and ineffective a tool Facebook is when it comes to real, meaningful interaction with people we know... some of whom we may even love. It tells me, not necessarily that my 100 odd Facebook friends are not genuine friends - I make a point of culling my numbers often so without a doubt, many of them are - but that they do not want to engage in anything meaningful via Facebook. As such I have to conclude that as a social media tool, Facebook holds no value for me. If it's superficial engagement I want, there's twitter. For meaningful conversations, there is Whatsapp, making Facebook redundant, even superfluous! 

On the one hand I hear the arguments that we prefer light-hearted interactions on social media. I get it but then I don't actually, in all honesty, I don't get it because no amount of ignoring "heavy" posts and news items makes them go away - it just makes us apathetic. It makes us fair weather friends...ready to share the laughs but running a mile in the opposite direction when there's pain.  In real life - away from our computers and smart phones we can watch mindless sitcoms and reality shows while at the same time processing news reports - sometimes uncomfortably depressing but burying our heads in the Real Housewives of X town doesn't exactly make those reports disappear, it just makes us ignorant of what is going on in the world and even more depressing, it means we are not part of the solutions to those problems.
At the same time I also think that the tendency to only post bad news, whether it's about Ebola orphans or newly reported natural disasters without offering solutions or glimmers of hope - indications of how we can ease the pain - is completely unproductive, even exploitative. It's like "disaster porn" addicts - you know the types who love to observe and even profit from people's suffering .... in a completely detached way. 
So all this to say Facebook has ceased to serve a purpose for me - long live Whatsapp for my family and friends! And for those whose daily musings are a source of endless amusement to me (you know who you are), please join me on Twitter!! We don't even have to address each other directly - just keep on posting funny things that make me laugh - it's that simple! 

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