At the end of my sophomore year of high school and after much prodding by my best friend, I joined Facebook. I’ll admit I was engrossed, but it didn’t really face any competition. I mean, no one I knew had Twitter and Instagram was still a glint in the eyes of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. Five years later, I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest and (kind of) have a blog.
Occasionally, I get asked which I use most frequently: I use some (Twitter and Tumblr) more than others (I’ve never “pinned” anything in my life). Perhaps I’m in the minority, but of all the social media network whatever channels, I hate Facebook the most.
I go to Facebook and I’m bombarded by things I don’t really care about. My newsfeed is full of updates from people I barely knew in high school and my cousin’s cousins; it’s basically a conglomeration of updates from people I don't want updates from. Maybe I’m doing Facebook wrong; I have about 600 friends and I’m interested in maybe 100 of them. And yeah, it’s fun to see what that kid from elementary school looks like and where he goes to school now, but I honestly couldn’t care less that he was wanted Boston to win the Stanley Cup or that this week’s date night is going to see Man of Steel. Curating the information I see is time consuming. I can block people from my Newsfeed individually or unfriend them one by one, but I would much rather just ignore it and go to Twitter.
If I look at the 86 people I follow on Twitter, it’s people I actually know, people I work with and a few of my favorite celebrities. They tweet things to get a laugh, comments on current events, links to things they found interesting and the occasional humorous, random thought. In 140 characters, it’s all very unimposing. If it’s a link or a video or a picture, I click it if I want to know more. The updates I get from Twitter may be a little innane compared to the “life events” posted on Facebook, but I’d rather know a close friend from college is eating frozen yogurt than see 800 photos of an acquaintance from high school traveling Italy.
When Facebook debuted Timeline, I remember reading that they wanted to become the online record of your entire life. The goal was that users would document everything and add in life milestones starting from birth. I don’t want that. Who wants that? If I could erase all evidence of my existence from 2006-2009, I would. My Facebook friends can easily scroll through my Timeline and find the dark years in all their pimply, brace-faced glory.
Will I delete my Facebook any time soon? Probably not. It’s too valuable when my friends are talking about someone I don’t know and can just look them up, but that’s basically all it’s good for at this point. Facebook is all about the past, but I think the Internet is all about the present and the future. If I want to look back on high school, I’ll look at my yearbooks. I was editor-in-chief, so there are only pictures of my good side.