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The Inadequacy of the Social Network

Facebook addiction by gladiator656

Facebook addiction by gladiator656

So, I just did something drastic.

I downloaded the SelfControl app on my Mac to help me wean off Facebook — up until 5 pm anyway. I did this so that I can focus more on my work, writing and all the other things I tend to ignore when I’m mindlessly clicking through Facebook accounts.

But that’s not the only reason.

I read a recent study about how teenagers actually hate facebook, but can’t seem to quit it. The majority cited the following reasons: “an increasing adult presence, high-pressure or otherwise negative social interactions (‘drama’), or feeling overwhelmed by others who share too much.”

This morning, a friend of mine messaged me urgently: “I discovered something creepy on Facebook”.

She then panicked and told me how Facebook settings allow you to see who people stalk, ie. whose accounts you are always lingering on, interacting with, or searching for. Facebook does this by logging your searches: if you look at your timeline settings,  the very bottom of your left column is a “search history”. This means Facebook has been logging all your searches — yes, even your ex’s profile, that guy you did a one-night stand with, and that hot professor you secretly have the itchies for.

Photo from Tech N Techie

Photo from Tech N Techie

She misunderstood the implication of this search thing, however, and thought that every time she visited someone’s page, the people they stalk are the first ones on their friend list. Immediately, I panicked — because this means that every time someone visits my profile, they can see who I stalk frequently.

Of course this is not the case — this will violate one of Facebook’s privacy rules after all, which prevents us from seeing who views our profile the most (isn’t that the single, most eternal essential question?). Instead, every time you visit someone’s page, you see who YOU stalk the most, meaning each page is personalized according to your most frequent searches.

But this is besides the point.

My friend thought that her boyfriend searched for these “hot” girls frequently, since they kept popping up on his friends list. Of course, the case really was that it was my friend stalking these girls. And this brought out her self-esteem issues, feelings of inadequacy and incompetency that is mainly the reason why I detest Facebook in the first place.

It’s that filtered version of people’s lives that Facebook advocates. Instead of the face-to-face conversation we used to have with friends to catch up on their lives, we get Facebook statuses, whose truth we can only suffice from periods, commas and capitalizations.

At least with face-to-face conversations, we can trace their hesitations within the words they aren’t saying — we get that from tone and body language. We have these factors that help us to interpret meaning, which essentially is what connects human beings to each other. Arguably, Facebook does the opposite thing — all of a sudden, we are getting a barrage of information that has been filtered down to create a caricature of the person someone wants us to see — a controlled personality, to cut it short. This prevents us from deducing our own conclusions about another person’s character, because we are so influenced by what they write and what pictures they choose for us to see.

And then there’s that extraordinary amount of social pressure for something so intangible. For example: a friend recently posted about a significant event in her life. Within an hour, she got 27 likes. She didn’t get one from me — not because I didn’t want to give her one, but because I had already congratulated her in real life and it seemed redundant to click “Like” on Facebook to show my support (which, by the way, is literally an action that requires the least amount of effort to show your support). Immediately, I got a text from another friend asking why I didn’t “Like” her status — was I jealous of her achievement? Did I not see her status?

HOLD ON —

when did clicking “Like” on Facebook, something SO elusive, amount to such priority, meaning and pressure?! Why did we allow that to happen?!

And not only that — an extensive amount of friends on Facebook means we get an extensive amount of information about people’s lives. And while this is a good thing for let’s say, marketing and/or exposure, this also reduces the meaning of these events — they become disposable — only relevant until the next big status update.

And this upsets me because our lives are slowly becoming fragmentized — instead of seeing our lives in one, continuous flow, where our past correlates with the present and creates possibilities for the future, we are suddenly fractioned into status updates: Today, Ellise graduated. Tomorrow, Ellise will get a job. And if I don’t update my status, or try to de-active Facebook, the status in everyone’s mind would be: Today, Ellise went full-fledged emo.

The fact that I haven’t even de-activated my account says a lot about the social pressure Facebook has on us — I hate it, but I can’t quit it. Seeing microscopic versions of my friends’ lives have become such a daily routine that I’ve stopped realizing how reductive and limiting it is. I cringe to myself every time I see a picture and realize how awesome it would be as a Facebook profile picture — because it’s a selfie I happen to look good in, as if this angle is enough to show others who I am.

I don’t want this to be the case! I want you to know that I am mad in more ways than one, have insecurities sharpened to the point of  insanity, but that I can be kind and endearing when the time calls for it. I am loyal and overbearing, creative and delusional. I want to encourage people to get to know each other beyond their Facebook profiles and sit down for a cup of tea from 4 pm to 1 in the morning and talk about everything and anything, from the kind of person you want to become, to the fears that keep you up at night.

Facebook has become a cliquey high school entourage gone international — people are reduced to either being a Facebook friend or not.

Expand your horizon, explore your world. I think people will surprise you — you just have to let them.

And don’t get me started on Twitter.

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Epiphanies

How to Cut People Out of your life & Forget Them Completely

(A Complete Guide Designed to make You Feel Better About Yourself in General)

delete by jeffgraffit

delete by jeffgraffit

Update Aug. 22 2014/ Disclaimer: It has long come to my attention that this post is, unfortunately, one of my most popular posts on this blog, with people reaching it often typing in search words such as: how to forget someone, deleting someone, what to do after you’ve been cut off, etc. I would just like to emphasize the following:

  1. First and foremost – this is not, in any way shape or form – meant to be taken SERIOUSLY. It is a SATIRE. It is meant for comedic purposes. It is not a literal HOW TO on trying to forget someone – so if that’s what you’re looking for in here – please look somewhere else.
  2. This was meant as a post for people who want to break-up with FRIENDS, NOT a person you are in a relationship with. Being in a romantic relationship with someone is definitely very different from having such a friendship with someone, so please don’t view this post as such.
  3. This was also meant to apply to a person who is breaking up with a FRIEND  without trying to mediate the situation first, to avoid any sort of confrontation. This was supposed to be about me de-friending people before I get too close to them because I was too afraid of being de-friended first – so if this somehow, affects you personally, I apologize, but this post was not meant to reach the heights that it did, it was more of a way for me to vent.

Knowing all that, I hope I didn’t scare you away. Otherwise – enjoy.

(A/N: I hope this post comes off as satirical and comedic. I don’t actually want anybody to ever do this, I have done it way too much, and I regret it every single time. If you’re in a situation you want to get out of, I would suggest to dig deep and try to understand where the other person is coming from. I like to believe that people are inherently good and honest, and that it’s their problems/insecurities/past trauma that motivates them to become unworthy of our love and attention.)

So you’ve had it. For some reason or other, you need to get rid of this person, and you need to get rid of him/her — FAST. It doesn’t matter if she’s your in-the-moment best friend, that girl you went to high school and university that all of a sudden deleted you off Facebook, or that one-night stand — you can solve all your problems and protect yourself completely if you follow this guide right here.

Please note: this, by no means, implicates that you AREN’T the asshole who decided to break contact and forget everything this person has done for you. The situation, at this point, is moot. Just know and understand, that following these steps, is for your own protection only — maybe you don’t want to get hurt, maybe you’re afraid of what this new friendship/encounter will bring, or maybe you found an inherent flaw that you just can’t get over — doesn’t matter — deciding to cut people out of your life is for your own good, meaning you’ve consciously decided to ignore and de-legitimize what the other person could be going through/could feel after being cut/any general repercussion of the friendship having ended.

Therefore, you will have to live with this guilt for the rest of your life and you should be prepared for it.

But you already knew that before coming here.

1. Focus on your reasons for leaving.

What is it? Is it because she once said something racist you can’t quite get over? Or is it because he called and texted way too many times than you’re comfortable with?

Whatever it is, focus on it. Even better, exaggerate the shit out of it. Here’s where your imagination/paranoia can kick in.

Google him/her. That’s your best ticket to finding everyone’s dirtiest secret. Don’t be stupid and google their names, that almost never works. Most people have been privy to this googling secret and have decided to cover their cyber tracks. Google their old high school email, or maybe it’s their gamertag on  xbox or ps3 — either way, you’re going to get a hit. Most people will use the same username on websites they don’t want to be discovered in. That can range from myfitnesspal to livejasmin. Pick your vice.

Sooner or later, you’re going to stumble on a dirty little secret — maybe they have irritable bowel syndrome and signed up for a forum, or maybe they like big-breasted girls and have a paid account on a porn site — whatever it is, you’ve found your gem. Create a story that ties with their internet activities to the person you know — and BOOM. You’ve got yourself a legitimate reason to disappear from their lives forever.

Because no one, and I mean no one, would ever want their internet history found for some reason or another. There’s always something you don’t know about a person that exists somewhere on the internet — you just gotta find it and use it.

2. Start the wipe-out.

Chances are, if you’re a decent human being, a sad, defeated, “hey” every once in a while over text will be enough to make you reel back. Even looking at old Facebook photos can be a very painful process if you want to forget about a person. Which is why you should wipe everything you can about that person from your life.

I know some phones don’t completely block numbers. It blocks their calls but you can still get their texts — which is enough of a trigger for some of us. Worry not — there’s apps for that! One that’s available for Android is Mr.Number. It’s an easy enough interface that allows you to block calls and texts from any number that you want. But make sure you go on “settings” and stop those notifications from coming in, otherwise you get a sad little beep every time the person tries to contact you – and remember, no one wants to relapse!

Make sure you do a clean swipe! Mark their email addresses as spam on ALL YOUR EMAIL ACCOUNTS. The last thing you want is an email with 😦 on the subject and nothing but “What’s wrong?? IS EVERYTHING OK??” as content. That will tug at your heartstrings and we don’t want that. So just mark them as spam and just never check your junk mail — ever, ever, ever. Just click hitting that “Empty Junk” button and your heart will stay whole.

Last but not least, purge them off your facebook completely. That includes friendship removal, untag photos, delete your own albums, delete wall posts and (if you can) unfriend mutual friends. And most of all, BLOCK YOUR FACEBOOK so that they can’t send you a message, write on your wall, or try to friend you again. NOT EVEN A SINGLE POKE.

It is only when you’re done with the cleansing that true healing can begin.

3. Move on.

Don’t talk about it — EVER. Not to anyone. Not even your cat. Internalize that shit until it becomes a kidney stone that has to be removed. Never cry, don’t even scream. If you let a single word escape from you that attempts to explain/describe what you just did, you will break, and all your hard work will come undone. You’ll relapse; guilt will take over and you’ll send a sad, desperate text message one day while you’re drunk in Lindsey, and say, “I still love you”.

And then you’ll start getting calls you wish you didn’t hear ring, because as soon as they start reaching out, the vivid illusion you built for yourself becomes so alive and so terrifying in your mind that you are now convinced it’s real. And you’ll start stressing, and you’ll start realizing that if you pick up, you’ll have to explain yourself, and because you never really took the time to understand what scared you away, you won’t be able to come up with an answer, and you’ll slowly sink into the realization that it was your fault, that it was you who ran away. So you won’t pick up.

Until they stop calling, and then both of you revert back to step one. You’ll have to start forgetting again. You sent a text, so you probably never deleted that number in the first place. Or maybe you dug it up from old emails. Which you now have to delete. Remember. Protect yourself. If you do relapse, repeat step 1 to 2, and dedicate yourself to step 3. It’s essential after all, and is the whole point of this thing.

It’s better if you move to another city. New surroundings will help you  forget easily. It’s even better if you find a new group of friends who know nothing about your past. So constantly seek them out. Never turn down an invite to another party, to another bar, to another club.

Keep trying to surround yourself with friends to forget the fact that you once had a single, true friend you felt too scared to hold on to, because you couldn’t handle the responsibility that comes with unconditional love, but mostly because you came to a point where you realized you loved them too much and that you would do absolutely anything to prevent them from knowing who you really are only to end up dissapointed — even if that meant cutting them out of your life completely.

But don’t worry — it’s the last step. It’s only the rest of your life you have to worry about from this point on, not anybody else’s.

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