Social Media, Technology

Facebook Is A Hellscape, But I Can’t Leave

I think we can all agree that social media is a hellscape. Twitter is full of Nazis, Instagram is a one track path to making you feel bad about yourself, and Reddit… we should just burn down Reddit and never look back. But the grandaddy of them all, Facebook, is the platform that I have the most beef with. Just why is it so consistently awful?

On the face of it, Facebook isn’t that bad. There’s the odd racist rant from that one uncle you avoid at parties, and sometimes there’s pictures of your friends’ babies. What’s wrong with it?

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My problem is that I’m so tied into Facebook that I feel like I can’t leave. I’ve been on it since I was 21, and I’m 33 now. That’s insane. I’ve never known an online service last so long. At first, I didn’t want to leave MySpace for Facebook, and now… I wish I’d gone down with that ship, honestly.

A lot of the problems with Facebook are the same problems that other social media sites have, in fairness. It doesn’t feel the need to weed out hate speech or threatening behaviour on it’s site, much like Twitter. It has a strange need to censor female chests, much like Instagram and Tumblr, with its fear of ‘female presenting nipples’ (no I’m not letting that go, I mean, WTF Tumblr). It also thinks nothing of OWNING everything you post onto the site, and selling on your data if it suits them. So what makes it worse than those sites?

I think there’s a couple of things that make it awful. First, there’s the technical workings of the site. Basically, it’s a garbage fire. It’s an absolute nightmare to actually use. It’s grown and warped over the years, making it unwieldy and irritating to try and navigate. Then there’s the actual workings of the site. If you want to see a chronological feed on your phone, you need to head to the menu and then pick ‘Most Recent’, and it might work. Some of the time. On my desktop, I have to use a plug in called ‘FB Purity’ to force it into chronological order. That plug in also tells me when someone unfriended me, so it’s kind of nervewracking to use.

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There’s that, then there’s the way Facebook is used. As it’s such an ‘old’ social media site, it’s full of 30 somethings and older, whinging about their lives. I’m not immune to it. I realised what I was doing, and so made an effort to stop posting such bollocks. The upshot? I barely post anymore. Teenagers aren’t using it because their parents are on it, and they’re sick of being told to mind their language when they use it. Because of that, it’s stagnating as a platform. We’re seeing all kinds of funny and exciting posts on Tumblr, but on Facebook it’s all older folk whining that the bins haven’t been collected.

What I’d really like to do is just quit Facebook. Just log off and leave. I’d love to do that, I honestly desperately want to do that, but I can’t. Why? Because Facebook has an iron grip on my social life.

If I want to go to an event, I have to find the Facebook group and ‘like’ or ‘follow’ it. This is where I’ll get the updates about it. Several conventions I follow all update primarily via Facebook, so if I want to keep up, that’s where I need to be.

Then there’s using the internet elsewhere. Even if I’m not on Facebook, I’m on Facebook. Over the years, I’ve been incredibly lazy and used Facebook to log into sites, because I didn’t need to type in all my details to create an account. That means that I’ve been using it to log in everywhere, and I don’t even know how many sites have my Facebook data now. If I delete my account, I pretty much screw myself.

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Finally, there’s the photos. There’s photos from over a decade of my life on Facebook. There’s photos from when I was a teenager and I used to go clubbing. There’s photos of my wedding. There’s pictures of holidays I went on. I don’t want to lose those. I can download my own pictures, but others belong to other people, and so I can’t easily download the albums. It sucks.

There’s a myriad of other reasons, but basically I feel as though I’m stuck in a toxic relationship with Facebook. I don’t feel capable of unpicking it without upending my life at this point. What do I do? For now, I’m going to delete as much info as I can and keep it just as a communication point, in case people what to talk to me. Until then? We’re stuck together, sadly.

Technology

My Phone Is Broken, And I’ve Lost A Virtual Limb

It is the year of our Lord 2019. We put people on the moon decades ago. We can talk to anyone, anywhere in the world, at the click of a button. We have machines in our homes that would be unthinkable even 20 years ago, but we couldn’t live without now. However, we still haven’t figured out how to stop our mobile phone screens from getting smashed.

Yes, I have broken my phone. Last week, I dropped it face down outside a Poundland. The screen was no match for concrete, and a lovely big crack made its way right across the screen.

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Today, I dropped my phone in a sink for about 0.453543 of a second. I had headphones in, and so I yanked that bad boy out as fast as I could. I was away from home so I couldn’t throw it in rice and hope for the best. Now the screen is a glitchy mess that can’t even stay on, and the kicker? It no longer takes a charge.

It’s infuriating as I hadn’t even had the phone a year yet. I am normally super careful with my phones, as I know I’m clumsy and eventually it’s going to get dropped/kicked/smashed, so I want to make them last as long as I can.

My undoing was the fact that I bought a super cheap, Korean phone. The company appeared to be called Ding Ding. Stupid name aside, it was a decent phone. The camera was less than optimal, but the phone did everything that was asked of it, without a problem. However, because the model was so niche, I couldn’t find a case that fit it. No one made them anywhere. Normally I put big, tough cases on that cover the screen, because I know I’ll drop the damned thing eventually. When I cracked the Ding Ding’s screen, I called around to see if anyone could fix it, but no one had even heard of it. Once I dropped the stupid thing in water, I think the water got in through those cracks and broke it for good.

It’s so stupid. Why have we not designed a phone screen that doesn’t smash when you look at it funny yet? We put our phones through so much. They’re with us every minute of every day. They take so much abuse, yet they’re so delicate. If you don’t put a big chunky case on it (like I normally do), then you’re asking for trouble.

And if you’re without your phone, you may as well have chopped a limb off. Because I wasn’t home, I couldn’t tell anyone what had happened. I was totally cut off from the world until I could get back home, to my laptop. When you don’t reply to a text people panic. I was so worried I’d open up my laptop to a million ‘WHERE ARE YOU?!’ Facebook messages.

It’s so vital that I’ve had to sign up for Amazon Prime just so I can get a new phone sent to me tomorrow. Luckily I had a bit of cash on me, so I could get one. I’ve bought another cheap brand, because I’m still not made of money. However, I made sure I could buy a case for it. I’m not making that mistake again.

Someone get on this phone screen problem, yeah? This is ridiculous.