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?

26405898387_5e9e0c2c56_b

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.

Ap_facebook_dislike

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.

download (12)

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.

Home

Why It’s Ok Not To Own A Show Home, Or, What The Hell Is ‘Hinching’?

Right now, my entire life is packed full of boxes and chaos. Nothing in my house is where it’s meant to be. I’ve spent today pulling picture hooks out of walls and filling them back in, readying the house for the next people who move in. As I’m about to move this week, there’s so much to be done that I can’t even think about keeping on top of a cleaning schedule. In fact, with so many boxes piled up in my living room, I can’t even hoover the carpet.

I think that’s why I had such a negative reaction to seeing Mrs. Hinch’s Instagram account this week. My friends pointed her out to me, saying that they love watching her Instagram Stories and getting tips on how to clean their houses. When I took a look though, it seemed like her feed was full of everything that I just can’t get along with.

(Please note, I am in no way meaning to insult or do down Mrs. Hinch. Her feed is full of positivity and she’s very kind to her followers.)

Firstly, it was the house. Every room in her house is white and grey, perfectly polished, show home standard. If I visited her, I’d be scared to touch anything. Everything very clearly has a place. Her feed is an uninterrupted stream of white and grey, grey and white. It make me feel kind of itchy.

Screenshot_203.jpg

Then there’s her habit of calling cleaning ‘hinching’. This is a super personal irritation, but I can’t bear it. It’s so twee, it makes me gag. Plus, ‘hinch’ isn’t a frigging verb!

It’s the perfection that gets my back up. She has her house the way she likes it, and she takes a lot of joy in making it look good. It’s her house, she can do as she wishes. She can even put it on Instagram to show others, that’s very much up to her. Whatever she’s doing it works, as she has thousands of followers and even has a book coming out. The perfection scares me, though. What’s it like, living in a house like that?

She’s just one of many cleaning gurus that I’ve come across in the last few years. Firstly, of course, there’s Marie Kondo, she of the KonMari Method. Then there’s Jolie Kerr, who ran a cleaning column on Jezebel and wrote a book called ‘My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag’. There’s also Unfuck Your Habitat, run by Rachel Hoffman, who also wrote a brilliant book by the same name. I’ve devoured them all, soaking up tips and gathering the energy to make my space better.

What is it about them that doesn’t put me off, like Mrs Hinch does? It’s the fact they’re not asking for perfection. They’re not advocating buying expensive cleaning products (Unfuck Your Habitat is a big fan of the ‘drain volcano’, otherwise known as baking powder and vinegar to clean your drains). They just want you to be able to take care of yourself and your surroundings.

konmari4-art.jpg

KonMari wants you to find a place for everything in your home, but she wants you to do that so you can find all the things that ‘spark joy’ for you. Unfuck Your Habitat just want you to spend 10 minutes clearing something, so you can actually see what you own. It’s manageable, it’s doable. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t need to be.

While Mrs Hinch is selling a lifestyle, it’s not a lifestyle to me. It’s too much. I’m not that much of an organised person to colour match my towels or perfectly place ornaments in my living room. I’m a bit chaotic, and I’m ok with that. I’m going to stick with my mismatching cushions and ridiculous character emblazoned mugs. I’m not one for ‘hinching’.