We, are, Venom.
If the story of Venom is unfamiliar, or you haven’t seen the third Spider-Man film released in 2007, then I’ll guide you.
There was an issue of the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ comic in 1988 that began the story:
A symbiote from deep in space crash landed to Earth, and it found a host to connect to. This man became so attached to it, that he accepted it to take over him. It became sentient, and eventually couldn’t function without him. It called itself ‘Venom’. This latched onto him like a parasite, making him feel as if any small thing made him feel important in any situation. Eventually, a way was discovered for the symbiote to separate from him, but the man still couldn’t let go, trying anything to satisfy the itch of the symbiote.
This is how I see social media, but Facebook especially. And only 6 months into 2014, that point is only much more pertinent.
I joined Facebook in September of 2007, just when it was taking off. Back then it was a simple time. You had to figure out a status that began with ‘is’ that made sense. Chat was still from MSN Messenger, and a like was the only thing that kept you on the site.
But somewhere along the line in 7 years, something changed.
I imagine if I asked this question to a room full of people, I doubt there’d be a hand not raised:
‘Raise a hand if you have seen a status hinting dramatically towards something, and when someone comments asking what’s up, the reply usually is, ‘I’ll message/inbox you hun/chick.’ ‘
People began to treat it like a school playground. Awful comments on tragedies occurring to families, while others write meaningless statuses as if they’re in Eastenders. People judging a good day from a bad one dependant on how many likes there are. Any small incident, they would broadcast it using this and comments below the status would encourage them to think their point of view was correct, or they themselves would reply within that status as if it wasn’t a big deal to start with.
There are positive moments on it, but they are few and far between. It’s become too much of a soap opera every time you scroll down the News Feed.
I used to upload photos for it that friends would use as profile pictures and use them as an easy access to photos, but nowadays I just use it for the chat feature.
But even then, I feel as if I don’t even need that. Now that University is finally at an end, and my time at the student magazine is as well, I don’t see a need for Facebook. If someone needs to contact me, they have my number or Twitter, which is my favoured choice of a social network. If they want to talk to me in a more personal way, Skype is still the best choice.
Reading Matt Gemmell’s post on ‘Working from Home’ (link) made me discover an application that would help me from logging into Facebook to scratch that itch called Self-Control. By adding the address to Facebook, it would block my Macbook from accessing the page for a certain amount of time. The only downside to this is that the limit is only 24 hours, but doing that once every day is no big issue.
I would add a link to Self Control’s site, but Matt’s post on this is a great read, I encourage you to read his thoughts on distractions as a whole, and then click on the link to the application from there.
I was planning to disable the account which would essentially erase my profile, but the photos that are stored on there that are used by many friends would disappear also, so I am thinking of just disabling access to the link, and posting a status that I can’t be contacted from Facebook anymore.
I’ve also sold my iPhone due to waiting for the next model to arrive towards the end of the year, and so far the only thing i miss from it is to play my music. It’s good to not be constantly connected to social media. I can check my Twitter and e-mail when I open my Macbook every day, that’s good enough.
Facebook does seem to be in some kind of decline due to the rise of messaging applications and how teenagers are seeing it as ‘not-cool’ due to their parents being on the site as well. Perhaps we’re witnessing the beginning of the end, but I can’t imagine it disappearing like Myspace did in 2008. It will disappear very slowly.
It sounds too in-depth and even dramatic to write about leaving a social network site, but this is the reality of what Facebook has become. It’s become a staple of everyday life for many people, which is far too easy to access and reach people you couldn’t do previously. But with many useless statuses and comments being posted, its use as a chat is simply pointless when there are far better alternatives.
Around July, I’m breaking free of the Facebook-Symbiote. The profile will be present with the pictures intact, but I will have blocked access to reach it myself and with the bookmarks removed.
You should too.