Thursday, January 27

Facebook’s Weak Attempts to Get My Attention Make It Clear: Time to Go | Eleanor Margolis

IIt’s 2 a.m., and for the past hour, I’ve been reliving a decade of my life. From what I can tell, it was an incredibly stupid decade. If my Facebook photos are anything to go through, I spent my entire college honking on my friends’ boobs and putting things on my head. Then I spent my 20s and 30s dressed stupidly, in the company of so many people I can barely remember now. My God, the hat phase. There I am in a felt hat at Pride; slimmer and prettier, but clearly having a hard time establishing my “look.”

This is the longest time I’ve spent on Facebook in about four years. Finally, I have decided to delete it. When I was 30 years old, the fact that my profile still exists began to stress me out. Photos of me drunk on display for people I hadn’t thought of in a decade. Whatever I saw as a teenager worthy of a status update, out there, it can be searched, found, obscured only by privacy settings that I do not fully understand.

It’s hard to say exactly what got me off the shelf in the first place, but I remember when it started to suck a bit. It was as if he was spoiling. It started to look like a digital nursery for boomers and people in pyramid schemes, run by Mark Zuckerberg, dead-eyed and passionless, an individual as cool as a middle-aged geography teacher in an upside-down hat, rapping about saying no. to cigarettes. It was all a bit depressing. Scrolling through twitter, at least feel something (usually searing rage). But Facebook seemed like an eternal 2010: indifferent, comfortable and twee.

And the less time he spent on Facebook, the more notifications he seemed to get. I started getting notifications about everything. A girl I met in the bathroom line eight years ago was selling a clothesline. Someone I was with at school that I didn’t particularly like was attending a prison-themed club night. And these things I necessary know, because Zuckerberg was palpably desperate for my attention. Perhaps even more so now with the rebranding of “Meta”, and the stubborn insistence of a movement, en masse, towards the “metaverse”.

But the task at hand, now, is to stay on this forgotten platform, until I have dragged and dropped all the images worth saving to my desktop. I remember switching from Myspace to Facebook around 2007, when I was 18 years old. Facebook seemed a bit more adult. It was more elegant and there was much less room for the kind of customization that would result in a sudden glare from a moving background and an explosion of Mr Brightside. But with its “push” feature and this new idea of ​​posting your “status”, Facebook somehow managed to convince us that it was fun.

I shared events that changed my life on Facebook. I posted about new jobs and relationships. I was on my “wall”. One of my last statuses was in 2017, when my mother died. And yet, when I look through the thousands of photos of me on the platform, they are full of people that I now struggle to name. Even at birthday parties, people come up that makes me wonder if I’m seeing my life in an alternate universe. “Who the hell is he?” I keep telling myself. In part, this may be an obvious testament to how bad I am at keeping friends. I am one of the only people I know, for example, who has now lost contact with everyone they knew in college.

Not all is wasted time, of course. I tear my tears a little when I see photos from an Interrailing trip I took with my college roommates when I was 19 years old. There we are, posing on a bridge in Budapest and, on a hot day, standing by the Louvre fountain. . The inside jokes start to flow again.

I realize that Facebook sums up the “jokes” that defined the 2007-2012 era as almost nothing more. Which is perhaps not surprising for a social media site that started out as a place for students to rate the attractiveness of their classmates. When it went mainstream, it carried forward that fundamental philosophy of spooky as the Olympic torch. In an age where your friends tag you in photos where you are practically dying of alcohol intoxication, this was the last time social media was more of an identification than an ego. It was Fomo inducer, but rarely aspirational.

Before I click on the “delete” bottom of my page, I scroll through my hidden messages, those of people I am not friends with. One of a man I don’t know, from 2016, just says “bitch.” I consider answering briefly, before realizing how depressing it would be.

I have nothing left here, I think to myself, as I say goodbye to a digital decade.

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