Every so often someone will post a status on Facebook that says something like "I'm thinking of leaving Facebook" or "Facebook is getting really boring/irritating/[insert adjective here]" and I must admit, I roll my eyes a little. Forgetting for a moment the irony of posting on Facebook about how you are fed up with Facebook, it seems illogical to me to make Facebook itself into a culprit as if you, the user, have nothing to do with the experience you're getting on there.
On Facebook, you choose your friends, you set your privacy, you can hide, block and relegate people and apps you're not so interested in. Basically everything you see on Facebook, apart from a few ads (which, let's face it, aren't all that intrusive), is there because you put it there through the choices you have made (or not made). It's like inviting a load of people into a room, sitting there for a while, and then declaring that you're thinking of leaving because this room has got boring. I only know one person on Facebook who has said they were leaving and has actually, properly left, managed to delete everything and never returned.
But even worse for me are the smug comments of people who are not on Facebook, along the lines of "Why don't you go out and get a real life / real friends" etc. etc. Thankfully I don't know anybody who says this in real life (I think!), so we face another irony: most of these are comments I read on other social media sites, comments pages or fora. As if spending your evening trolling comments pages is so much more of a life than spending it on Facebook!
I love Facebook. Love it. I'm not ashamed. And I'm developing a growing fascination with Twitter, although I find the character allowance per tweet rather stingy for someone of my natural verbosity, and I regularly lose track of conversations I'm having on there.
And why? Because I go out of the house two evenings in each fortnight - once to lead the choir rehearsal, and once to a midweek meeting at church. Not exactly living the high life. That's it. Twelve evenings out of every fourteen, once I've got the children to sleep, I'm sitting in my lounge, alone. Except I'm not alone in a sense. All my friends are there on Facebook, including friends living in different continents. My adoption buddies are there on Twitter. And that's not all. I can read the news, do online training courses, do my shopping toddler-free, find activities to fill our days on Pinterest, catch up on thought-provoking and well-written blogs on a variety of subjects and so much more. Of course, there are bits of the internet that I'm not so keen on, so I don't go there.
In an incredibly restricted 'real-world' life, the internet is a world of virtual freedom that I'm more than happy to spend some time in.
Do I read 'real' books? Yes. Do I have 'real' hobbies? Yes. Do I meet up with 'real' people? Yes! Usually with a horde of children destroying any chance of a conversation consisting of so much as two consecutive sentences!
I have as much of a 'real life' as I can manage - sometimes too much reality to be honest. So I'll carry on with my virtual life for light relief, for escapism, for camaraderie and everything else I find there. Hope to see you there! :-)