April 7th, 2011

mizuno: lil naughty

Why I Loathe Facebook.

I have a lot of reasons to loathe Facebook, like its hideous interface and the way it's killed off usage of interactive longer-form blogging sites. But I particularly resent Facebook for showing up my less admirable qualities.

For instance, I used to pride myself on not being a grudge-holder. My anger is a flash in the pan. It flares up, I rage, say terrible things, go away, sulk for ten minutes and then it's over and I can hardly remember why I was upset in the first place. (Other people usually do, unfortunately.) So I believed myself to be fairly free of the kind of rankling resentment that afflicts many others, and I took pride in that.

Then Facebook came along.

At first it was a bit of fun on the side. I'd log on furtively for a couple of minutes a week and delight in discovering long-lost friends and relatives, exchange a few personal catch-up messages and go away feeling pleased, if slightly guilty for being unfaithful to LiveJournal.

Like all bits of fun on the side, it got complicated. People from high school that I didn't remember started sending me friend requests. I hemmed and hawed over these, dithered over pressing "Accept" or "Ignore" and let the requests go stale. Every time I logged in, there they were, staring at me like puppies waiting outside in a rainstorm.

That was bad enough. It showed me to be incapable of taking action on something that might hurt someone's feelings, even though inaction pretty much sent the same message.

The crux came when two people I distinctly remembered sent me friend requests. I learned that I am, indeed, capable of holding a grudge for a very long time. The first person had been after my high school boyfriend before he and I started dating. She was never overtly nasty to me, but you know how you can tell when someone who's being smilingly polite to you is actually imagining your head on a pike? Yeah, it was like that. Why she thought, "I'll add her!", when she saw my name on Facebook I shall never understand. We were scarcely even acquaintances then.

The second person - oh, the second person. When I left high school for university a year early, she made a big song and dance about staying in touch. I wrote her several letters. She sent none. What she did do, however, was show my letters to my erstwhile boyfriend. There was nothing incriminating in them, but they were written in confidence, and to me, that confidence is sacred. I do not read other people's mail, electronic or otherwise, and I treat the contents of letters that are addressed to me alone as exactly that. I was furious when I found out. That alone would have been enough motivation to cut her off for a good long spell (and I would certainly never trust that person beyond acquaintance level again). However, when I returned home for the summer, the person in question declined to speak to me because, "I had turned into a druggie." Leaving aside the laughability of that statement, fifteen years later I still can't tolerate someone who had broken confidence. Did she think that clicking "Add Friend" on Facebook somehow meant, "I'm sorry. Let's forget about past wrongs and start afresh now that we're older"? Because that so didn't work for me.

I had no problem clicking "Ignore" with all the petty, vindictive, grudge-holding spirit I could muster. And that's why I hate Facebook.