19. Giving up Facebook

Rumours that I was asked to leave Facebook due to a ‘near-universal lack of popeularity’ (their typo) and that my virtual headspace was required for ‘new, more dynamic users’ are way off the mark. In fact, we have parted company ‘by mutual consent’ (my words) and only for the time being: the launch of my novel, Death Defiers, in October means I will be re-joining in advance of that momentous event to do the marketing thing.

How am I adapting to my new, lo-fi lifestyle in the meantime? Well, so far so good. It may surprise you to learn that I am drafting this post on the off-white pages of an elasticated policeman’s notebook (though you may be less surprised to learn that none of my fellow passengers have yet mistaken the tall, bearded gweilo for an undercover cop and asked me to arrest any pesky mainlanders for suitcase-related felonies).

What I miss least from my FB days is not the universal acclaim granted to my self-consciously wacky dress sense or Leica-pure photography but rather the constant invitation to like or not like the variable efforts of others. Being a liberal yet petty-minded kind of netizen, I used to do this rather earnestly – scanning a fish eagle’s eye over the exploits of friends and asking myself like a confused Turner Prize judge: but is it art? Consulting the subcommittee in my brain I came to an agonizing decision every single time as my throbbing finger hung over the mouse button, or smudge, sequestered screen.

To like, or not to like? People’s lives may depend on this, yet often I resisted goading on the lonely and insane (as they resisted encouraging me).

Island life in the '80s - what's not to like?

Island life in the ’80s – what’s not to like?

And after a couple of beers?

Different story.

I would ‘like’ indiscriminately, from disco dancing hippos to the deaths of exotic household pets. How did I feel in the morning? Compromised beyond measure. My eventual solution involved holding myself in – something that comes pretty naturally in middle age – and waiting for something to come along that I truly ‘liked’.

And here it is, at last: quitting Facebook and complaining about it anonymously on yet another whingeing blog.

What do I ‘like’ even more than complaining? You, virgin reader, for finding me here without the all-encompassing power of Facebook to guide you gently to my realm.

Okay, now feel free to throb, hover and ignore me until the next post…


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