Here’s another Facebook problem. I don’t want to trivialise this but I’ve got to an age where sadly I have Facebook friends who are no longer with us.
So what do you do in these circumstances? What’s the etiquette? Is there even any etiquette?
I have two such friends – or three if you count the ex-friend who I’ve blocked rather than ‘unfriended’ under the premise “keep your friends close…” but I think you might know that story and if not its in the archives!
No one wants to hit the ‘unfriend’ button; it seems so disrespectful and anyway just because there are dead doesn’t mean they aren’t still your friend right? For a while after their passing these pages are peppered with messages of condolence or simply old memories but now, a few years hence they are frozen in time, a sad testament to the departed. I imagine that notifying Facebook of bereavement is not high on anyone’s agenda and so we are left with a bizarre digital graveyard, a cemetery without either boundaries or a Caretaker.
It’s not just Facebook of course; the dilemma of voicemail messages and texts from beyond the grave has been around for quite some time. Although normally I keep my inbox scrupulously clean, I have a text on my phone that is nearly four years old now. It is from a friend in Gaucín arranging lunch for the following week and was sent not 24 hours before she dropped dead of a heart attack on her driveway, at the age of 55, whilst unloading her day’s shopping from the car.
I can no more delete her message than I can text her back to confirm. I still miss her.
I guess in the end you just go with your gut and whatever seems the right for you is your way forward?
If I’m being honest, I’d quite like to ditch Facebook. It is an insidious beast that is quietly evolving into little more than a virtual Speaker’s Corner and platform for egocentric self-promotion. So is Facebook actually actually bad for you?
I believe that it can be damaging, feeding insecurities in both our personal and professional lives and encouraging discontent.
A friend recently said to me “I don’t go on Facebook much these days, its full of people with their happy lives.”
How many of us know a young person (and I’m afraid they are usually young women) who posts endless pouting selfies, designed to elicit comments such as “wow, you are so beautiful”. Should our young people really be judged on looks alone? Aren’t we encouraging an increasingly shallow society and pandering to a celebrity culture where children grow up wanting to be famous?
And it’s not just our personal feed that can cause anxiety. It’s normal when starting out on a new venture to feel insecure. “Do I have a good idea?” “Is my product rubbish?” “Am I pitching it right?” “Will anyone want to buy my service or follow my blog?” When you create a business page on Facebook you are provided with statistics on how that page is performing: how many people have engaged with your latest post and who ‘likes’ it or has chosen to ‘hide’ your page. Checking the stats can quickly become an obsession leading to enormous self-doubt. It can feel very personal, chipping away at your self-confidence and leading you to ask yourself “Why don’t my Facebook ‘friends’ like what I’m doing?”
Love it or loathe it; live your life on it or sit silently stalking others; Facebook is one of the most powerful phenomena of the modern age, and as a marketing tool it is almighty with the potential to reach thousands of people in just a few clicks! So as a Blogger and small business owner I’d be shooting myself in the foot if I did ditch Facebook!
I haven’t even touched on trolling, its potential for cyber bullying or the impact Facebook has on face-to-face engagement. And then of course, there’s terrorism – but’s that’s a whole other story. In the meantime, I’d be really interested to hear what others think…