I have just closed my Facebook account. I've been on Facebook since 2007 (which was fairly early for Australians), but a growing irritation with it made me finally pull the plug. The reasons were many and varied.

Firstly, Facebook was primarily a social thing for me - I liked keeping up with Friends and Family Overseas and Interstate and their growing families and life changes. Unfortunately, I've noticed that people post less and less 'personal' stuff. Some of this could be that growing children don't want things put on Facebook (my oldest, who is 8, doesn't like me reporting funny things he's said anymore to anyone, let alone an audience of Facebook friends), but I think that largely Facebook has become a community of people watching each other, and wary of posting things about themselves, especially when you are potentially sending your photos out to "friends" numbering in their many hundreds. Who wants to put a photo of themselves up in a bikini for their former Boss to look at? So Facebook has, over the past year and a bit, become for me one long stream of people asking for Charitable donations for marathons and other things they were doing (fine), the reposting of inflammatory Political propaganda (I read the paper, I don't need to see this elsewhere),  and an awful lot of targeted Facebook advertising (recently a targeted ad advertised to me "find mature love", which really proved to me that Facebook employs mostly 18 year olds to program their algorithms. Last time I checked 39 was not regarded as being exceptionally aged).

So a few things triggered the disconnect. Firstly around a month ago Facebook recommended a new "friend" for me. Generally these are based on algorithms that mean the number of friends in common you have on Facebook, the higher the chance you know each other in real life and will want to be friends. Fine. Except that this person is someone I've only had contact with in a Work capacity - we have no friends in common, and I've only communicated with her on my computer via my work email (not my email used to open the Facebook account). So that would suggest that Facebook has been spying on me.


A growing sense of unease over that was then compounded by a few other things - the mindless reposting of stuff without actually fact checking it prior to posting. A friend posted something to her wall via a Facebook page about "Politicians gave themselves an 11% pay rise and Nurses got 0-1%". Terrible, of course. But I thought they were having pay freezes in the Australian Parliament, I could recognise none of the Politicians in the picture, and thought the Nurses were dressed differently to Australian Nurses. Checking the page it was on it showed it to be a UK source. But by reposting this, others also then reposted it and so misinformation is spread - they obviously thought that was happening in Australia (rather than just showing solidarity for the UK nurses).

So last night, after logging on I was irate to find that several websites I'd googled earlier in the day had ads appearing in my Facebook feed. I'm sick of it! While google Ads tend to follow you around the internet (currently, I'm being tortured by a Carolina Herrera Botanical print skirt I could not afford, and which is sold out, turning up again and again in my Google Ads on various websites), I find it a little disconcerting to find 4 companies popping up in my Facebook feed that I'd completely separately been looking at earlier in the day.

The fact that it was irritating me more than giving me any form of pleasure made me decide to pull the pin.

More tea please via

What this has done, is to make me assess how we all connect in the world (or don't, really). There was this quite pertinent link a friend posted on Facebook (prior to me shutting it down), that resonated with me…. how many times have you gone out to Dinner or a bar or pub and seen groups of people or a couple that spend more time interacting with their phones than with each other? A lot of people spend a lot of time watching what others do via Facebook (or blogs or instagram) and feeling bad about their lives as a consequence. The green eyed monster rears its head that they don't get a family holiday for 6 weeks in Europe, have children winning every award at School, have children at all, are sitting at home on a Saturday night when all their friends are at the same party… I just wonder why so many people continue to participate in something that is poison to them. No one can really know what is going on in someone's life just by seeing a brief post on Facebook, it's a completely filtered medium.

via Marie C's Pinterest feed

I was reminded of this recently when busily (!) pinning away on Pinterest, my favourite time waster. I follow Marie-Chantal's Pinterest feed (Crown Princess of Greece), and she was posting quotes. They were to do with positive thinking, removing negativity in your life, having no fear of failure etc . It seems that if a Crown Princess, daughter of a Duty Free Billionaire, and a woman who has 4 Nannies for her 4 children, flies in Private Jets and wears Couture feels the need to post inspirational quotes that suggest the fairytale is not real, then those of us who are lesser mortals should bear in mind that our friends and wider social circle have their own struggles and that just off camera there is a pile of overdue bills to be paid, or a sick child (or a really sick child), or that indeed we are all just trying to keep our heads above water, and that holds true no matter how privileged the position is that a person occupies on our globe.

So farewell Facebook, I've decided to catch up with my friends in real life instead.


40 comments:

  1. Well first up, can I just suggest Ad block would be useful for you. :) Facebook or no Facebook.

    I never see any ads in my internet travels - not on my Facebook feed, not on websites I visit, not on my google searches, not anywhere I go. No popups or pop-unders. No automatic playing videos. No flashing things, or automatic playing music.

    Most browsers these days have plugin capability and if you add on the plugin known as ad block it will turn off all ads - or you can configure it to suit if you want to see some ads. I was using Safari on the mac, I am now using Chrome in windows, I've used Firefox before and all of them can run ad block. Not sure about Internet Explorer but if you are using that as your browser you might want to totally disconnect from the entire internet for safety reasons, that thing can run some seriously bad malware, trojans and viruses as a surprise.

    I was pretty shocked to see the ads on various websites when I recently switched to Chrome and had not turned on the ad block extension yet.

    For me Facebook is mostly the thing you wanted it to be - I do have family and friends in far flung locations, and they do post updates and goings on in their life. I also keep up with a lot of goings on in the places I like to travel to namely Hawaii, so my feed has quite a bit of Hawaii in it, which I guess can keep anyone coming back for more. :)

    But more importantly being rural, I belong to a lot of local groups on FB and it contains extremely useful info as to what is going on in my community. Just after I read your post, I was informed of a fire not far from me via the NSW RFS Facebook feed - and just after that I began to smell the smoke.

    We've recently had a local firebug setting fire to garbage bins, piles of leaves, dry grass, playground equipment.. none of which I would be aware of without FB because the local news is pretty useless now. So thanks to people talking about that, I know not to leave anything potentially flammable in places where someone like that could access it - my bins are now safe in our shed and only come out for bin night very late in the night when this firebug is in bed - we've been able to work out it is a kid based on the times of the fires. Fingers crossed they are caught before someone really gets hurt.

    Via the community groups I now know the names of people I see on a regular basis. I know the names of my neighbours. I may know more about them that I want to know - such as they do not know the difference between to and too or that they choose to order steak at any restaurant they visit thanks to a local restaurant feedback group.

    Everything from where are the best chips locally - to lost animals I can keep a look out for and have reunited with their owners on several happy occasions thanks to someone posting a photo on the local lost and found pets group - to people having a garage sale to much loved people in the community passing away, I hear about it via FB.

    There is some wonderful photography shared - one guy has a drone camera and he has been posting the most incredible aerial shots - there are also weather alerts, info about roads that have been closed due to accidents or trees down.. so much going on and none of it I would know about otherwise.

    So this is my own experience of FB. I find it quite useful. But I also have some rules and one is no phones out in restaurants or while out and about. I find it to be a bit dangerous because you become unaware of your surroundings.

    Anyway I hope at least the adblock stuff might be useful to you. :)

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    1. Thanks for the adblock info - that is very useful! I'd heard about it, however despite appearances to the contrary I am fairly technologically illiterate/ lazy so hadn't pursued it further. I will do so now!
      I can see that Facebook is very useful for you in a rural area. I must say that the only reason why I kept up with Facebook over the past year has been to keep in touch with family overseas… snippets of everyday life aren't things you'd send in a Christmas card or even an email. I will miss that. But I decided that accounted for so little of what I was seeing that after hiding people's posts and culling a heap of friends last year, I may as well go the whole hog and delete it. I've been reassured by Facebook that I can come back at any time though…. (am going to hold firm on this!). Thanks for your comment and perspective x

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    2. Oh, and I hope they find the firebug before Summer too - very scary xx

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    3. I agree bout being unaware of one's surroundings whilst the love in with the phone is on.

      I also worry about young (the ones I see are mostly young ) people walking around and through Sydney traffic with headphones on. my son being a prime example

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    4. There was something on the news the other night about the rise in injuries from people wearing headphones and wking into traffic etc as they couldn't hear the cars

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  2. Wonderful, wonderful post. You write so eloquently Heidi. So many people will relate to this.

    Like many people, I disconnected from FB last year bc it can be very toxic (in many ways), and I felt uncomfortable being asked to use it to promote books. There's a fine line with promotion, and I'm starting to tread it carefully.

    I find that if people really want to connect with you (or you with them), they'll email or drop over for a visit – or ask when you're coming to visit them? It's easy to stay in touch with friends now, even if they live on the other side of the world, without having to be endlessly connected to social media. And I think most of us would rather sit on a verandah or a lovely sunroom and chat to our friends in person, listening to their stories and laughter and seeing their beautiful faces light up, than reading about their lives via scattered images on a screen. Janelle

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    1. Agree with you about this Janelle. I think it's a fairly lazy way to stay in touch really… if you can see bits and pieces of someones life, you're not so inclined to think you haven't caught up with them in a while, and then make the effort to do so. Agree with you too about promotion - you walk a fine line with tipping it into spam. So much of what you 'like' on Facebook ends up with either ads promoting similar pages and certain shops etc producing so much content it swamps your feed. It's something that I've been thinking about for a while, and it definitely feels like the right thing to do for me. xx

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  3. Great post Heidi, I am getting much more circumspect about my online behaviour, I've heard some atrocious stories lately about identity theft and gross invasions of privacy, of course blogging doesn't help that but from now on I'm going to be FF and hide behind a clutch bag, I was never comfortable showing my face anyway, I'm quite reserved in real life but I thought it was something I 'had" to do because I blogged.
    Mature love - I got stairlifts ads, you are doing better than I am!

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    1. So funny re the stairlift ads!! I told you they were all 18!
      It's a funny thing, I think if you feel anonymous in real life you're perhaps more comfortable showing your face on your blog (so living in a big city). I'm in a small place and don't want to go around feeling like people are recognising me from the blog…. it wasn't such a concern in the early blog days when I had 20 readers, but I've definitely changed my writing style and what I'm happy to share (hence the lack of clothes posts now, as I feel very self conscious with the judgement that is passed on me from that). Definitely I've become more circumspect.

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  4. I always refer to Facebook as ShowoffBook because that seems to be its primary purpose, oh, and advertising too. I changed all of my settings to private last year for much the same reasons as you have described, but as it's a nuisance to keep up to date with all of the changes they keep making to privacy settings, I may as well close it down too, as I only log in once every 3 months or so.

    I do rather suspect there will be a massive backlash against these sorts of social media - instagram, Facebook, twitter, although to me blogs are something quite else, because they (can be) more about a conversation and less about showing off…well, the best ones that is.

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    1. A few people have referred to it as that amongst my friends as well! Agree with you about the privacy settings and changes, it was a pain to constantly have to keep on top of it. I think that Facebook is already on the wane - while they are growing numbers in new markets, the existing client base is dropping away with large numbers shutting down accounts. Twitter has the same problem - number of tweets per user is apparently going down, with a lot of people not tweeting at all. I think as soon as they start monetizing their businesses they lose the way - it will be interesting to see if Instagram suffers the same fate.

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  5. Well i am having a tough facebook week or two lately so I read this carefully! I have had a love/hate thing with facebook and funny it's only with the blog that I have learned to share after being very quiet on it for a good period of time. But I have reconnected with old friends from my primary and secondary school and for those people I couldn't really consider deleting it. The ad block thing is a great tip though and I will try and install it later.

    But right now due to the situation in Israel - people are unfriending each other right left and center due to opposing views and it has become a forum for nasty finger pointing and I did contemplate suspending it for a while... I have friends from all sorts of backgrounds so realize that one's normal is another's dream and vice versa on many different areas in life( family, money, partner etc) plus I realized really young that no one has a fairy tale life so that stuff doesn't really bother me unless people have double standards and get upset at what isn't their normality and take it out on a person just simply living their life. But I hope you don't get any ideas about IG or the blog H!!! xx

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    1. No! Will keep those going… have wavered slightly on the blog this year, but posting less is working for me at the moment. You're so international that I can see it's a great way for you to keep in touch with people. I just found a lot of the people I reconnected with after a long period of time I had disconnected from for a reason. That's awful that you're stuck in the middle of the Gaza situation…. I found the election last year to be an awful time on Facebook with the constant posting of political things…. people completely lost their sense of perspective - most people wouldn't have those conversations in real life, but would on Facebook. So weird the way in one sense you're disinhibited in some areas, and in others you're inhibited. xx

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  6. Some good points you make.
    It's very hard to shut off completely.
    I find it good to catch up with friends I don't see much.
    I waste too much time on it.
    I hope to find another way to catch up with you in Adelaide for a bevvy when I am over there for a conference :D

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    1. I think most people have short attention spans nowadays and find it hard to switch off. It was good in the early days where I had 40 friends, and little children that I'd often be housebound with… it was an outlet. Not so much anymore.
      Just email me! Would love to catch up when you come to Adelaide for a conference Cilla! x

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  7. I rarely check it, and my husband shut his account down years ago. I've been noticing recently how common it is for people to be on their phones/ checking phones etc whilst dining. I find it fascinating. What did people used to do?!!!!

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    1. My husband has never been on it, he now thinks he's so clever for not getting onto it in the first place. The phone thing is funny - when someone is waiting for their dinner companion (such as when they've gone off to the bathrooms, or for them to arrive), they immediately get their phone out. I just go old school and stare into space blankly or check out what the other people in the restaurant are eating! But I think most of the others are updating their FB status on what a great night they're having. xx

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  8. Heidi this is such a well-written post! I closed my personal facebook account years ago though I do have one with my blog name attached, that I never ever use. I should probably just shut that down as well.
    I had a friend around for lunch yesterday and we spent four hours talking away, eventually moving onto the porch for tea. What a conversation we had, and one of our subjects was that long-ago time in the 90's when we didn't have any of this facebook stuff, and how our friendships were different.
    Isn't it interesting too that in disconnecting you'll probably connect with your friends more often and in a meaningful way?

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    1. How interesting that you had that conversation with your friend yesterday Dani! Most people that I've spoken too recently about FB have said similar things to me about it too, and similarly to you and your friend how differently our friendships evolve now. I think it's just the mindless "liking" of everything without real interaction creates a false sense of intimacy to some extent. It's made us all into voyeurs. I hope I will connect with people a little bit more - maybe I'll notice that I haven't spoken to someone in a long time. You don't notice so much when you get snippets of their life from a FB feed. xx

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  9. Dear Heidi
    Can understand how you feel about Facebook and why you've shut down - but can't help feeling sorry. Loved your posts, little snippets out of your days with pics of the children and their doings and your outings, fashion, house etc. It's such a shame there are so many downsides to posting.
    I also enjoy Facebook posts from really old friends far away, daily snippets from their lives too that they wouldn't bother or think worthwhile to send emails about. This way I feel we are more or less part of each others' daily lives as we once were. More so than with others who are not on Facebook and who don't get round to emailing much. We call each other occasionally and have long chats but it's different.
    Some friends are a bit housebound, either because of where they live, health problems or small children at home and it's a way for them to keep in touch with people they might not normally see. It's so easy to take a photo or two and add a couple of lines. If they had to sit down and email "I'm a bit miserable just now because I have a dreadful cold and it's freezing out" they'd never do it. They'd probably think it sounded whingey. Or "my Aunt is dying and I'm feel so sad". Or "I've just put my parents in a home and I'm depressed about old age".
    I think in a best case scenario Facebook can be helpful and allow people to share their concerns and obtain and provide support - and also to share things that make them happy. Things they might hesitate to write an email about because that seems somehow to require more thought and seems more premeditated than jotting a line or two with a photo or sharing a joke that can sometimes be an indicator of pain.
    But I totally agree about the dreadful advertisements! They seem to have proliferated recently. The worst show a gruesome mouth with a few teeth and metal stumps for replacement teeth. Absolutely horrific. Why would they think anyone would be attracted by these? And why me? I keep telling them how awful they are and to stop putting them on my feed. So good to hear there might be something I can do to block all advertisements, though we have Internet Explorer and I'm technically illiterate.
    One of the reasons I post lots of photos is I figure Facebook is a free offsite storage facility if my computer is stolen or malfunctions and the back-up vanishes too. Have a friend who lost all her photo records for years when her house was burgled and others who lost everything in the Canberra bushfires. I also post about these things because at our time in life our holidays: the looking forward to them and then the reminiscing, are a major source of pleasure, so I guess I'm a bit fixated. The most important thing for us of course is our family but I rarely post pictures of them because our son doesn't usually want them on the net. So I seem to post mostly about holidays and food. Maybe quite dreadful, when I think about it!
    Often people who appear highly successful and put on a happy face are hiding pain that you would not believe. So it's not surprising that the Crown Princess is putting up posts on positive thinking. I receive lots of them. Perhaps people think I need them. Sometimes I do.
    Must stop now, I'm rambling I know, but I wanted to let you know that while I understand your decision I will truly miss your Facebook posts. Pammie xx

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    1. Pammie I loved seeing your travel posts and your observations on what you were up to. I'm sad too that I can't interact in such an easy manner now, but the majority of my interactions were so one sided it just seemed right. Who knows, I may have to start up in it again at some stage if the kids get on it when they're older. Probably something else will be all the go though... That ad sounds awful!

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  10. I think all that you say is true and can understand checking out. I first became a Facebook user as it was how our 30th high school reunion was organized. The vast majority of my classmates never left our hometown and several married other classmates. I was one of the few that left and hadn't been back since the 10yr reunion, Many of these people I went through all 12 grades with which is a strong bond even if you have nothing else in common. All of them are kind, considerate, and always have something lovely to say to my mum when they see her out at church, grocer, post office, etc and share a giggle as to what I'm up to. When I was serving overseas in the Army, these thoughtful inquiries meant a great deal to her.
    To show my gratitude and because I actually like doing it, I take 15-20 minutes out of each week to check in with these old friends who have just posted vacay, high school and college grad, and other family pics and write a little comment to re-connect.

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    1. I think if you've moved away from your hometown then it's a good way to reconnect, you perhaps have a similar perspective to Naomi, you're obviously quite disciplined about how much time you spend in it too, and perhaps have a demographic of friends who don't feel the need to force their political views on you constantly too!

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  11. I grew up in a small town approx. 100 kms from Adelaide. I moved away in my 20s and lost contact with everyone back home. With Facebook the opportunity came to reconnect. However, I quickly learnt that there was a reason I lost contact with these people and true friends are those I saw from time to time over the years. The old timers only friended me so they could look in at my life. There is no interaction between us of any real value. As to those who say FB is only for showing off, well I only post things that are meaningless that the looky-loos can read what they want into it. I don't put my personal business on FB to be talked about. My postings are about holidays or dining out. People probably figure I am showing off but I don't post about my weight struggles, my infertility issues or other real life dramas for people to be talking about behind my back.

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    1. I think if you've been taught not to air your dirty laundry in public it can mean that you provide a bit of a misconception that your life is perfect. It really doesn't replace catching up in person with someone where confiding a problem you have can lead to the friend also telling you something they're struggling with. It's easy to forget if all you see are happy shots. Sounds like your old school friends and a lot of mine have much in common!! Sometimes there are good reasons why we go our separate ways in life.

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  12. Ah facebook, though I have just found an old friend through FB..it's funny I have been in touch with other people I haven't seen since forever though FB but haven't got together (in real life, real time etc ) . FB has become a substitute

    Another thing is that many people I know write quite opinionated pieces yet if you dare to question or disagree (politely of course ) they become so aggressive. Why is that ?

    Was in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney last weekend , actually went further afield to Bathurst which was settled in 1815 ..lots of gorgeous colonial architecture. Have you been there? The Bathurst court house is an incredible domed, porticoed building which so the story goes was supposed to be built in India. Plans were possibly mixed up in some long ago colonial office in the mother country

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    1. How fascinating re Bathurst! I've not been, but you've piqued my interest. I've not done much travel in country NSW, outside of Bowral (as rural as I've been!). Interesting about connecting but yet not connecting with people. I think there's a lot if curiosity about what people from your past are up to for most people, but that doesn't necessarily translate into actually wanting to catch up in real life. I used to sometime think Facebook was a bit of a school reunion of sorts- a couple of minutes highlights in conversation and then move on to the next personfound

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    2. Sorry about typo at end- am on my phone and it's playing up!

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  13. Very interesting post Heidi: I am finding the adverts really annoying too. Apparently Facebook are now going to try to get people to buy directly from these add and suggest products to us.... it is getting all too much in my opinion.
    One thing about Facebook that is a positive is that it is quick and easy to do and get in touch with people/update family and friends who are far away. I have a personal blog which you need a password to get on to and the reason that I set this up was so that a outsider could not find pictures of my house, children, work out when we go on holiday, etc. But, I post less frequently on that as it is more work than a quick facebook update.
    xxx

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    1. Well they just made a record profit, all through advertising which doesn't surprise me. I get annoyed at the newsfeed ads that are concealed with a friends profile at the top. I used to like it as a way of sharing photos with a small (initially) circle. If they weren't interested then they didn't need to look at it, unlike prior to that when people would send out an email to their contact list with a million photos attached to it. But I became wary of posting whole albums a while ago, probably as the number if people viewing it rose. A blog, even private doesn't make up for it though, as you say it's too much work!

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  14. Dear Heidi,
    A very timely post! I’ve just got off the phone from talking to a friend about Facebook and Instagram. I too got on Facebook to catch up with family mostly and on the whole Facebook for me remains as a portal to share family photos and stories. Instagram is another matter. I'm fed up with it! Its just too much showing off and I’m sick of it!
    Everyone seems to be trying to outdo each other with healthy food; exotic locations; inspirational quotes and of course what they have bough or what special little snowflakes their kids are. I at times have found myself suckered into doing this myself and I realised the other day that this does not sit well with me. Sure I like looking a pretty pictures but this constant one upmanship as I see it is irritating me.
    The whole Facebook algorithm thing is something else that I have discussed with a friend this week. She was telling me (she's in marketing) that Facebook are constantly playing out social experiments and we the clueless users become their guinea pigs. For example they have put in some users feeds posts that relate to negative things e.g. health issues; financial concerns etc. and in other groups of users much more positive and upbeat suggested posts.
    My son is at a big conference this week on social marketing and I will be interested to hear what strategies and techniques the gurus of Google etc. are using on us.
    I have my own funny and disturbing story on ‘mature love’ from Facebook. My cousin sent me a link to do a quiz from growing up in the 70’s. After I finished it took me to a dating web site which I thought was weird. I have a different email address for Facebook that I rarely use. I logged onto it the other day and I had 25 emails from the dating site users!. They were all targeted around the area of live in so somehow they got this info I’m guessing from Facebook that I live on the GC. More disturbing was the calibere of the men interested in me. 65+ with permed hair or no hair and bad teeth seemed to be my ‘type’. Mr B thought it was hilarious!
    KateBx

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    1. Oh wow Kate- that is scary re the dating site. I have often worried about the info they have on me and what they do with it (besides targeted advertising). Glad MrB thought it funny (obviously they were not competition for him!). Interested to hear what the online marketing is heading towards though. It amazes me to some extent that so many people were wary of the Government having information on them, but don't seem bothered that a private corporation has much more that they've freely given. Remover the arguments about the Australia Card back in the 80's? I think you need to unfollow a few insta people. I like the design I get to see on it, but had to unfollow a few of my early follows as the rubbish they were hash tagging drive me nuts!! #keepingitreal should not be hashtagged on a photo if designer shoes and bag, nor should you claim that hard work will reap you rewards with a second home in the French alps. Plenty of people work hard and never get a home, let alone a #luxury #3story #chalet in the #frenchalps after working out that one was not a parody account the hypocrisy made me unfollow. We all need less of that in this world (although granted some people seem to find her words of wisdom inspiring...)

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  15. Heidi
    I applaud you for removing your children (mostly) from your blog offerings as the current epidemic of parents divulging so much about their children's lives on all forms of social media is a disgrace. It is one thing for adults, and people who can make educated assessments accurately, about putting all their personal information 'out there' for any person (or company) to use at their disposal but it is quite another to take it upon yourself to decide that your progeny's life is fair game for all and sundry to read (and make judgment on) about for whatever reason.

    I despair for the children and youth of today who are being manipulated and lead astray so thoughtlessly by the people that are supposed to love and care for them the most. These same adults can hardly complain, in the years to come, as their offspring develop into self-adsorbed, materialistic narcissists who, quite rightly, will inevitably throw any derision back into the adults' faces with the argument that they only responding rather appropriately to the moral vacuum in which they were raised.
    And don't even get me started on the inane Instagram, Pin Interest, etc, etc programs that continue to achieve nothing for humanity other than feed into the marketing and sales department objectives of every company in the corporate world to get people to buy more stuff and feel inadequate about what they don't have that everyone else does.
    Bah Humbug, I say!!!!
    Zoe.

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    1. Hi Zoe, well you've touched on a few other things about the whole online footprint we create. I decided early on to not put my kids on the blog much as I don't feel it's fair to them to expose them to the criticism that I occasionally cop. That plus concerns for their (and my) safety. But it's a difficult thing to do in some ways- my life is 90% about them at the ages they're currently at, and 10% about everything else. This blog is not a diary of my entire life, but I realise a lot of people think it is based on what I do post.
      I'm about to start reading a book about the rise of narcissism, it's definitely a cultural phenomenon on the rise, and I worry about a society where the adults have grown up with mentally absent parents attached to social media, their email and texts.
      On a side note with Pinterest I often wonder how many people actually go back and use what they've pinned. While I do, it's really only because of the usefulness in a design context, but I wonder if that's what the majority are doing or just wasting time away with no point?
      I also have to say how much I dislike blogs that are entirely built around the latest things to buy with click links. I'm all for sharing sources and giving genuine recommendations (and that was what used to make a blog good in the old days), but the commercialization, constant makeovers and DIY when it wasn't needed in the first place and that are trend drive irk me.

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  16. Well done Heidi for 'unplugging'. I dare say you wont miss it. I joined FB to keep an eye on my then teens but was quickly blocked! LOL. I have my settings on Private so only those I want see my feed which is usually just a repost of funny things that pop up on others. I agree with you that it seems to have become a 'snooping' tool...and I've been guilty of that too. Your arguements here is so well justified that you are making me re-think my need for this service too. x KL

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    1. I have friends that did the same as you KL, and found that their more tech-savvy kids had run rings around them fairly early on, so the spying potential was wasted!
      It's going to be interesting to see how many people decide to drop off Facebook… certainly in the last year I've seen a lot friends and a few family close their accounts. x

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  17. Very very interesting post and beautifully written too ! I've never had Facebook, for all the reasons you mention and also because I can merely find the time to maintain a blog. My daughter has an account though and recently she had to remove a dear old friend who kept posting very militant photos about a conflict going on; he is sincere and surely right in his own way but these posts were so offensive for the majority of A's friends that she had to block him. As for the green-eyed monster you mention, we all tend to post the good aspects of our lives because we want other people to feel good and we suffer or grieve or just endure the bad sides in private. To me, the blog is like a photo album and who wants to have their photo taken while they're crying ? Social media is everything and anything but I'm glad I got on the bandwagon, if only on my blog, because at my age, it's a way of keeping up to date with stuff and I enjoy reading other people's offering so much.

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    1. Share your concern about real life friends posting militant and divisive photos and reports on Facebook. My husband has an old friend from university days who has become quite right wing as he's aged and is extremely militant about all kinds of issues. I have a similar old friend, but she's militant about the environment and more left wing issues (strangely enough these friends were once an item when they were young - but have totally lost touch with each other and now lead their own happy lives - and would probably today loathe each other's diametrically opposed views). I sympathise with her environmental concerns but I don't want my Facebook page to be taken up with rants and rages (not that she rants, but my husband's friend does). So have never told them I'm even on Facebook as I don't want to have to refuse friend requests from them.
      Some of my Facebook friends (who are old friends in real life) do use it to talk about things that go wrong in their daily lives - and I'm sure it helps them to be able to release some of their upsets and disappointments that way. But when they're happy they also post about good things. Believe it can be beneficial to post about some of the downsides of life (obviously not all the time though) because sharing rather than bottling up can often help ease some of the burdens on our hearts or minds. I know people will say why don't you just talk to a friend in person about it - but sometimes we don't want to bother or distress friends with our sadness/problems and there's a strange kind of distancing/anonymity about putting it out there on Facebook. At the same time it can also help readers to see they're not alone in their own struggles. It's true that posting only the happy things can make others feel their lives don't measure up. I tend myself to post mostly positive things too - holidays and great meals, and in hindsight this worries me a bit. But have occasionally posted about sad things too, eg after attending the funeral of an old friend and walking around the church graveyard afterwards I took some pictures of the church and the graves and posted them. I felt so sad because she died too young and took a shared part of our lives with her - but it felt right to express some of that sadness on Facebook. Pammie

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    2. You've raised some interesting points Silver Bunny… firstly that's awful that your daughter had a friend so insensitive to her views. But I suppose part of the problem of Facebook is that people are sending things out to a very wide audience. Something you might filter with a wider social group where you could more easily offend doesn't seem to happen a lot. I've seen some very offensive things written by others on friends posts (they are my friend's "friends", so not people I know). I had thought you'd stopped blogging though?! I'll drop by, so sorry!! x

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    3. Pammie, you've hit on my problem - at first it was purely a close friends only thing on Facebook, but soon I had people I didn't want to offend by refusing their requests, and so the Friends list grew substantially, and I ended up with all sorts of rubbish to filter through to see a handful of friends that posted pictures of their new babies or whatever. When it was 30 or 40 people that knew me really well, I didn't feel like I had to self-censor so much too. It strikes me though that others think of Facebook in a different way from me - one friend seems to think it's her duty to link to news stories and studies of interest, but when you get 4 or 5 a day that are all extremely political in nature it can get a bit tiring to sift through.

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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