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{26/02/2013}   The end of an era: no more blog or Facebook

This is my 411th blog post; it is also my last.  At the same time as retiring from my blog, I have also decided to suspend my Facebook account, which I will be doing today.  This all feels quite dramatic, indeed in my world I suppose it is.  However, the end of both has been a long time coming and I have been unexpectedly excited about writing this post for the past week that I’ve been considering it.

I started this blog as a writing project to get me into the habit of writing.  I had read that if you write 500 words a day for six months, you have a novel.  I wasn’t ready to write a novel so decided a blog, ie something public, would get me into the habit.  Six months was last June and I didn’t feel ready to start writing something more substantial and significant but didn’t want to get out of the habit of writing daily, so I carried on.  I would say it took about a year of doing this every day (albeit with maybe a total of three weeks off) for it to become a habit.  So I am not going to stop writing, though as I’m going to work in the Cayman Islands tomorrow I will take that week off; I am instead going to start writing the novel I’ve been wanting to write for ages.  I really hope I contribute something to it every day, but having moaned about how hard it is doing a blog every day, I fear I will find it a lot more difficult to write something towards a novel every day.  But I feel ready for it now and I’m actually looking forward to it.

As for Facebook, for a long time now I’ve had mixed feelings about it.  I resent how much time I spend looking at it, particularly when that time was earmarked for something else.  However, I really like that it has me in touch with people I might not otherwise be in touch with or know anything about.  But the more I think about it, the more I realise that my Facebook life not being a real reflection of life irritates me and, for example, sometimes I find myself feeling envious of someone else, when deep down I know that you often only put things on Facebook that (to?)  make your life sound great; the highlights, embellished as appropriate.

Much as I like having work friends on Facebook, I have recently been feeling very negative about work and my career and I am finding myself comparing my work experiences with my friends/colleagues, which isn’t really helping my enthusiasm or positivity.  Though that said, they are also a form of support and I will miss rant exchanges and sympathies and keeping up with work news.

As for friends on Facebook who are also friends I regularly see, well I don’t need to see their statuses as we are in touch anyway.  Mind you, I know there have been things I’ve discovered about them only by being on Facebook.  I guess what I’ll miss most is the exchanges with people I rarely, if ever, see and who I’ve enjoyed being back in touch with.  However, Facebook is largely creating a false world and I would far rather email someone once a year and have a proper exchange than have a year of snippets and comments on Facebook.  But I did speak to a friend about leaving Facebook and some of my reasons for thinking about it and he pointed out that you can use Facebook more as a source of information rather than pretty much solely for reading friends’ updates, so maybe that’s how I’ll return to Facebook, assuming I ever do.

I am not meaning this to be a general moan or remotely a slagging off session, particularly as I have always culled people I don’t have any Facebook interaction with or who annoy me, but I do find myself getting caught up in other people’s rants or moans and I have plenty of them of my own without getting involved in other people’s.  I also think that when I am feeling a bit sorry for myself for whatever reason, I read Facebook and usually feel worse as there is always someone promoting something amazing going on in their day, which is not what I want to hear at that moment.  Yes, I know I could not look at Facebook but I feel I am addicted to it and sometimes I get annoyed when nobody has posted since I last checked.  I also get annoyed with all these “like” advertising things and other advertising (the latter I know you can get ad blockers for) and sometimes I think that because my friends and I know what the other is up to via Facebook, I suspect we are in touch at times less frequently by a personalised email or text.  I have also heard myself far too often of late saying things along the lines of, “I read on Facebook that …” and they are often things I feel I should know from more conventional lines of communication than via Facebook.

I know I have checked myself in at exciting places, composed exaggerated status updates and selected the most fun-looking photos to post, as we all have at least occasionally, but right now I feel a need to have a break from it all.  I am under no illusion that I won’t have major Facebook withdrawal, I expect I will reactivate my account again one day and I know I will feel that I am missing out on what has become a replacement for the weekly gossip magazines I used to spend waiting time at train stations reading, but therein lies one of the things I dislike most about Facebook.

As for my blog, I think I will miss that too, probably more than I expect, and I bet I am flooded with post ideas that haven’t that often been particularly forthcoming.  Maybe I will write this blog again, though it would have to be in a different guise for I feel it has been a vehicle for this particular project/writing challenge, but I would far rather send people a link to my novel than my blog!

So it is with a strange and new kind of sadness coupled with a sense of anticipation and positivity that I find myself writing something that never fails to give me a thrill:

The End

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