When Karin died, I withdrew from Facebook a bit – I missed her frantic clicking of the like button, and especially the way she’d click like on her own comments. I culled over a hundred 'friends' and satisfied myself with staying in touch with the 40 people on there to whom I feel closest.
This New Year’s Eve I left for good. Maybe. I think so. I’m not sure. Part of me thinks Facebook has grown too big to be a force for good; Brexit made me think about how polarised and compartmentalised and tribal our digital habits are; part of me thinks Facebook’s already passed its crest as younger folk find media where their parents aren’t stinking the place up; part of me wants to put away childish things and get on with real life, but mostly it’s just not the same without Karin.
Obviously, I thought of myself as a great poster, but I suspect at least half of my 40 remaining friends hid me. I can’t say I’ll be missed. It rumbles on as always. I went offline for my summer holidays in France and when I returned I had the grand total of nine Facebook notifications – all of them photos of me on holiday in France. This time around it took 12 days for anyone to notice I’d gone. Without Anne, I’d likely be one of those people found dead in their house several years after they’ve died. Eaten by their dog.
It’s not easy to leave though. My gang of friends communicate with each other on Messenger these days. Goodreads signs me in with my Facebook password. Even Google and Amazon seem interlinked with it in ways I don’t understand but with plainly a masterplan to monetise me to death.
Plus, what do you replace it with? Twitter is a very poor substitute – strangers talking at each other. Instagram is too visual for someone all about words. I'm fairly sure there's no-one wants a Snapchat of my willy. Their loss. I guess I might find I'm talking to myself on here more than I have been. Currently, I’m going for the methadone fix that is Candy Crush Soda, where I appear to be permanently stranded on Level 667…