Facebook dictatorship - my first column piece!

Today, we started writing our first column piece. For the past two weeks we have been reading any circular pieces we could get our hands on and I took inspiration from Jameela Jamil. I decided to focus my piece on facebook and how it can take over your life, it takes a quite a personal feel, but I suppose you have to put yourself into the piece. Let me know what you think!

Are social networking sites dictating your life?

I’m currently being bombarded with Facebook notifications, new tweet mentions and numerous emails from other networking sites I have joined. It’s always the same type of message I receive as well: ‘Bill Lamb’ has tagged you in a photograph and ‘Jemma Atkinson’ has RT(ed) your status to 1,000 followers – I honestly don’t care.

 I’m not going to lie there was a time when I did, I’d frantically add that person I met for a brief second the night before, a friend of a friend’s friend. I’d update my status at least 10 times a day, in hope someone would comment on it and if I was lucky, get a few ‘likes.’

It wasn’t as if I ever did anything interesting, my wall was filled with everyday mundane action. “Just drinking a bottle of coke” – does anyone actually even want to know that? It’s almost like telling your ‘audience’ that you’re just about to go to the toilet, I have to admit that has probably been a status at some point. And what on earth for? Maybe I liked to think I was a bit of a celebrity, where everyone cared about my every move, but in reality it was just to make me seem more popular than I was and boost my ego.

I definitely felt pressure to conform, all the ‘cool’ people at secondary school uploaded some amazing pictures of where they had been: different events, socials, holidays, sports fixtures – they just looked like they were having the time of their lives and I was missing out. I started bringing my camera everywhere I went and I mean everywhere, my grandma’s house, on country walks, horse-riding, parties and the fact my phone had a built in camera was an added bonus, as it meant I could upload pictures straight away and include it my next tweet – AMAZING! I wanted to show I did do fun things as well and I could have a great time with the people I surrounded myself with, despite not continually posting it to a network.

I was quickly becoming dependent on my phone and began worrying about what I was going to post next. When I received very few comments or ‘likes’ it started to depress me. I’d spend hours each evening on Facebook looking at other peoples’ walls, pictures, updates and messages and the fact they were getting more attention saddened me further. This drove me to send more wall posts, in hope they would comment back on my wall. I’d try and upload two albums a week at different places I had been to through out the seven days. In the pictures, I looked ridiculously happy, I appeared to be like those ‘cool’ people I wanted to be, but I wasn’t happy, it was all a façade. Was that the case with everyone else? Were they playing the game I was?

Last summer, there was a large argument within my friendship circle. People I thought were my best friends fell out with me and drifted away, there was a definite segregation and I felt as though it was me against everyone. The guy I was ‘seeing’ broke it off; every girl has that one person they are utterly besotted with, whether they are good for them or not. He was that one person. Looking back on the relationship, if you can even call it that, as we weren’t going out, it consisted of nothing more than manipulation and upset, but at the time I was unable to see that.  From then on, I became more and more attached to Facebook. I’d ‘stalk’ all my old friends to see what they were getting up to. All the pictures they uploaded looked fantastic, they appeared to be having a great time and didn’t seem to care I was no longer with them. As you can imagine, I only became more down on the whole situation.

A few years back my mother had a brain-haemorrhage, and since that point, when she becomes stressed or worried she has fits. I don’t fully understand why, I’m sure there is a medical explanation, but it will undoubtedly be long-winded and hard to comprehend. With everything going on in my life she only became more worried about how I was coping with everything. My mum watched her once very confident, bubbly daughter crumple into a shy, dishevelled person. I often came in from a day at school and just sat on the sofa and cried all night. I was never someone who cried, and this caused my mum’s illness to worsen. It was a vicious circle: I was low, which made mum worse, which made me even more down.  It was one of the hardest periods I had been through and I was advised to see a counsellor, who diagnosed me with depression. She one of the most lovely and inspirational women I have ever met and her first piece of advice was to stop using Facebook. Many of her clients had spoken to her saying they too felt they were looking into previous relationships with people and becoming unhappy by what they saw on the site.

What counts as being a friend? Someone you have only met for an hour or so and got on well with or someone who has been loyal to you through a difficult time in your life? I vote the latter; with the words of my councilor in mind I began deleting ‘friends.’ At that point my list stood at 890, it is now around 600, I admit I still have a way to go, but I will eventually only have my real friends on the website, but for now the people who I once obsessed over the most have gone.

Now when ‘Jemma Atkinson’ RT(s) me I automatically send the notifications straight to trash, as living a life dictated by social networks isn’t healthy.


  1. This sounds like me a couple of years ago. I was addicted to FB and loved being all up in everyone's business. It peaked when I was unemployed. Suddenly, I just realized there was no benefit to it and stopped, I deleted my acct and don't miss it at all.

  2. This is such a powerful piece. Wow. I think we have all been there at one point or another. You really captured what it's like. Great article, seriously!



Thank you for all your comments, I will endeavour to reply back to you all, but for a quicker response tweet me on @Aimee_Victoria

Aimee xxx