14 October 2011

Everything to everyone - deactivating Facebook (for now)

"Ladies and gentlemen, listen up please,
I don't want to be your hero..."
~Darren Hayes - Hero

My willpower is quite strong. I have had a packet of Tim Tams in my fridge for over a month and there are still seven left in the packet. I don't eat chips much because they make my tummy sore. I am not phased if I drink alcohol or not, I can stop at one (but tonight I shall be stopping at one bottle). I don't drink coffee - I only drink herbal tea. And I've not had sex for one year and four days, and I'm ok with that - maybe due to situation rather than willpower - though I'd kill to be held by someone I love sometime soon. And tonight I deactivated my Facebook account. The point I am getting to in this entry is longwinded, but bear with me.

I'm not going to make some grand statement declaring that I've activated it for good. Because it probably will be reactivated sooner than it should be. And it seems pretty damn easy to reactivate - it just takes entering your email address and password. Hell I could have logged out for the same effect. My willpower is not that strong. I'll miss the contact. And Facebook is part of my media career strategy. (I still have my Facebook page though. Become a fan!) But I do think it has become a time waster and a heart breaker. And there's more. I've lived without Facebook until 2007, I can live without it (Clem Bastow has written a wonderful and sad blog entry about giving up social media, and I can relate.)

Facebook is looking into peoples' lives. You can't really choose what you are being fed - even if you hide newsfeeds. I see pictures I can't unsee. Statuses with hideous spelling.  And worse, friends' viewpoints that are racist, sexist, and discriminatory. And I see the one I love with someone else. I can't deal with communication through Facebook likes alone. And that's not all.

I am pretty lax with my Facebook friends. If friends is the right term. I have over 1300 Facebook contacts. I would say I know 900 of them in some form - friend, family, colleague at work or uni, school friend (?) or blogger (even if we have not met) but I also have a lot of people that I don't know accessing my Facebook profile. I am not fussed with strangers seeing my life. I put a lot on my blog for the world to see. But as I mentioned last month, I have come to censor what I write on Facebook, and take my frustration over to Twitter, maybe it's because my Twitter contacts know me less.

Having somewhat a public profile with this blog, my media appearances and general magnetising personality (haha) means I get contacted by a lot of people. The majority of it is fantastic contact. it is flattering. I take the time to respond to those who contact me, add them as Facebook friends even. I get asked a lot of advice, particularly about ichthyosis. From people with ichthyosis, and families of those with the condition. It puts some pressure on me. Of course I don't mind providing advice, but advice based on my experiences is all I can provide.

I rarely provide medical advice to people. I'd hate for a mum to put some cream I recommended onto their baby's skin and it have an adverse reaction. I leave that to the other people. Can't risk it. There are also those who hope that contact with me that would change their lives. It is flattering, but also a bit of pressure.

It is not like I don't want to help people. It is just that I can't be everything to everyone. All the time. My day job as an events planner at times means I need to be everything to everyone. I love my job. But when being everything to everyone spills into my other life, it can be tiring.

And sometimes this somewhat public profile means I can't just vent anonymously. So I have to leave the subjects I am venting about anonymous. We all need to vent.

It's like some people forget that social etiquette still applies online. I discovered that when online dating. Last week I received two bits of unwanted contact. One via email - ranting about why I didn't show the same respect and support to them like I did to the one I love. This ranter is almost a stranger. Yep. And I was on the receiving end of a ranty, lengthy email.

The other was a message from person who had come into contact with me after I appeared in New Idea. They imagined that meeting me would change their life. We haven't met. Just a few Facebook messages exchanged. The message from them last week was one of the most confrontating, vile and sad emails I have received. That message should never have been put on me. What are the right words to say?

When I received those two messages, I shuddered. How contactable how am I? How accountable do I have to be? When does my role as being the life lesson for someone stop, and I just live my life? And how many stories of personal struggles and triumphs  should I be putting out there if it means my experiences are what people relate to and therefore trust enough to approach and spill it all out?

I cannot deal. I can't be everything to everyone. I can't expect to pick up and support almost strangers. Supporting people I know and love, plus looking after myself often doesn't give me much buoyancy. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning.

And I think that deactivating Facebook - even for just a short while - will help me stay afloat, and become more productive again. It has been a big contributor to my sadness, to the overwhelming feelings lately. Catch you round on Twitter, on the phone, or in real life. Back on Facebook when I can float better.

PS: tonight I plan to be productive without Facebook. I need to sew a button on, select three wardrobe changes for filming tomorrow and make my birthday party invitations. Can I do it? Yes I can!

PPS: check out my new site - carlyfindlay.com


  1. Confronting and vicious emails just from Facebook contact? What is wrong with people? do they somehow expect you to be the angel who will fix all their problems? Pfft!!
    I've never been involved with Facebook and never will. It might be fun for a while, but I've seen the harm it can do too, and I don't need that in my life.

  2. It sounds like a good step, this de-activation of Facebook. I hope it gives you a bit of peace and quiet - you certainly deserve it.

  3. I have struggled with many of the issues you describe. I have, like Clem described in her blogpost, tried unsuccessfully to use it to cry out for help. A subsequent 'unfriending' tipping me 'over the edge' and into another black hole. When I want to torture myself, I will choose to look up my ex boyfriend, the self proclaimed commitment phobe and lament at how his new fiancee is so much prettier than me (even if her updates are littered with grammatical errors, it matters not!). I will be stuck in one evening and see that a group of my friends have 'checked in' at a restaurant or bar, leaving me to wonder if my invite was a message send failure. I have hit the deactivate button on several occasions, only to find myself typing in my email address and reconfirming my account a few weeks later. Why? I am an expat and for all its faults, FB is the easiest and most efficient way to keep in touch with friends at home. If it wasn't for them, I'd be off for good! I like the peace, quiet and knowing who my real friends are. Good Luck!

    FF xo

  4. I deactivated facebook. There are only so many people who I want to be in contact with.
    also, there were family issues, and too many ranty emails sent between family members. I was the sender of a few of them, which I am not proud of.
    Also, there is the envy that facebook produces, which is unhelpful.

  5. I agree. I read your blog. I assume that's why you post a blog on-line. You seem to me to be a very nice person. If only there were more inspirational people like you in this world.
    I post as anonymos because, I don't actually know you, as such. And don't want to add extra to your busy life, by needing / wanting to respond. Keep up the good work.

  6. This is an interesting post. I am the wrong generation (baby boomer) to criticise the new bible- the book of Face.

    I am wholly disengaged, but I have the luxury of not needing to be on line to further my working/social life.

    As somebody who used to work in the National Archives, I am conscious of privacy issues and really worry about the loss of private thoughts and behaviour. Oddly enough I was reading a remark by Julian Assange before I read your post. He said:

    "Here([Facebook]we have the world's most comprehensive database about peole, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives...all accessible to US intelligence...Everone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing the work for United staes intelligence agencies. "

    Something to consider.
    best wishes Sue

  7. Hi Carly, long time follower but first time commentor. I think your blog is fantastic, you are a truly funny and enlightening person and I enjoy reading your posts everytime you update.
    Congratulations on your new website.

    I have to say, though, this post left a bit of a bad taste. To me, and perhaps I misunderstood you, but you appear to be saying that you're becoming "overwhelmed" with your fame, that you can't deal with being a "role model" for all your "fans". I found this post a bit arrogant. Im sure you have loads of followers (myself included as a dedicated one!) but I think this might be a bit ahead of yourself. You always used to write with such modesty.

    I hope I havent offended you, I just wanted to give you food for thought as I feel like these posts are kind of sliding towards arrogance and narcissm. You dont have to publish me if you don't want, I understand. I dont have a blog so I can only post my name (Joanne) instead of being Annon (which I hate!)

    I wish you all the best!

  8. I just came to read this after reading your latest post about arrogance and narcissism. I must say, I don't find this either of those things but honest instead.
    much love to you Carly.

  9. My thoughts are basically the same as Toushka's.
    take care. xx


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