Why I am deleting Facebook

Everyone has at least once threatened to delete Facebook. I am guilty of this many a time; I’d probably add a few embarrassing screenshots of the status updates I’ve made in the past claiming I’ll be gone for good if I hadn’t deleted them upon my begrudging return to cover my tracks each time. I don’t have Instagram or Snapchat and my Twitter account was set up by a friend of mine as another platform for plugging my blog posts which I don’t even think I remember the password for and could never get my head around using. If I did eventually delete Facebook, that’d be it for me and social media. And my god, isn’t it hard to cut all ties like that in this modern networking world?

Social media is as close to literally as grammar will allow me the air we breathe. It’s the thing we turn to when we’re waiting for a bus, or are bored in a lecture, or simply just as something to do when we aren’t doing anything else. The mind-numbing scrolling of news-feeds becomes almost addictive and it’s now normal to see groups of people on a night out all stood in a circle on their phones in the middle of the dance floor, side-stepping or bobbing their heads to keep themselves from being completely sucked in to this alternate online universe. You can’t really have a conversation with someone without them checking their phone, which is linked up to and synced with every social media app under the sun. I don’t know if I’m using the correct terminology here as even being an avid Facebook user I’m still a bit behind with all the other shit people use right now, but you know what I mean.

So why am I deleting Facebook? There are so many reasons. There has to be for it to cross everyone’s mind at least once in their social media career. As I said before there’s been so many times when I’ve threatened this break-up and as predicted I’ve always come crawling back – the main reason for the last few years being the connection to a vast amount of people for sharing my blog posts, keeping up to date with who is getting married or having a baby or buying a house (yep, adulthood is certainly looming) and generally being a nosy bitch.

Which leads me on to my first reason for wanting to delete Facebook: it’s the most pointless waste-of-time that distracts me from doing things that are actually important or meaningful. For example: face-to-face human interaction. Updating my blog, as I love to write. Working on assignments that have looming deadlines. Doing absolutely anything productive in general and living actual life. The list is endless, and we all know it. I update my Facebook status constantly with my itchy wannabe-writer fingers and it generally just seems to annoy those that don’t try have a presence within the social media platform. Of course, it isn’t only negative feedback that I receive on my updates but I certainly have had a backlash on a number of occasions. I have realised that there is an unspoken ‘right way to be’ on social media and unfortunately I have never fit in to that.

And so the people are my next reason for wanting to delete Facebook. There are so many within my online community that use social media to make sure they’re up to date with what everyone else is doing and then going and having a big ol’ (private) discussion about it. It seems that the only way you will not get judged on Facebook is if you do not post on it. I like to call these individuals ‘Facebook Snakes’, slinking around in the undergrowth knowing everything about anything but never really coming to the surface and making themselves known for everyone else to see. When a juicy scoop comes in you can bet they’ll all be having a bitch about it at the next pre-drinks, but when they’re next online, back they slink. Clearly I am referring to personal experience here. Is this just a student thing? Anyway, I don’t want to be associated with all of that. I am a self-admitted ‘over-sharer’ and try to be open and honest about the things I think and feel.

As I’m sure is the case for all of us, I cannot deny that I haven’t spent many an hour doing what has been affectionately labelled as ‘Facebook-stalking’ people. Sometimes your self-esteem is so low that you can dedicate a whole day to lying in bed in your pyjamas, clicking through people’s pictures and sighing at how wonderful their lives and/or faces are. Facebook use inadvertently involves judging and being judged – although everything we post is ‘fake’ anyway. We post what we want people to know and allude to what we want people to think. Everything you see on Facebook, for those reasons, are like the filters people use on their pictures. We post what we want people to see about ourselves, and the rest is obsolete.

This doesn’t even begin to cover the fact that people don’t care about the things you care about; all too often it appears to be too much effort for people to support you by doing something as simple as ‘liking’ a project you’re involved in and passionate about. If this is what we are using Facebook for and not to encourage and help our friends, what is the point? This constant cycle of judgement is my last reason (mentioned in this post, there are so many more that I won’t go in to) for wanting to delete Facebook. Why would I purposefully associate myself with everything that brings me down? And can I please stress that they bring ME down. I am sure there are people who can use social media in a positive and healthy way.

Right now, I’m trying to back up all my pictures and people I don’t want to lose contact with – then I can finally shut my profile down. It’ll be interesting to see how long I stay off Facebook for this time. We as a culture rely on social media so much, but it’d be nice to actually hang out with people more often or speak over the phone and engage in real, interesting conversation that goes beyond how big someone’s lips are. It’ll be especially difficult for me seeing as I like to write down everything that crosses my mind but hopefully I’ll just be updating my blog more often.

Either way, this is for the best for me for now. If you would like to keep up to date with my blog, please subscribe to The Very Hungry Cirettapillar via email using the ‘follow’ button to the right of this post.

Let’s talk about Politics

Before I get in to this blog post I just need to make one thing very clear: I am not, and do not think I am, an expert in politics. I have studied political party manifestos for the upcoming election, watched “Cameron & Miliband Live: The Battle for Number 10″ and the ITV/BBC Leaders Debates (click the links to catch up on these) and follow party leaders on social networking sites to keep up to date with any news in the run up to the election in May, but in the grand scheme of things I don’t really know much. Politics very much interest me and I have definitely formed my own opinion based on the information I’ve accessed. So that’s basically what you’re reading here.

Politics don’t have to be this scary, unknown territory that we aren’t qualified enough to have an opinion on. I can’t decide what the bigger shame is: that people are scared to talk about politics or back a party that interests them in case they say something or think something ‘wrong’, or that people have no interest in the subject whatsoever. I’m aware that the whole thing is designed to confuse normal people in order to keep us from having a real say in anything that goes on around us – but that’s a whole other blog post. There are ways to access information that pretty much translate the scripted rubbish politicians come out with and break it down in to something a bit more informal and easier to understand.

The only question you need to ask yourself is: what do you want for you and the country you live in? If you can answer that, your voice matters. And every vote counts. The people that don’t think they can answer that question are the exact reason why I am blogging today. Statistics show that only 44% of 18-24 year olds in the UK voted in the last general election. The chart below shows just how close the number of voters are between the two ‘biggies’ – Labour and Conservative.

The Guardian, 20 April 2015 – “Tories still ahead of Labour in latest Guardian/ICM poll”

The latest opinion polls are not going to be completely accurate representations of the party people vote for on the day, but it does give us some idea of what people are thinking. Based on this, the 56% of young people that did not vote in the last election have the power to determine the results in this one. The 6.8 million of us under 25 really do have a say in what happens. We are basically Batman.

The typical things I hear from people when I have this conversation with them are:

  1. “My vote won’t change anything anyway.”
  2. “I’m just not interested in politics, it doesn’t affect me.”
  3. “I don’t understand what any of them are on about.”
  4. “I’m not voting because they’re all a bunch of corrupt d**kheads.” (An excuse that I myself am guilty of saying about a year ago).

First of all, the numbers above make it clear just how much potential influence the under 25 year olds (and in fact any of the age groups, as none of them have 100% of people voting) have right now on the outcome of this election. The Green Party are currently favoured by about 5% of people, but those 56% of young people and the others that aren’t planning on voting could have them steaming ahead of the familiar faces of Cameron and Miliband. We should all be evil-cackling at what we could do here.

politics1

Secondly, how can you ‘not be interested’ in what happens to the organisations and services (schools, hospitals, the beloved NHS etc.) that affect you, your loved ones and everyone around you every single day?! Before the year of 1918 women were not considered worthy to vote, and after all the relentless campaigning for equality only 64% of women voted in the 2010 general election. Only 66% of men did the same. As I mentioned before I am aware that the political jargon can be very confusing and intimidating, but there are ways round it to help you understand. If any of my readers want me to do a blog series on each of the ‘big 7’ political party manifestos and what they really mean (to my understanding), let me know in the comments below.

‘Vote For Policies’ is a fantastic site that lets you ‘compare policies from each party in their own words, and make an informed decision about who to vote for at the 2015 general election’. You don’t know who any of the policies belong to until the end, when you are given your results in percentages and can see which party best suits your ideas and beliefs. This is a great way to overcome your preconceptions of each party based on the person standing as party leader. The whole idea is to promote voting for the policies, not the personalities or faces of each party. If you’d like to have a go at the survey, click here.

Number 4 was my way of thinking for a very long time. When you see the corruption and lies that go on constantly in the world of politics, it’s hard to have any faith in the system. I do understand that. This time last year I was adamant that I would not be voting in the 2015 general election. How could I vote for and support a person that I did not trust?  How could I back a party that I don’t completely agree with? Could I ever live with myself for going against everything I believe in?

In the end I realised that I had been dragged in to a trap way of thinking that was exactly what the political leaders had planned for and wanted. It’s so easy for us to be controlled if we let ourselves, and the more we distance ourselves from our positions of potential power, the easier it is for someone to be leading our country in a way the majority disagree with. We need to stand up and let our voices be heard – and with fresh faces such as Natalie Bennett (Greens) and Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) snatching voters from the bigger parties that have let us down time and time again, NOW is the best time to think about making a vote for what could possibly be a real change.

To register to vote, click here.

Someone will accidentally read this and spicy bananas will become a thing.

I am currently reading a book called ‘Blogging for Happiness‘ by Ellen Arnison. Ellen has just suggested that I write a very quick, very simple blog update using something floating around aimlessly in the back of my mind and which I don’t really feel the need to talk about. So here is that thing.

Choosing to eat spicy food is something I struggle to come to terms with. I swear, in my top 10 list of worst torture methods I’d put being forced to eat a Vindaloo quite high up there along with being tickled and having my fingers chopped off. You can’t taste anything when food is that spicy. It’s literally just spice. Oh hey, I fancy spice today. I need a pint of milk with my meal because it’s basically just spice on spice. I go red in the face and start choking but man do I love curry. WHAT? Explain yourself guys.

I get that hot food is a part of some cultures but I am British and my palate can stretch as far as two different kinds of potato with my Christmas dinners. There is a reason I put salt and pepper on everything: my taste buds are so limited that I need this familiar flavour on practically everything I shovel into my mouth in order to finish a meal. And I’m really ok with that. How do you holy entity-like creatures of this country MANAGE these dishes?

I remember ordering a takeaway with a good friend one evening while watching reruns of ‘Friends’ – it was from an Indian restaurant but I still ordered a cheeseburger. My friend got himself a huge, hot curry with actual full pieces of chili just chilling on his plate like they weren’t going to so very soon destroy his mouth. And this is what he said after the first forkful: “man, I’m gonna shit well tomorrow”. I can’t even begin, guys. The hot food fad is beyond me. Like, I appreciate toilet time just as much as the next human being, but I wouldn’t purposefully eat something that is 100% going to give me the shits the next day. Is it a man thing? Men don’t really seem fazed by poo. I don’t know. I’m getting worked up just thinking about it.

The one thing I have constantly been picked on for by my male mates is my inability to eat hot food. One time, in 6th form at school, my friends and I were queuing for our lunch. We’d left it quite late and the choice was limited, so I picked up a chicken tikka wrap which I had never tried before – and oh my god. I had tears running down my face and I am told that chicken tikka is not even considered a hot food. Is there something wrong with me or can at least one reader relate to my bafflement? I’ve even Googled “health disadvantages of eating spicy food” as some kind of feeble attempt of a back-up argument and found nothing. I feel like I am going to die every single time I am forced into eating something spicy; I was sure chilies slowly burned the inside of your stomach lining until it killed you.

Do you know what I like to eat? Cheese, and stuff. I like food that doesn’t alter bowel movement or set off volcanic explosions in your mouth. What pleasure do you people gain from wanting to rip your own tongue out of your head? I have been in situations where I have to rest my tongue in a pot of petit filous yoghurt for an unnatural amount of time in order to cool it down. Eat a banana, they said. It’ll help with the spice, they said. NOW I CAN JUST TASTE SPICY BANANA. THERE’S A REASON THAT IS NOT A DELICACY.

I don’t really know what I expected to come of this blog post. It’s just a rant, I guess. I usually try and spread some helpful message but I simply just don’t understand the love for spice and needed to vent that. Knowing my luck someone will accidentally read this and spicy bananas will become a thing. I don’t need that in my life right now.