- Holly Searle
- London, United Kingdom
- Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.
Thursday, 21 July 2016
A few years ago a dear friend of mine who had move away to the seaside invited me via an email to join Facebook. I had received many invitations prior to the one she had sent me from other less salubrious people, but I had ignored all of them as I was sceptical about this virtual world with its alien reality.
What was it all about this Facebook thing?
I did begin to wonder: and because I trusted her, and as I was curious, I placed my X on the spot and signed away a good part of the last ten years.
Throughout that decade, I have found friends (not unlike Pokemon Go), as well as being found by friends. I I have shamelessly uploaded images of events in my life. I have lamented the sad passing of numerous human beings. I have been unfriended by some, as well as personally unfriending and then blocking some really special characters. I have been contacted by a murderer: and have celebrated, debated and rated issues, as well as generally sharing my life.
It's not all been bad, but it's not all been good either.
About six years ago I made a pact with myself that these virtual chums, should also be defaulted back to their reality status: and so, when I could, I made sure I met up with them in the real world sociably.
Less social media, and more social me and you (and them) I decided, was my way of being able to justify the amount of time I spent online.
Of course this lead to more sharing of images of these events ironically on Facebook. It was like a hall of mirrors at a carnival. The reality was there, but by sharing it, it was becoming an illusion of itself.
Then Twitter stepped in.
I tried both for a spell, but then drew the conclusion that whilst Facebook was like a small village where everyone knew everyone else, Twitter was like the entire world.
On Twitter you could follow all of the people that you would one day lament the passing of on Facebook. These were bizarre and surreal worlds full of virtual insanity, purpose and nothing of any real value whatsoever.
And throughout those ten years I participated like a person whose ultimate goal in life had always been to appear on It's a Knockout tirelessly filling a bucket with as much water as virtually possible, whilst silently praying for the sound of Eddie Waring's whistle.
But then something change and my mum became ill and we nearly lost her, and nothing seemed to be that important or funny any more.
I would check in from time-to-time, but social media had lost its appeal.
In the end, in early July I decide to stop checking in: and since then Facebook has taken to sending me daily emails informing me like a spurned lover, that I have a set amount of notifications. As each day passes, the number grows. I have no idea what these notifications are. In the end I came to conclude that if the people that are missing virtual me, are missing me, then they would eventually get in touch.
I have used Twitter. I have used Twitter as I am less inclined to get overcome by my unfavorable perception of the futility of the posts and comments I find there as I don't personally know a healthy majority of the people I follow.
Early in July, when I thinking about Facebook, I happened mentioned to my other half how odd this virtual existence really was when you thought about it.
'Imagine' I said to him 'that you're standing in a room with 20, 55, 350 or even 500+ people. Some you know, some you don't, not really. Some you know by association, or via an another online friend. You're standing in this room, and each of these people are coming up to you and showing you their photos or poking you. And as you try to concentrate on the person that is showing you their photos (you don't want to appear rude after all), another person (not the one poking you annoyingly in the back), is telling you that they are unwell, whilst another is telling you that they are watching a movie, whilst another one is informing you that they can't stay, as they are off to attend an event. That's what it's like.' I said.
'It's seems odd when you think of it like that, doesn't it?'
'Yes. It does'' He replied as he loves me and knows how difficult, complicated and emotional life has been for me recently.
Then whilst I was walking home from work I met an old friend. We chatted about this and that and the Facebook thing came-up.
'Yes, I know what you mean.' She said 'Dave (her bloke) calls it Two-faced Facebook as people aren't really being who they actually are on there. Their lives are always so much better than yours. If you're feeling crap about your life, some of the comments and posts won't make you feel any better, they will just make you feel worse!' She exclaimed in a physically animated way that I have never witnessed on Facebook.
Her passion, and my imagined Star Trek Holodeck room (filled with all of my Facebook Friends), just lead me to conclude that enough was enough for now: especially in light of the other real life events that have illuminated all of the reality of the virtual reality in my life.
Ten years is a long time.
And as a farewell for now, I will probably post this as a PS to all my Facebook Friends. It's not you, it's me. I just need some space to clear my head. And even though I am not there, I am here, and if you fancy checking in with me, please feel free to do so.