It’s 2018 and Facebook has turned to shit. It’s basically just full of your mum’s blurry pictures of the dog, engagement announcements from your friend’s friend who added you after a night out in 2011, and 800-word political rants from that guy from uni halls who was always trying to "recruit" you to the "Communist Soc" and dresses in a style that can only be described as "Soviet Union Cosplay". All that, and in the not-so-distant future it will basically just be a giant digital graveyard full of dead people.
Probably best to just get rid of it, right? But you’ve been thinking about doing that for the past three years and yet here you are, in all likelihood reading this on Facebook and oh, look, you’re an hour and 12 minutes into your lunch hour, the past 47 of which you’ve spent mindlessly scrolling like your life depends on it.
Yeah, you should definitely get rid. Shouldn’t you…? You should. Should you, though? You probably should. But should you? Here: shall we weigh up the pros and cons? We should, we should.
PRO: AN EXTREMELY CONVENIENT WAY OF AVOIDING ALL SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS
Oh: some girl from your school who you were at-best-OK friends with in your earlier teens before she got all actory has sent you a Facebook message for some reason. Ah! She’s coming to London for drama school auditions next week, and her Airbnb just cancelled her booking and she can’t find a single other place to stay in the whole city. Good thing you’re still in touch via the modern miracle of social media! Don’t worry, she’ll only be with you for four fucking nights, all of which involve her dragging you to Soho and end with her literally singing out loud in your kitchen.
CON: YOU DON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS NOW, SORRY
Despite the best efforts of RA, Dice and whatever other app you’re going to last-minute buy all your festival tickets from when you get drunk during the late May Bank Holiday and forget about the concept of rent (just me?), Facebook is still probably the most useful way of finding out all the stuff you actually do want to go to. If you delete it, you’ll spend the rest of your youth retrospectively finding out about house parties because you’re not important enough for anyone to realise you’re missing from a guest list until after they’ve happened. Plus, if you have Facebook you can click "Interested" in "SOLD OUT: Fabric Live presents Dixon (127 hour set)", or "Going" to "Southeast London Clothes Exchange @ Boxpark Croydon" even though you have no intention of attending either of these events, and everyone else will think it’s because you have actual friends IRL and occasionally you really do leave the house and go to social functions with them. You see now how popularity is just an elaborate con, now? You see how it is just an illusion?
PRO: THE LACK OF FREQUENT EMBARRASSMENT
Your housemate got bored one hungover Sunday afternoon and scrolled all the way back through your timeline until they found an extremely "Lynx Africa" picture of you from Freshers’ Week and liked it so that it went back on everyone’s News Feed, and they all had a good lol at your neon face paint and your glow-sticks and your mad, mad emo fringe, and now this happens roughly every six-to-eight months, and it would be good, wouldn’t it, if everyone cool and hot that you have met in the years since you stopped wearing a Jack Daniels belt buckle didn’t get to see photographic evidence that this happened. Yes, that would be quite good.
CON: THE LOSS OF A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR EMBARRASSING OTHERS
On the flipside, is there anything better than finding a sneaky little June 2007 status on your friend’s timeline about how much they "Can’t wait for new Doctor Who!!!!! XD" and then proceed to comment on it twice an hour until it gets 200 likes and they just absolutely lose all their chill and report you? No, no there is not. See also: memes.
PRO: I MEAN, IT’S KINDA EVIL
Hate to sound like your Uncle Brian who stockpiles hundreds of tins of Heinz Spaghetti Hoops in his garage so he’s prepared “when they come”, but I think we can all acknowledge, in 2018 A.D., that Facebook has done some pretty bad things, from destroying democracy and spreading hate speech to numerous cases of livestreaming assaults.
CON: YEAH, IT’S GONNA MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE A WEIRDO TBH
Getting rid of Facebook now is the online equivalent of being a gluten-free prior to the invention of gluten circa 2012; everyone is just gonna think you’re a preachy weirdo. Yes, it sucks that nobody under the age of 45 posts anything anymore and thus Facebook is now dominated by your mums’ colleague’s results for "Which collective noun is used for these animals?" quizzes ("19/25 not to bad!!!"), but equally, the only people who don’t have Facebook in 2018 are men’s rights activists, mass murderers and your dad. Wait a couple more years until the act of quitting makes you look like less of a Reddit power-user.
PRO: SO MUCH TIME FOR OTHER FUN ACTIVITIES!
Remember books and television? Remember going to bed before midnight? Sometimes I’ll be watching a thing on my laptop and I’ll realise that I’ve gone half an hour without checking Facebook and it will give me palpable anxiety and I’ll have to pause the thing I’m watching to have a little scroll-break. Just to log on and see that some girl I know from Brownies has checked into Wagamamas. Just suck at the blue-and-white teat a second and see some lad I met in Fresher’s Week and never again is looking for city recommendations for Berlin. It’s getting so bad that even its own creators want us to spend less time on it. I haven’t even read a single word of White Teeth by Zadie Smith . I haven’t really, properly tried to get into The Beatles. I haven’t watched The English Patient. Maybe I’d watch The English Patient if I didn’t spend four hours a day scrolling through "ANYONE KNOW A GOOD CHEAP PLACE TO GET WOOD CUT TO SIZE?" and "Tag somebody who owes you a trip to Disneyland" posts. Maybe I’d fucking love The English Patient.
CON: SO MUCH TIME FOR GENUINE HUMAN INTERACTION AND SELF-REFLECTION
What, so you’re just gonna spend your time, like, talking to people now? You’re just gonna have a chat with your colleague while you queue for the kitchenette microwave? You’re going to strike up a conversation with that old lady who you see on the train some mornings? You’re just gonna just, like, have some time to yourself to work through your emotions and have a good hard think about your goals for the future, and how to achieve them? Absolutely no. Honestly, I just feel like it’s a bad idea. You’re keeping Facebook. We’re all keeping Facebook.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.