Last Thursday, I updated my Facebook status. It was something about visiting the Hang Yan Fu Wu Bu for an ice-cream break. For those people who stalk me on Facebook but otherwise have little contact with me these days, that was the last they will have heard. Later that evening, I attempted to log in again, and received a message explaining that my account had been disabled by an administrator.
"Shurely there'sh been a mishtake" I thought to myself, before sending an appropriate email to the appeal address I was given. But then later on, as I lay in my window ledge bath and gazed out over the Shanghai skyline it dawned on me. Some time back, and for no really good reason that I can now think of, I may just have updated my details to include "Steve Zodiac" as a former name.
So, over a week later, and I'm still Facebook Disabled - with all sorts of mixed feelings as a result.
Part of me is very disappointed. I've evidently completely vanished from Facebook without a trace. My last known location was Shanghai, with all the mystery that that might entail. Yet, despite all this, my phone has remained fairly quiet. My email inbox contains the usual tumbleweed and not a lot else. I was secretly hoping for some small consolation in the form of a worried message or two, but it wasn't to be. No-one seems to have noticed that I've gone, or if they have they don't seem bothered about what might have happened.
Another part of me is embarrassed. If I have to add my friends as friends again (as it were), that could be embarrassing. If I end up explaining that I once said that I was formally known as Steve Zodiac, that could be embarrassing. Finally, in the space of a week, my mum is now on Facebook, and I'm not. That's embarrassing.
I've also found being unable to use Facebook quite frustrating, and I've found that I rely on it more than I'd ever want to admit. Not being able to read my Mini Feed or stalk people from my mobile phone means that if I finish the Metro and am unable to procure thelondonpaper, the inevitable standing about on a platform or travelling on a train becomes very boring indeed. I've also found that I use Facebook as a communications tool more than I thought I did. To rely purely on text messaging for this sort of casual communication seems so turn of the Millenium. I've not even got mobile numbers for some people I otherwise see and communicate with regularly.
If I'm honest though, I am also slightly proud of my 'achievement'. Being accidentally thrown off Facebook is the sort of thing one might expect to find in a mediocre book of 101 things to do before you die.
Finally, in light of a couple of news items this week I'm also feeling quite smug. Whilst many of you are getting your knickers in a twist about who owns data on Facebook I'm kicking back with the realisation that I appear to have no data on Facebook to be worried about any more. I'm also avoiding some health risks, according to the BBC News Page today. A point proven by the fact that it's Friday night, and I'm just about to go out and see some friends in person. This is likely to involve clogging up my system with all sorts of pizza-related goodness and poisoning my liver with a moderate amount of beer.