5 Reasons to Stay Away from Facebook
The Facebook Vortex
I am a staunch supporter of NO FACEBOOK. I have gotten so much nonsense about this decision, that I have gotten my reasons for my abstinence so packed down. Blah blah blah, yes my friends are on it, no I will never be on it, yes, I have tried it, no I hate it, etc. etc. Staying away from Facebook has been kind of like staying away from alcohol when my friends offer it to me. Hard, yes, but definitely worth it. This lens will explain exactly my reasoning as to why I have stayed off this social networking site covering some topics that are pretty standard (privacy for example) and others maybe not so expected (read an find out!). Here's the deal, you take a few minutes out of your life to read this lens, and I just might be able to save your life from the Facebook Vortex Life Sucker. Sounds like a deal? OK, then. Let us proceed.
Nearly every week, there is some sort of article in the news about how Facebook flunked (once again and again and again...) in the privacy department. One disgruntled reader posted a comment "Facebook and privacy should never be used in the same sentence." I was on Facebook for one month. And I saw a LOT of information on there. It was actually rather disorienting the amount of information that can be found about one person simply by having an account. I could never have even met that person and I would know who his/her girlfriend or boyfriend was, whether he/she liked heavy metal music, what kind of past times they take part in (including the ultimate Facebook), sometimes their birthday, personal pictures (not always putting them in the best of light), random facts about themselves which get "thumbs up" because they are so random, etc.
I am honestly not that old (no, I'm not telling you my birthday) but comparatively, I know more about this random person I never met than my best friend knows about me. It is astounding that such personal details are shared as whimsically and are getting exploited. Yes, exploited. You didn't think Facebook was free for just for free right?
Your friends aren't the only ones looking at your info. There are tons of robots that scan your page and analyze it to parse you likes and dislike and send that information to post relevant ads whenever you open up the page. Third party companies are allowed to choose keywords to post their ads so that when you signify that you "like" one of those keywords or you post something about it, TADA, there's a new ad on your page.
OK, so that make two kinds of creeps: you ex-friends and some weirdo company out there trying to get cash off of you. Neither seems to be that flattering to me. So why on earth would you trustingly post your deepest darkest secrets on an ONLINE site (keyword: Online - online means the entire world can potentially read it) and much less one that is profitable and couldn't care less about privacy? There are numerous cases where Facebook has failed in protecting the users' information (see the Reference module for the link to numerous cases), so reason one not to use Facebook: It ain't private!
Do you really care?
Relationships get a huge hit by the introduction of Facebook in your lives. Many learnt and experienced writers have difficulty in expressing emotions in exactly the way they want to in writing because ultimately, each person parses the writing through the own lens created by unique life experiences to feel the emotion that they do. For example, a line about a little boy falling down and scraping his knee could mean nothing to one person and yet cause another to burst into tears because recently a little boy in their life died.
The wonderful thing about talking directly to people is that the emotion is far more likely to come across as intended. If the wrong notion is assumed, then the opposition is able to express that and an explanation can follow. With Facebook, more people are likely to assume the worst and keep it to themselves causing a mental disengagement from the person and a lack of further interest in pursuing a valid relationship. Short form: you start to hate them. But of course you don't want to say that, right? You still want to be at the top of the leader board with 947 friends.
Here's my policy: I have email, I have a cell phone, and I have a permanent home address. If you really are my friend, then you will attempt to keep contact through one of those mediums. If you don't bother, then you aren't a friend worth keeping. All relationships require work and a drive to be successful. If no such drive exists, then that relationship isn't worth pursuing. Your time is far better spend doing other useful things, like spending quality time with those people whom your relationship does matter. By sparingly using your relationship resources on 947 friends (which is basically liking and poking) you are neglecting those relationships which require more than a poke (say, you HUSBAND or WIFE for example). Thus, these relationships disintegrate.
It is quite unfortunate, but in my opinion, Facebook kills relationships. It puts too much emphasis on size rather than value which is demeaning of our overall humanity. Relationships is what makes life awesome and being alone on the computer... well it doesn't even sound that great to me.
Life is not Facebook.
A wonderful quote from Dumbledore from Harry Potter's master, J.K. Rowling: "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."
If you really think about it, Facebook is much like a dream that you can control. What you post online could be nothing close to the truth... you live in a 3 story mansion? Fine no one is really going to check, but you'll certainly get a lot of thumbs up. The dream is relatively measured by likes and your population is your friends. There are a few you interact with using posts, but the satisfaction is fleeting once you wake up (or log off).
By engaging significant portions of the day on Facebook, I think we are "forgetting to live." What happened to the good old days of stopping by in a cafe and chatting over coffee about the latest gossip around town with tons of emotions and enthusiasm. I would even argue that Facebook can also make you delusional. Thinking that you really have a thousand friends is going to make your real life seem awfully dull and friendless when not one of those thousand would be willing to stop and talk to you for five minutes when you meet each other at the grocery store or at the bank. Is it really so bad to have maybe just four or five close friends versus a thousand friendless friends?
Spend an hour on Facebook if you must, but please take the time to head outside and interact with yourself or nature. Facebook doesn't help you experience anything; it doesn't help you learn about yourself. By staying on Facebook, I believe that in fact, you are doing mental damage in the progression of brain development with regard to life experiences. Why? Because Facebook is simply not life.
Facebook vs Google+
You know where I personally stand on this issue. I am curious to see what you all have to say regarding the debate between which social networking site is more useful, more protected, more likable, etc. Sound off!
Which social networking site do you prefer and why?
Many celebrities have already taken a stance on bullying but a large part of the problem stems from the medium in which bullying takes place. The internet is a perfect way to mask one's identity and pick on those who seem a little insecure, just to make themselves feel better. Facebook unwittingly encourages bullying by providing the mask the bullies need to avoid getting caught, as well as creating a fake sense of security for the victims who post everything about themselves up for judgment.
The internet is a cruel place and the need to be "liked," "popular," etc. are only encouraged by sites like Facebook. Recently there was an article about how young women post videos and pictures about themselves with the tag "Am I Pretty?" You know just as well as I do that the majority of commenters will post something along the lines of "No way!" It is a cruel and ugly world on the net, and for kids as young as 12 who have no idea to this cruelty, Facebook should most definitely be banned.
If you are a parent, watch over what your child's interaction with the internet. At such a young age, they are not yet tough enough to withstand the amount of pure bullying that can take place, including on Facebook. Better yet, just don't let them get one. There are still kids at school who are prohibited from the site and these are the friends that might last a whole lot longer than a "friend" on Facebook!
A Positive Note
All this time I have been harping about what one loses by being on Facebook... let me try to put a positive spin now.
Staying off of Facebook allows you to have more free time. If you spend even an hour on Facebook, imagine what you could be doing with an extra hour. Perhaps you start on that overdue scrapbook project, play outside at the park with your kids, go out on a date, or even get an extra hour of sleep. All it takes is one step... a deletion of a webpage that can create this many memories. Over the year, you have spent 356 more quality hours with those who really matter. I say that's a plus!
Staying off of Facebook also allows you to build up your self confidence. Removing all that negativity from your life can simply make you happier! It could be at work and/or at home... a happy person is much nicer to be around anyway! Being happy is clinically believed to be beneficial in you work life (i.e. maybe that promotion seems much more closer now!) and in your physical wellness life (woot woot! There goes your 10 pounds!). You make the world a nicer place to be in!
And finally, staying off of Facebook allows you to love. Love is not made up of tiny texts. Love is something that is created and tended to. Love is something that needs special care and from it, the rewards can be priceless. Nothing in the world is worth more than love, in my opinion, and to make sure it still stays alive, I would bet that Facebook is but a small price to pay!
Here are some interesting articles that I read to create this lens. They are all excellent reads and I would highly recommend them. Happy browsing!
- Facebook is using you - NY Times
Information extraction from your Facebook account and the rules regarding this practice.
- Facebook Issues
I normally don't like Wikipedia as a source, but this one it quite good. Very thorough and all the facts are substantiated. Take a look... some of the cases can be quite amazing to know.
- Young Women ask "Am I Pretty?"
A disheartening find on the internet is its usage in trying to make young girls feel better about their looks.