Thursday, June 20, 2024
Speak Your MindThe downside of being a “Facebooker”

The downside of being a “Facebooker”

This morning I came across an article on MSN entitled ‘Why I quit Facebook’ which got me thinking about my own reasons for quitting Facebook. It’s been almost five years since I stopped using Facebook for reasons which quite surprisingly are the same as those listed in the MSN article. The lady who wrote the article specifies five reasons which I would like to share with you as follows: ‘I have fewer reasons to procrastinate’, ‘I don’t care what other people are up to’, and ‘the people who matter still get in touch’, ‘the invitations I get are more sincere’ and ‘I feel free to live in the moment’. I remember the feeling of freedom that I felt when quitting Facebook. There was no longer anyone I will need to prove my life decisions to. I was free to live my life the way I wanted to without seeking the approval of my “friends”. Whatever life decision I made was for my own happiness and not for the approval of others. Just like the author of the MSN article indicated, I no longer cared about what others were up to. I remember the feeling of wanting to ‘miss my contacts’. When you are on Facebook, I believe it is really difficult to miss anyone as all your contacts were a mere mouse click away. When on Facebook, I never felt the urge to call up one of my “friends” to catch up over coffee or lunch.

One of the most important arguments that people put forward against quitting Facebook is that one will miss out on the latest news and will also lose their contacts if unconnected. I simply disagree with these arguments. If one is really concerned about the latest news developments, all he or she needs to do is to visit the websites of news agencies. Nowadays, one needs not buy a newspaper to follow the news. And besides, what is posted on Facebook is rarely a filtered news. Rumors and facts are both equally presented as news to its audience. And for the second argument, if one is really concerned about losing their contacts, he or she can easily filter out those contacts that really do matter and get phone, email, skype, WhatsApp or other addresses of the latter.

I believe that most of you would agree with me on the fact that Facebook is a quite addictive “socialization” tool. The author of the MSN article describes her typical day as follows: “My typical working day used to go a little something like this: coffee, check emails, start writing, check Facebook, answer the phone, check Instagram, continue writing, check Facebook…”. The addiction gets to the point that a considerable amount of work time is spent checking Facebook updates. My experience after quitting Facebook is that I became so much less distracted during work, and if I really wanted a distraction, I would either read real news by visiting real news websites or I would actually socialize in the true sense with my work mates over coffee. For me, Facebook does not really help us socialize in the true sense. I even believe that we lose human intimacy and touch the more we get attached to Facebook. I believe that our ability to truly understand each other is limited if our main means of “socializing” is Facebook. For me, Facebook presents a painted picture of our lives and not its real image. The constant comparisons we subject ourselves to and all the attempts that we do to measure up to the standards others put for us creates a form of social stress that we are not able to come out from easily.    

My whole argument here is not that people need to stop using Facebook altogether. The point I want to make is that, if it reaches the point that the addiction reduces our ability to socialize in the true sense, if it limits our ability to concentrate on our work and limits our work efficiency, if it makes us constantly measure ourselves against the standards put by others, and if we constantly feel the need to prove ourselves to others, I would say that maybe it is time to reconsider our daily use of Facebook.  


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Contributed by Tsion Taye


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