Sunday, September 28, 2014

Viewing the World Through Pinterest Colored Glasses



The idea of being a hippie is huge on social media.
The real world.
Social Media has changed the way many of us view the world around us over the past few years.  One of the most profound changes that I have seen is that many people are living in a fantasy world where everything is perfect.  I call this "viewing the world through Pinterest colored glasses." 

For those who do not know, Pinterest is a site where people post pictures that appeal to them.  Many post pictures of a house or a meal or a trick that makes life perfect.  In the world of Pinterest there is no sadness, no anger, no death.  It is a feel good place where life is always peaches and cream.  On Pinterest (as well as Instagram) one can escape reality and show off a life that is all too serene.  It is, in large, a fantasy world.

The world of Pinterest has invaded the rest of the internet, and Facebook is not immune.  While I believe that it is great to look at life with a positive viewpoint, I can not help but wonder what kind of depression people are feeling when they log off their computers and phones and see the world through their own eyes.  A messy house, a broken family, arguments with ex friends, dirty clothes, a dog who needs walked, a pouty stepson, an upcoming divorce, a car that needs fixed, keeping up with the neighbors, overbearing parents and grandparents.  Perhaps living in the world of (a)social media is better to many people, who see pictures of beautiful homes with fine decor, food that is both healthy and saccharine sweet, children who are well behaved and well dressed in ways that are both extra fancy and extra frugal.  Instead of going on a vacation we are bombarded with Photoshopped images of beaches of florescent sand and golden skies with blue water that shimmers unlike anything that exists outside in the real world.  We see a nighttime scene of lights and alleys with people singing, carroling, and carrying on in ways that hint of a perfect world somewhere just out of our grasp.  We try to maintain a feeling of awe and wonder and happiness as we try to ignore the sounds of our family begging for our attention with their real needs and wants.

If only the outside world was like Pinterest where all the water of the Earth is sweet and pure and animals do not die for the meat we eat!  If only the world was like Pinterest where we could all start our own organic farms and live in old cabins in mountain valleys that shined with purple skies and flocks of deer that came to eat out of our hands! 

Much of the Pinterest world reminds me of a snake oil vendor, selling ideas and cures for the ordinary world.  Like a snake oil dealer, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are dabbling in the idea of life being perfect behind the screen.  "Don't stray from the computer, where life is messy and real.  Everything you need is here"

The world outside is a beautiful place, full of awe and wonder.  Yet, the realities of the world are in stark contrast to the imaginary world that exists through the screen of (a)social media websites.  When one goes hiking deep in the woods there are dangers to be aware of.  When one travels across the world, there is poverty a few meters away from the beaches.  When you see an image of a house that looks perfect, full of furniture that would cost a small fortune and a huge amount of time to acquire, there is the chance of the elements destroying it, of thieves ravaging it, and of time warping it.  The world is not perfect, and one can not hide behind (a)social media and pretend it is.  As humans one of our jobs is to make the world a better place, not hide our heads in the sand of (a)social media and pretend that the world is something that it is not. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Reader Submitted Articles: I've Quit Facebook - All the Better for Doing it too.

I’ve quit Facebook – all the better for doing it too
Anonymous

I MADE the decision on quitting Facebook. You know what? I actually feel better for it. Getting shut of the 'social' networking site has given me a fresh perspective on things. Particularly a reflection on me and my life. I don't think some people on Facebook intend to do this. But a lot of the stuff on there put me in a foul mood. It made me feel inferior and inadequate. It made me feel out I was missing out on a lot of things. Especially from spending a lot of my spare time on FB ­ of which I did! Wasting a lot of time comparing my life with other peoples' 'perfect' lives.  The things that lots of people post on Facebook. A nice meal with their boyfriend or girlfriend, getting engaged, married, having children. Going on holidays and on nights out every weekend.

I know a lot of the stuff people post things on Facebook as if their lives are like a bed of roses. The reality is that their lives probably aren't more exciting than my own. It could be a smokescreen; may very well be a form of keeping up appearances. It's all about the likes and wanting to impress others.

Elsewhere, despite those with their 'perfect' lives on FB. There are also a lot of people who moan and rant about things. Whether it's politics or their football team losing a game. Then you have relationships, so­called 'friends' and family they'll rant about ­ which is usually aimed at them. It’s another form of airing their dirty linen in public.

Seeing that side of Facebook does make me feel better about myself; much in the same way as watching The Jeremy Kyle Show.  My life isn't that bad, I'm doing OK for myself. In truth, I don't care and I don't want to know to be honest.  Seeing the negativity itself give me more reason to quit Facebook.  I've had enough of Facebook.  Enough is enough.  So it was time to call it a day.

It's been over a week since I've quit Facebook. I haven't felt the need to go back on it at all. I'm not interested in what's going on with other peoples' lives. In fact, I don't want to know. There's a lot more to life than spending hours and wasting your time on FB.

The people in my life that matter are my friends and family. Who I call, text, and spend time with. They're the people that matter. Quitting Facebook will also tell me on who are my true friends. That's if they're willing to make the effort to contact me and see me in person. I don't need FB to keep in contact with my friends and family anyway.

There's a long list of people who I had on Facebook as a 'friend' that I couldn't care less about ­ too many in fact! I don't feel the need to let every nosey bugger know how my life is going with some status updates, memes or pictures.

Since quitting Facebook, I haven't looked back. Admittedly, it's been quieter, but it's definitely a good thing. Gave me more time to reflect on things, but also spend it on making myself more useful. I'm looking forward, and I have been using my time with concentrating and living my own life.

I know Facebook is a ‘social’ networking site. If anything, it’s anti­social network. I’m much better off without it.

If you have a story that you would like to share, please e-mail me at fbdetox@gmail.com.  You can choose to remain anonymous if you wish.  Otherwise, share your stories in the comments section.  Thank you for reading!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Should New Parents Join Facebook?

Cobbler and his family - Abraham van Strij
I mentioned here a while back that one of my wife's sisters was trying to get my wife to get back on Facebook because we were having a child.  Since we do not live near most of our family, many are not able to see our daughter regularly.  Therefore, this particular sister thought that Facebook would be the answer (and only option).  She even said, and I quote:

"Once you have the baby, you have to join Facebook."

Well, the baby is now two months old and we have yet to join Facebook.  And we will not be joining Facebook, in fact!  So, what does that mean?  Does that mean that others will not be seeing the baby grow up?  Does that mean that everyone in the family has to suffer?

No, it does not.  What many fail to realize is that Facebook is not the only option.  There are many ways to share a new baby with family and friends other than Facebook.

For example, we came up with a way to share pictures and the baby's life on the internet -- a blog about the baby's life! 

What I really like about making a blog about the baby's life is that it tells more of a story, goes into deeper detail, and can be made private.  I do not think that my child's life should be paraded around the internet to every stranger.  That's an invasion of her privacy, and even though she is a baby, she should have a right to some privacy.


An interesting article about this very topic appeared on CNN.

'Facebook parenting' is destroying our children's privacy
"On the most basic level, we want to be able to tell our story about our lives. But, in the case of our children, a permanent and public story has already been recorded about them before they have a chance to decide whether they want to participate or even whether the narrative is true to their own vision of self."
Facebook has done a great job as well as a great disservice in making the world believe that it is the best way to be connected.  Many post pictures of their children and talk about their children in ways that are, frankly, embarrassing.  Many people do not take much time to think before they post.  It's one thing to share something about your own life to the entire world, but to do so for a person who does not have a choice is another matter altogether. 

Creating a private blog is a great way to share your child's life with family and friends.  There is still a danger of saying something embarrassing, yet the audience is much smaller.  Only the people who are interested in reading will bother reading it.  Face it, many people on Facebook state that they do not like the barrage of baby pictures, especially when they are from people they barely know. 

Many people on Facebook will put pictures of their children because they feel the need to create a persona of being a good parent.  For example, an article entitled The pros and cons of 'sharenting' in The Guardian stated the following:
But opting out altogether is not that easy, as Natalie Lisbona, who lives in north London, knows. She is one of only two parents she knows who does not share information about their children online. "I wonder where these pictures will end up. I wonder what the information will be used for and how my girls will feel about me handing it over," she says. But she caved in and put up a couple of photos a few months ago. "I suppose I just wanted to prove I'm a good mum," she says. "I worry that by not mentioning my kids, people will think I'm not interested in them and don't do things with them. I put up a photo of them and it got 30 'likes' … I couldn't help feeling proud. But I'm trying to avoid posting anything else. I think the girls will respect me for it when they're older and still have their privacy."
One of Facebook's drawbacks is that people feel the need to prove something about themselves.  Why spend so much time on the internet proving that you are one way or another? 

I shared my private blog with many family members who were excited to see pictures of the baby and a narrative about the new baby's life.  I have been able to show her growth and talk about how I feel about being her parent.  It is nice, because I am creating a journal of her early life that I will one day present to her. 

Yet, what of the sister that said: "Once you have the baby, you have to join Facebook"?

Well, she has not looked at the blog, as it is nigh impossible to contact her without Facebook.  She uses Facebook for e-mail.  Perhaps if she asks, I will tell her of the blog, although she will probably not like the idea of a blog much.  She wants us back on Facebook and can not understand our aversion to it.  A real shame, perhaps.  Maybe it's just an example of how Facebook has pulled yet another person in.   

If you are a parent, and are a Facebook user, take some time to think about what you say about your children on Facebook.  Think about how you would feel if someone else said the same about you.  Or better yet, unhook yourself from Facebook right now and never look back!

Are you on Facebook and have children?  Do you share their lives with others?  Do you get annoyed with other parents who share tidbits about their children's lives that are private?  Things such as their first period, their bad habits, or how misbehaved they were?  If so, please share your experiences in the comment field below.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Facebook Detox: Is Facebook Good For You?

The Fountain of Love by Francois Boucher
A world without Facebook?
Facebook Detox's mission is to create public awareness that sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, Myspace, and other (a)social media (called such because the user is generally forgoing social activities by using such websites, and such websites are often used when alone) are detrimental to a person's livelihood.

Individuals consume a huge amount of time hooked up to the largely fantasy world of Facebook and other (a)social networks. Many people have a huge emotional investment with such sites. Feelings such as jealousy, anger, self-hatred, and pessimism are often the result of prolonged use of Facebook. This is because users can not help but compare their lives to the lives of other users, especially those who they have on their “friends list.”

While many compare their lives to their friends, many do not take the time to consider the fact that very few people share both the positive and negative attributes of their lives on the internet. We compare what we know about ourselves, the good and the bad, to what we see – which is only the good aspects that other individuals choose to show. Invariably, we are apt to have negative feelings and often feel apathetic upon processing this in our minds.

Comparing ourselves to others and the resulting jealousy is not the only problem with (a)social media. Spending large amounts of time on these sites costs us in other areas of our lives. For example, almost every individual has goals and wants. Many people want to create something, whether it is writing a book, create a short film, finish a degree, find a job, spend time with a family member who may not be around much longer, keep a journal, improve one's property, start a project, open a business, learn a language, exercise, begin investing, read a novel, or something similar. However, many people put their dreams on hold, sometimes spending hours a day on Facebook instead of working towards their goals. Apps have been developed that wake a person up in the morning and open Facebook for them. Yes, that's right. Many people check Facebook first thing upon waking and before going to bed. Facebook is the first and last thing that they look it in a day!

Perhaps excessive Facebook use is something you struggle with? Perhaps you gave up Facebook a while back and feel left out because everyone else seems to be using it? Maybe you have read that some people view those who do not use Facebook as being mischievous or psychotic in some way? Perhaps you reminisce of a time where people were not glued to a smartphone and actually spent time engaged with the environment around them? I know that I do.

The reality is that at any given time, there are millions of people all over the world viewing Facebook. Many of these people do feel the negative side effects that come with Facebook, yet few even acknowledge that (a)social media, like many things, has negative attributes. Many people view Facebook as a way to keep in touch with loved ones. However, that view is highly questionable. On the surface, that's what Facebook and other (a)social media claims as its purpose. However, when one digs below the surface, there is a multi-billion dollar industry that wants you to be hooked up to the site at all times.

Websites like Facebook and Twitter are advertised heavily on news programs and in the media. Many companies have a huge financial interest in getting you to spend your time engaged with these websites. Stories of how Facebook, Twitter, and (a)social media is addicting or causes emotional and psychological damage only gets cursory media attention. Very few people even take the time to consider the damage that Facebook may be causing them or their children. Many see such negative attributes as a necessary evil in giving them the opportunity to keep in touch or track their friends and loved ones. Such companies thrive on this popular idea.

There are many people, however, who are beginning to ask, “is this type of 'social networking' healthy?” Many people are deactivating their accounts and seeing that there is a better life for them outside of the addicting and debilitating world of (a)social media. Ask yourself:
  • When was the last time you felt jealous of one of your Facebook friends?
  • Have you ever felt irritated or hurt by what a person said on Facebook?
  • Do you feel that you or your friends share far too much about their lives to the rest of the world?
  • Do you ever feel that you waste too much time on Facebook – time that you could have put to better use?
  • Has it ever irritated you that people around you were glued to Facebook or similar websites?
  • Do you know people who seem to exaggerate how great their lives are?
  • Have you ever exaggerated about your life on Facebook?
  • When you look at the lives of those who you know, have you noticed that those who live the most impressive lives do not spend time on Facebook?
  • Does getting likes make you feel good? Have you ever felt angry that you didn't get a like for something you posted?
Exaggerating about your life on Facebook

If you could trade your life for the life that you claim to live on your Facebook profile, would you? Chances are, almost everyone would. Exaggerating about one's attributes and lifestyles is common everywhere, but on Facebook, such exaggerations are made even more apparent. For example, academic achievements, status in one's job, socioeconomic status, and life achievements are routinely exaggerated on Facebook.

Although it is well known that people exaggerate on Facebook, that does not stop others from becoming jealous of the exaggerated lives of others. Even if you acknowledge that there is excessive exaggeration on Facebook, perhaps you have felt that your life did not even come close to measuring up to the lives of your friends. How did that make you feel? Perhaps you felt angry or depressed upon logging out. Did you think about that person throughout the day? Longer? Many users of Facebook feel incredible dissatisfaction about their lives when they spend hours comparing themselves to others.

If you assert that you don't compare your life to others when using Facebook, you may want to reconsider that assertion. Facebook was created as a means in which to compare the looks of Harvard students. Now it can be said to be a resume of your perceived life. Humans, by their very nature, compare everything they see. It is how we process information. We make value judgments and decisions based on comparison. Such comparing is integral to how we function and live our lives as humans. Such comparing is how we process information on Facebook. When you are looking at another person's profile, you are comparing that individual to yourself. One could go as far as to say that being on Facebook is almost masochistic. When we log in day after day to compare our lives to the perfect-seeming lives of others, we are slowly destroying our own self-esteem.

Facebook's currency is the like. Many people measure themselves and their lives based on how many likes they get. Many will post something in the hopes that they get a like for saying it. We oftentimes compare how many likes we got versus how many likes one of our friends received. Have you ever felt upset when something you said did not get liked, even though you were proud of it? Did you ever spend time posting pictures or writing something that seemed to be ignored? How did that make you feel?

Be honest: How does Facebook make you feel?
Facebook users also compare the amount of friends they have. Some individuals go quite far in getting as many friends as they can get. It has been said that a huge percentage of Facebook users are duplicate or otherwise fake accounts. Many people have duplicate accounts, whether it is for their pet, their child, or for an imaginary version of themselves.

Deactivate, Unplug, Empower

These are the three steps to ending an addiction to (a)social media. The first step, is, of course, realizing that you have a problem. Are you addicted to (a)social media? Only you can answer that question, but chances are, if you are reading this, you probably are at least considering that you have a problem. I would venture to say that a majority of Facebook's users are addicted. If you are logging in at prescribed times of the day, you are most likely addicted. I have known people who feel the insatiable urge to log onto Facebook immediately upon waking up as well as right before going to bed. It is not uncommon for hardcore Facebook addicts to spend time in bed surfing Facebook nightly before sleeping.

This is a problem, especially when it begins to interfere with real life. Anything that gets in the way of one's priorities in life and their goals is problematic. For example, when asking yourself if you are addicted to Facebook, consider:
  • Do you use Facebook immediately upon waking?
  • Do you use Facebook immediately before going to bed?
  • Do you feel irritable if you don't get your precious time with Facebook?
  • Do you spend more than an hour at a time on Facebook?
  • Do you use Facebook at work or school or any other time when you should be engaged in something else?
  • Do you use Facebook while walking outside?
  • Does it anger you if others do not have a Facebook account?
  • Do you get an update on your phone every time someone updates their Facebook?
  • Do you feel the urge to check Facebook while driving?
  • Do you feel sick or on edge if you have not checked your Facebook for a certain period of time?
  • Does the idea of going a weekend or a week without Facebook make you feel uneasy?
  • Do you find it hard to imagine a life without Facebook?
  • Do you get irritable when others insinuate that you may be addicted to Facebook?
If you notice that many of the above points apply to you, perhaps it is time to deactivate Facebook. Deactivating is the easy part. Anyone can turn off Facebook for a few minutes. However, the problem emerges once one has the desire to go back on Facebook. It's often a powerful, nagging desire. It can be quite strong at first. If this is the case, and if the pull is just too strong, you are likely addicted.

Unplugging is the step that happens the moment after you deactivate. It means staying off (a)social media sites. It means not going back. It means trying to forget about them. There is no doubt that you will hear from friends and family that you are missing out by not being on Facebook. You may be labeled as a societal pariah or as somehow devious for not being a part of an (a)social network website. Others may be offended that you left. There is no doubt that some may think that you are making a judgement against those who are on Facebook. However, the reality is that this step is needed if you are to be free of (a)social media.

Unplugging doesn't just happen over a day or a week. It is a constant process that keeps chugging from the moment that you free yourself by deactivating whatever (a)social media presence has been draining your time. Unplugging means exactly what it sounds like: Unplugging any and every connection from (a)social media and not going back. If a crack addict was to go a few years without snorting and then inject just a wee bit into his buttocks, would that somehow be OK since he had gone so long without a fix? Or would such a fix cause the once addicted crack fiend to be back at square one? I tend to think that most agree with the latter answer. The (a)social media addict, therefore, must unplug and unplug for life. Addiction can easily resurface. It's ugly head emerges back when a taste of the previous addictive stimuli comes back into the picture.

Once you unplug you have to constantly empower yourself. If you just sit around and think about sites like Facebook all day long, you are going to do nothing for yourself in the long run. Eventually you are going to feel the constant nagging want to log back in. And you will probably give into that incessant urge. Instead of just sitting there like a bump on a camel's back, why not do something that has some positive impact in your life?

I have noticed that many Facebook users are at a point in their life where they feel that they are stagnating. Sometimes it looks like Facebook users are making huge strides in their lives, but the reality is that when someone merely talks about something, someone is rarely actually doing things. Take a moment to ask yourself: “Of all my friends, who are the most productive? Who would I really want to be?” Do they have a Facebook account? How often are they on Facebook? I have found that of the people who I know, who I would like to be more like, few of them are on Facebook. Ask yourself if your heroes in life have a Facebook account. Do they use it constantly? How much do they use it? I am guessing not too much. I heard the pope perhaps tweets, but is he locked on Twitter 24/7? I am guessing not. I heard that some movie stars have Facebook accounts, but I can not help but wonder how much of the updating is done by PR agents and the like. In other words, are the big time names in the world locked into the world of (a)social media, or are they just keeping the masses pacified?

Empowering is the step that will do you the most good in life. It is the part where, instead of posting on Facebook, you start to make strides towards the life that you really want to live. For example, I wanted to finish school really bad. At the time, before I started law school, I was inundated with a life full of Facebook. I talked about my future and the things I would accomplish. Yet, when I logged off every day, I felt that I was doing nothing with my life. Sometimes I feel like a true failure having burned through hours of daylight while looking at other's profiles and comparing myself to them. Sometimes I felt like the biggest loser in the world when I went to bed because I was seeing my friends buying homes, cars, making babies, raising babies, and going back to college. I would see people that were entering their careers well before 30 and I was still working in the realm of fast food. I wanted more out of my life and sometimes posting something funny on Facebook was enough to make me feel happy. In fact, when someone liked my status it made me feel good enough to keep going in life. There was no need for me to do anything else because I got a few likes now and then. I must have been doing something right. Right?

Fairest City - The Anger for Enemies by Nicholas Roerich
What has Facebook given you?
Wrong! The truth was, each day I wasted on Facebook got me nothing other than a like that was quickly forgotten. When I left the computer (for example, to go to work), I began to imagine the life that I really wanted. When I would see people living lives that I wanted, I felt jealous and angry. I was getting older every single day, but what was I doing with my life? Instead of writing or going to school, I was sitting in front of a computer screen rearranging pictures of trips that I took in the past, hoping that someone would like them. Instead of losing weight and exercising I was trying to say something snarky enough to get me a like or perhaps even a poke. Instead of spending time with my wife or making real life friends, I was stuck in the past, with people who I probably had nothing in common with now that high school had been over for about a decade. In short, I realized that I was, through Facebook, becoming more of what I perceived to be a loser. And I hated it!

What was I to do then? I could quit Facebook, but that was a silly idea. What then would I do with my time? I was so busy with work and Facebook was such a nice little diversion for me when I got home. I had no addiction, I told myself. I only spent about 2-3 hours a day on Facebook. And even though I had it open on a browser tab whenever I was on the internet, it did not mean that I was actively using the site. And I knew people who used it more than I did, and they said they were not addicted. And if they said they were not addicted, it must be the truth right?

Wrong! I started to wonder, how much could I get done in a couple of hours a day? Could I actually do something meaningful in that time? Sure, I was exhausted after coming home from a tough day at work, but did that give me an excuse to let my life come to a halt? Did I truly want more out of life, or was I happy being a pawn? I knew I wanted more out of life, but it seemed too hard. To give up Facebook would mean to give up all my friends and loved ones. It would mean to enter the world all alone. To leave Facebook would mean saying “goodbye.” And I have never been too good with goodbyes.

Sometimes we must say goodbye, however, in order to start fresh. Saying goodbye to Facebook meant saying hello to a new life. That was somewhat exciting. I have always liked change, and giving up Facebook and putting the time I spent on Facebook towards something else really made my heart race. What would I do with all this new found time? Would I create a Twitter account? I have not been on Myspace for a long time.

No, if you give up one addiction, you can not replace it with another. Unless, of course, it's a healthy addiction. I decided that, instead of using Facebook, maybe I should focus on school. Maybe I should write more. Maybe I should create a blog or save up some money and travel. There were books I wanted to read. There was body mass I wanted to get rid of. I could really improve myself without Facebook, I thought. But, then, who would I show my improvements off to?

Do you struggle with Facebook addiction?  Do you want help quitting?  Do you feel like your life has stagnated since you made yourself a Facebook profile?  If you have a story to share, please share it in the comments below.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Power of Choices

Some of us are not aware of the impact of our choices.
Our lives are made up largely of the results that come about due to the choices that we make.  Every day we make choices of how to spend our time.  We decide what to do, what to put in our bodies, what to feed our minds, where to go, and how we will progress as individuals.  Some of the choices we make better our lives greatly while other decisions seem to have little impact.  Yet, some of the choices we make set us back in life.  Some are catastrophic.  While an individual choice may seem to play a very minor part in life, the reality is that even a small choice can cascade into something great or terrible over time.

You have a choice whether or not to be on Facebook

You may have come to the conclusion that you need Facebook.  Perhaps you signed up without thinking just because you saw everyone else was doing it.  Maybe the Facebook App came installed on your phone and you figured "why not?"  Perhaps you were told by friends and family that you needed to join.  Maybe you saw that most businesses seem to want you to be on Facebook.  Maybe you feel it is the only way that you can advertise your own business or enter into various contests and giveaways.  The truth is, however, that you do not need to be on Facebook.  While it may seem absurd at first, the reality is that Facebook is an option, and one that you should not feel compelled to accept.  There are a host of reasons why you should consider not being on Facebook.  These include:
Sadly, many people live their life as if they do not have choices.  I have known people who go through life in this manner and they are often quite miserable.  Living life with the idea that you do not have a choice in anything results in depression.  However, many people who live this type of life seem unaware that they have a choice in what they do and how they spend their time.  It baffles many to find out that they have are free to choose how they live their life and that their life is the result of the choices that they make.  In fact, many would rather blame 'the system' or outside sources for the life that they have. I have found that many of these people are the type that are quick to be on Facebook and thrive on the site.

Where have your choices led you?
Facebook seems to hold a power over the people who believe that they are powerless in the world.  It is their sounding board; a way for them to lament their lives to the world and, when things are going good, brag like a banshee.  If you are still on Facebook you are probably well aware of their type.  They are the ones who often are updating their Facebook profile by the hour.  In fact, these people oftentimes seem to be living their lives through Facebook, because they believe that they have no choice in how to live and where to spend their time.

You have to realize that you do have a choice whether or not you are on Facebook.  It is important to accept that fact and stand firm, realizing that you will not be bullied in making a decision.  Sadly, the reality is that the media, family, friends, and corporations are vested with an interest in getting you to sign up to Facebook.  If you are not on Facebook you might fear that you will be considered devious or a sociopath.  Don't give into that fear!  It is your life and nobody else's.  You have a choice.

I realized, long ago, that my life always turned out for the better when I thought about the choices I made and it always stagnated or worsened when I lived without making conscious choices.  Although I have received backlash for not being on Facebook, I realized that not being on Facebook was one of the best choices I have ever made.  I am not telling you that you can not be on Facebook.  To the contrary, that choice is up to you.  Instead, my aim is to provide the reader a contrary view about Facebook.   A view that the media is not as interested in sharing.  A view that Facebook does not want you to know.  A view that Facebook is not required nor is it even close to optimal for a healthy lifestyle.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Leaving Facebook

Do something this year to improve your life
by leaps and bounds -- leave Facebook!
With the new year approaching, many people take the opportunity to make a New Year's resolution. Recently you may have heard that multiple Facebook account passwords have been stolen (source).   Now is an excellent time to make a resolution to leave Facebook.

Take a look back at the last year and ask yourself the following questions.  Be honest with yourself and take some time to think through them.
1.  How much have you used Facebook last year?
2.  Have you got tired of the constant bragging and arguing that takes place on Facebook?
3.  Do you feel good about yourself when you log off Facebook?
4.  Are your family members and friends using Facebook constantly?
5.  Are you tired of how people will only talk to you and contact you via Facebook?
6.  Has Facebook usage caused to you forgo other opportunities and goals in your life?
7.  What do you see yourself doing with the time you would have otherwise spent on Facebook?
8.  Is Facebook really that exciting to you now, or is it more of a habit?
9.  Do you use Facebook while ignoring the people around you?  Are you missing out on your children and families growing older?
If you are honest with how you answer these questions, you may find that Facebook is not quite as great as many claim.  In fact, there are many people who outright state that they do not miss Facebook after leaving it.  As crazy as it may sound, many people are actually quite happy with their decision to leave Facebook!

It has already been established that Facebook is addicting.  Like many things that are addicting, it is hard and even sometimes scary for some to contemplate leaving their Facebook addiction behind.  Many people fear that they will be chastised for leaving, ignored, or that their lives will be empty.  Many people claim that they feel that they will not know what is going on in the world if they don't have Facebook.

First, if you are chastised for leaving Facebook, you should stand strong and tell people that it is your decision whether or not you are on Facebook.  There is nothing wrong with you for not being on the site. If you feel the need, tell others why you left and why you are not going back.  Be firm.  When people ask me why I am not on Facebook I tell them exactly why.  When people tell me that I need to join Facebook I tell them that will never happen.  They may not like it, but it's my life.

Many people will want you to be on Facebook because they want to see what you are doing.  Many enjoy the idea that they are being watched and seen.  However, there is something to say about being a private person and living your own life; being away from the constant drama and bragging that Facebook is rife with.

Has the novelty of Facebook disappeared for you?
If you feel that you will be ignored by some when you leave Facebook, that is not your loss.  The people that really do care for you will contact you still.  Those who don't probably will not.  At first, when I left, I felt somewhat angry that many people did not contact me or seem to care at all about my life.  However, over time I realized that I was not losing out by not being contacted by others.  If Facebook had never been invented (which would have been great), I would not have been contacted by many of the people who I knew on the site.

Over the years, when I was on Facebook, I found that the longer I was on the site, the less certain people conversed with me.  They were content with me being on their friend's list, and I was content merely being on theirs.  This is when I started to wonder if Facebook was really social or if the often touted social aspect of Facebook was merely imaginary.  Over time I started to realize, seeing all the fighting, arguing, boasting, and time spent on the site, that Facebook was actually quite (a)social.  That's right -- I learned that Facebook is not really social at all!  It's merely a gimmick to get people to sign up.  I realized that being connected does not mean being social, and being connected with everyone is not always a good thing.

Is Facebook really exciting for you now?

When I first signed up for Facebook it was very exciting to see the people who I knew long ago but had lost contact with.  For months I would sign in and see what they were doing.  However, Facebook started to lose that novelty.  Over time, I tried to rekindle that excitement, but alas, it was long gone.  When I read the things that many people were saying and took notice of the time that I spent on the site, I started to wonder if my usage of Facebook was more toxic than beneficial.  When I left Facebook and noticed my life improving by leaps and bounds, I realized that Facebook was not something I wanted to be a part of.  When I took notice of the people who were still on Facebook and letting their lives fall apart, it established to me that I had no reason to return to Facebook.

Every day I see people who complain about their lives and complain about having too little time, but spend hours a day on Facebook.  Many of these people want sympathy and go on Facebook to get it.  Instead of spending all that time on Facebook, they should get off the website and start to put their lives back together.  It is amazing what one can accomplish in a day if they create goals and work to achieve them.  The satisfaction one gets from achieving a goal is far greater than the satisfaction one gets from wasting hours and days on Facebook.

This year try leaving Facebook and other (a)social websites and create a better life for yourself.  You are not going to be able to lose weight, do well in school, achieve success in business, or better yourself while you are glued to Facebook.  Take some time off Facebook and take note of how your life improves.  Take note of others who are on Facebook and refuse to leave.  Ask yourself: do I really want to return to that way of life?  Do I really miss being on the site that is just a big internet sounding board?  Just because the media tells you that you need to be on Facebook (usually due to a pecuinary interest that they have in the site), the truth is, you do not.  You only live once, why live it on Facebook?

Have you given any thought to leaving Facebook?  If so, share your experiences in the comment field, or e-mail FBdetox@gmail.com.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Multiple Accounts on Facebook


Are you living a fantasy with multiple Facebook accounts?
Being back near my family I have seen a lot more of Facebook than I have ever wanted to see.  Daily I am shown or told what others say or do on Facebook.  Recently I mentioned that one of my wife's sisters stated "when you have the baby you have to be on Facebook."  While there is no way that is going to happen, the reality is, Facebook is showing its ugly face everywhere, and many are having a heck of a time staying away from it.

The problem seems to go deeper, however, than just having a Facebook account.  In fact, many of my family members have at least two accounts that they keep active.  I was blown away when I found out that a couple of friends both have two different Facebook accounts that they keep current.  One is their 'real self' and the other is an 'imaginary self.'  The question that I immediately have is: isn't pretty much every account on Facebook imaginary?  Why do you have two accounts?

The amount of time that one spends on just one Facebook account is depressing enough.  Spending time babysitting multiple Facebook accounts is just jaw dropping.  What kind of life are you living in the outside world?  It is no wonder that I am seeing that many people who live on Facebook are depressed with their regular lives.  Fooling themselves and others on Facebook into believing that their life is perfect may give them some solace, but they will never climb out of the slump that their life is in if they live each and every day on Facebook.

My wife's mother signs into Facebook once a day and when she does, the sister who said that we need to be on Facebook always messages her.  She is always on Facebook.  Facebook has become her world and she tells everything about her life, her thoughts, her political and religious views, her children's achievements, her angers, woes, and her love life on Facebook.  Her life is lived through Facebook.  In fact, she barely even exists outside of the site.  It is as if Facebook opened its ugly mouth and swallowed her whole.  And she loves it.  When I tell her that I am not on Facebook she seems perplexed and even angry that I am not on the site.  I honestly believe that if Facebook went down it would kill her.

If you have multiple accounts on Facebook, you may want to take a step back and ask yourself if you are really happy with spending that much time on a website.  People who have multiple accounts will tell me that they are not addicted to the site.  Then why then do they spend hours a day on it?  There are certain individuals who are going through hard times in life and they wonder why they can't climb out of it.  They think that somehow life will magically change for them.  While they are on their Facebook accounts, they believe that the universe is just going to change their lives.  They are in for a rude awakening.  Your life will likely never change if you are doing nothing to change it.  If you are spending hour after hour on multiple Facebook accounts you are not going to progress in your real life.  How one can believe that they can move forward while they're stagnating on Facebook baffles me.  

What are you missing by being on Facebook?
Sadly, it is incredibly hard to reach people who are glued to Facebook.  Many refuse to believe that they are wasting their lives.  People believe that Facebook is a requirement for living.  People believe that they are missing out by not tapping in to Facebook for hours a day.  Facebook sucks so many people in and in the end, most of it is a waste.  Instead of being connected with others you are instead disconnected from the people who are around you.  Many people tell me that Facebook has helped them connect to people far away.  Yet, the same people tend to ignore their children and spouses while they are glued to the site.  It's great that you can talk to your uncle in Germany, but what about your child who you are ignoring while you spy on your ex-boyfriend?

In the end, few people can tell me that they are not losing more than they are gaining by being on Facebook.  Stagnating lives, jealousy, time wasted, goals unmet, time missed with family and friends, personal growth are just a few of the things that you are probably losing if you are on Facebook.  There is no better time to leave Facebook than now.  Consider a detox.  Once you stay away long enough you will see that you don't miss it.  If you care at all about your life, there is no reason to waste it on (a)social media.  

Do you or someone you know have a problem keeping multiple Facebook accounts?  Do you want to leave Facebook?  Are you sick of the world's obsession with Facebook?  If so, please comment below.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"You Have to Join Facebook"


It seems that this website is getting some attention from Facebook's corporate office. I can't say that I am too surprised; this site's message is hostile to the site, and it's Facebook's mission to make it so that everyone on Earth signs up and spends their days hooked up to it. We will just have to wait and see how long Facebook keeps watching this site, but I have a feeling it's going to be for quite a while.

Recently my wife's sister told my wife she would have to join Facebook once the baby is born. I, needless to say, was not amused by this statement. Neither of us want to raise our child on Facebook and we will not be signing up to show off our child to everyone in the world over Facebook or any other (a)social media. Sadly, this person can not seem to understand why a person would not want to be on Facebook.  So many people live their lives via Facebook and get little out of the real world that is around them.  This is not the kind of life that I find myself desiring.  It is not the kind of life my wife or I want for our child.

While I will not be posting pictures of the baby all over the internet, I have found out that others in my family do share the pictures we send to them of things like ultrasounds, etc. over Facebook. While I am not crazy about the idea, the truth is, I can not control it. I would rather these members of my family just get rid of Facebook, as they spend an inordinate amount of time on the website. However, there is no way that this will be done in the near future. Many people believe that a part of a healthy adult life includes a Facebook account. Sadly, they are only harming themselves by wasting hours on Facebook daily. Needless to say, with seeing all of Facebook's ill effects, we have no desire to return.

If one wants to be a private person in today's world, they must work to be so. The virtue of privacy seems to be slowly eroding as (a)social media finds its way into the lives of almost every person that owns a cellular phone or computer. The allure of being somehow “connected” to those far away is so profound that few can resist the call. Few question if it is really a “connection” that we have over the internet. Is it? I don't believe that a Facebook connection is a real connection. It's superficial at best. Bragging over the internet is not connecting.  Whining over the internet is not connecting.  Those who have been duped into believing that their lives are better because of Facebook would do well to log off for a year and see if they are missing out on anything. The longer you are away from Facebook, the less you'll miss it.

Author's Note:  Lately I have been busy with another website and my time on this site has been limited. However, as I have been staying with family and have noticed Facebook everywhere in their lives, I will be writing here more often from now on.  There is a lot more to say about Facebook that needs to be said, and few are standing up to say it.  If you have anything to share, please post in the comments.  If you would like to submit an article to this site, let me know and e-mail it to fbdetox@gmail.com

Monday, October 14, 2013

Communication Only Through Facebook


"I only communicate online via Facebook."  While this was not said in words, this is often said in the actions of certain people I have met and others who I know.  There are a class of individuals who do not like to converse unless the whole world can see it.  Well, the whole "Facebook world" that is.

It is hard to reach these type of people.  They are aloof when the phone rings.  They are barely there when you are communicating with them in person.  Their thumbs rap at their cellular phone as you try to talk to them.  Their eyes bat back and forth from you to the screen as you try to keep their attention.  You want to say something, but you don't know how to phrase it.  It would probably cause a fight, so you are quiet. Their eyes are glazed, and you wonder if they are drugged.

And they tap, tap, tap, as you struggle to speak with them.

If you are not on Facebook, you probably don't know much about their life.  It does not matter if you are their parent, their sibling, or their once best friend.  If you want in that individual's life, you must be on Facebook.

"I don't like to do private messages, I want to be transparent!"  They say.  They share everything with everyone through Facebook.  Little Timmy's dentist appointment, pictures from Uncle Harry's BBQ, the relationship drama that is unfolding at home.  It's like that television show "Big Brother."  Yet, you know little of it.

When you show concern, they wonder why you are not their Facebook friend.  "If you cared, you would follow my life on Facebook."  Yet, you want a real relationship with the person, a personal and private relationship.  That's a no go though.  If they are going to say it to you, there are going to say it to everyone.

You are left out of the loop when it comes to gatherings.  "I invited everyone on Facebook."  Yet, you told them you are not on Facebook.  You told them more than once.  It doesn't matter though.  Facebook is their world.  "I told you why I am not on Facebook," you tell the individual.  They don't buy it.  They just look at you with those glazed eyes and, as you speak, they grab for the phone and begin to enter text.

"Am I interrupting?" you ask.
"No, I am multi-tasking," they say.
"I miss how things were before."
"It's the Facebook age, you are a dinosaur."
"Not everyone is on Facebook."
"It's a necessity.  Get with the program."

You are on the verge of losing this person, yet you do not want to.  You want to be in the individual's life, but you sure as heck do not want to sign up for a Facebook account.  You have already deactivated your account more than you can count on both hands and at least one foot.  You kept going back, seeing your old high school friend's drunk selfies and manufactured lives.  You woke up each morning, locked and loaded to Facebook and you went to bed feeling like a two ton pickup truck ran you over.  You swore you'd never go back each time and you finally mustered up the courage to deactivate the site for good.  You know that there is no way you are going to blow through three hours to build a new profile and send invitations to all your old friends.

"I tried it, and I was miserable," you try to say, but you have said it before.  Many times.  They just don't understand.  They are used to the life on Facebook.  The ups and downs are normal to them now.  They have no idea what you are talking about.  They don't understand that life without Facebook is better because they are desensitized to the drama, to the need to live up to the expectations of others, to the need to be someone who they are not.  Sure, they are depressed when they see the vacation photos of their friends or the new house that a classmate bought.  Yet, they know no different now.  They can impress others with a click of a button or garnish sympathy from a host of individuals with a few words.  They are neck deep in the toxic relationship with Facebook and they are gladly sinking deeper.

"Have you ever tried going a week without Facebook?"
"Why would I want to do that?"
"You should try it, see if you feel different."
"There's no reason to leave Facebook."

Minutes turn into hours, hours into days, and the time continues to move on.  So much time spent updating profiles as Facebook keeps peeling the onion of privacy further back.  They don't care.  They have been members since when Facebook was for college students only and few could see.  "Don't you value your privacy?" you ask.
"I don't tell people everything about my life."
Yet they sure seem to tell everyone on Facebook about their life.

"Can I e-mail you sometime?"
"Sure, but I don't know if I will have time to answer it, I am very busy."

Busy with what?  Six hours a day on Facebook?  Of course you have enough tact to not say it.  Oh, but you know that you want to.
"I miss our relationship."
"Things change.  You really should get on Facebook."

They just don't understand.  Perhaps they never will.  Facebook loves it though.  They are reeling in the money as people are spending their lives hooked up to their beloved screen.

"Thank you," they say.
"For what?" you ask.
"Oh, sorry, I was talking out loud.  I meant to say that on Facebook." 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

It has been a while...

It has been a while since I posted here.  Too long, perhaps.  I have not forgot about this blog, instead, I have been busy moving across the United States, from the east coast to the west coast.  I have also been preparing for my wife to give birth to our first (and only) child.  On top of all that, I am looking for employment, which has been slow.  I must say that it was satisfying to not tell the world about having a child over Facebook, even though others thought it should be shared on the site.  I did not want this child to be another "Facebook baby," however.

Many of my more recent comments mention that it is hard to stay away from Facebook.  At one time it was hard to stay away from Facebook, however, as days pass, I find it easier to not want to be on the site at all. It does get easier.  At first you will feel that you are missing out by not being on Facebook, but once you are away long enough, you'll feel great for not wanting to be involved with the (a)social media world any longer.

I had a chance to take a look back at the world of Facebook recently, in fact.  My wife took the jump and permanently deactivated her account.  She actually had me do it for her.  I am very proud of her move.  She decided that with a baby coming that she has no need to ever get back on the site.  I must say that two years ago, my decision to leave Facebook was one of the best choices I have ever made.  In fact, when I look at how obsessed I was with the website and how little I accomplished while being on Facebook, I can not say that it was no small accomplishment.

For those who think that Facebook is an essential tool for a happy healthy life, you might want to look at what you are missing out by not being on Facebook before you draw a conclusion.  Many individuals that are users of Facebook are 'power users'.  That means that you are drawn to log onto Facebook whenever you are conscious.

Should You Use Facebook For Your Etsy Store or Online Advertising?

Many Etsy users are saying Facebook is not worth it on Etsy and for selling items.
"As a middle school teacher, Facebook was my sworn enemy. Nothing has ever created such drama or promoted such blatant cruelty as Facebook in the hands of unsupervised tween girls. I have a hard time even considering using it, despite reading how crucial it is to success on Etsy. I've also heard complaints from friends who say people are now more frequently using it solely for self-promotion, which they dislike. So for the time being, I'll pass. Better for me to spend my time knitting."
Don't be fooled by the articles that state that Facebook is essential to do well online.  The truth is Facebook is about as needed as a dirty dishtowel in a diamond store.  Many of these articles are written by those who have a financial stake in Facebook.  Furthermore, many of these articles throw in Facebook because it's something easy to add to an article.

Facebook is a nasty little site that seems to want its users to be locked online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Purge that urge to log on.  Purge that urge to spend your life behind a glowing screen.  There is a real world outside that is just wanting to be enjoyed.  Are you going to waste another minute on Facebook?  I hope not.  I hope that you decide to log off for good.