Friday, December 21, 2012

We are told: "You Need Facebook"


Facebook is seen by many as a necessity of modern life.  We are told, "it is important to be connected," or that "you have to have a Facebook account."  We are asked about our (a)social network connections as if we are expected to automatically be connected.  If we are not, we are questioned, being asked, "why don't you have a Facebook account?"

Perhaps this is due to the extrovert-centric world we live in.  I still constantly hear family members talk about what they posted on Facebook or what someone else said.  The reason I left Facebook was partly because I didn't care to hear this constant barrage of noise.  Yet, I am still given people's status updates even though I am not on the site any longer.  People feel that I should still somehow know what's going on.   They feel that I should hear what has been posted on Facebook.  They seem to think that it is as if I want these status updates.  As if I somehow need these status updates. 



I still hear how certain family members have posted pictures on Facebook and that it's "too bad I can't look at them."  It is too bad.   Not that I am not on Facebook, but that others feel that there is no need to share things with people who are not on Facebook.  It is almost as if people who are not on Facebook are somehow being punished for not creating and maintaining an account.   We are told, in essence, that "if you are not on Facebook, then you can not know about my life."  I did not leave Facebook because I don't care about people.  I left Facebook because I was sick of the "noise."  I got sick of the constant barrage of stupidity that I saw on that site.  I got sick of the time I spent using the site.  I got sick of how I felt after I logged off.  Not because I was jealous of others.  No, because I could not believe the things that many would say.  That I could not believe that I opted to use (a)social networking instead of improving my life.  Like the woman in the video above, I felt like a used towel once I logged off Facebook.  No person should have to feel like a used towel, ever.

I have noticed that some do not seem to care about improving their life.  Life, to many, is showing off how "social" one can be.  But is that what life is all about?  What is gained by spending so much time on a website showing the world that you are "social?"  Is it that important to thrust one's self out to the rest of the world?  Is it that important to put your entire life on stage?  Do you really need all your friends to know where you checked into via FourSquare?  Do you really need all your friends to know what your food looked like?  Do you really need the world to know what building you are in?

There is a lot of talk about the end of the world happening today.  I am sure that's another hot topic of Facebook, and one that I am glad I don't have to see.  It seems to me that these kinds of topics are just a waste of time.  The world will still be around after today ends, yet millions of people will have wasted countless amounts of time discussing the possibility that it will end.  It all comes down to more time wasted on Facebook.

Does it matter how a person spends ones time?  Who am I to say how a person should spend their free time?  One could argue that it is in fact none of my business.  To be honest, it is not.  However, many people could benefit from stopping for a moment and reflecting on how much time they pour into Facebook and other (a)social network sites.  There is a serious problem when families stop interacting with each other off the internet, when people begin to trade the outside world for that which is happening on their cell phone, and when people feel that everybody should join these sites.  A person only has so long to live.  I ask: when you look back on your life, are you going to be happy with how you spent it?  We have the whole world around us to enjoy.  Why spend life glued to a small device?  Why spend so much time on a website that gives back little of substance? 

If you are on Facebook because of the mistaken belief that it is a necessity, you may want to rethink your choice.  Facebook is only seen as a necessity because it is advertised that way.  Facebook exists to make money.  In order to make money, Facebook must have many people addicted to the site.  (Another recent study has shown that Facebook is addictive)[1].  Without those people, Facebook ceases to exist.  The world will still go on.  Just as the world will go on tomorrow.  Your world doesn't have to end with Facebook.  It's your choice.

Sources:

[1] University of Bergen, Facebook Addiction Study http://www.uib.no/news/nyheter/2012/05/new-research-about-facebook-addiction

Friday, December 14, 2012

Self-Expression and (a)Social Networking

Facebook's claim to fame: manufacturing jealousy.

With the holidays approaching, I have been hearing how (a)social network sites like Facebook and the highly-worthless Twitter (scourge of the internet) are replacing greeting cards.  I have noticed, over the years, that Christmas cards are not as popular as they once were.  I am not a huge "Christmas card" fanatic, but it is interesting to see that people are taking to using (a)social media to say "happy holidays" instead of sending out a card or taking a, what one might call, more thoughtful approach that singles out another individual and shows that they care.

(A)social network sites also seem to be devaluing expression as a whole.  I have taken particular notice in the last few years that people are spending less time on expressing themselves on a deep level (such as through creating) and instead use (a)social networks to "express" themselves.  This may not seem like a big deal to some, who are busy with their lives, or who feel that there is no time to express one's self.  However, I think that self expression is an important part of one's life.  Limiting one's self-expression through (a)social networking, or even the internet, is not good for a person's psychological well being.

Self-expression is key to understanding and asserting yourself and your own uniqueness to the world.  While some may argue that it is fine to limit all of your self-expression to Facebook, the truth is, that is not good at all.  In fact, it's very limiting, and is, frankly, somewhat depressing.  Facebook, contrary to what some may say, is not much of a form of self-expression.  Being on Facebook is more akin to trying to yell louder than everyone else to get yourself seen by more people.  Why else did Facebook roll out a way for people to pay to have their post at the top?  People exist on Facebook largely to assert that they are living a better and more exciting life than others.  That is not healthy self-expression.  That is oftentimes no better than bragging.  Further, many people have reported feeling down on themselves because they feel that their lives are not as exciting as others on Facebook.  That is sad, because everyone is unique, and anyone can have an exciting life. 

I have found that the people who claim to have the best lives on Facebook are the ones who are on Facebook the most.  That does not sound like a very exciting life to me.  The idea of living my life on Facebook terrifies me.  One can not do much with their time on this Earth if they are busy posting status updates and trying to outdo others on an (a)social networking site. 

There is nothing wrong with spending time alone.
One's self expression should not always be put on stage.  There is something about expressing one's self through writing or drawing, or in other forms of creating, even if nobody else sees that creation.  We live in a time where one feels that they have to share everything with the world.  One should not feel compelled to have to share every small thing in their life with the world on Facebook.  However, many do.  Many are obsessed with the idea of the world being more "transparent" (one of those current buzzwords which is overused).  Many people are alright with there being very little privacy in the world.  For these types, there is nothing wrong with Facebook, only something wrong with those who are not on Facebook.  Many think that if you are not on Facebook, you are a sociopath or have something to hide.  Some people can not comprehend that some people value their privacy enough to not be on Facebook.  While many think that not being on Facebook is devious or somehow unhealthy, others are aware that being on Facebook and other (a)social networking sites is unhealthy.  There is nothing good about feeling compelled to compete with people who otherwise would have probably been strangers.  There is nothing good about having to "prove" yourself to the world when you should be happy with who you are. 

Yet, I have found that many people who are on Facebook are often unhappy with themselves.  This is not true of everyone, but for those heavy users of Facebook, I find that they judge themselves in a negative light when compared to others.  Many people do not think that they are an alright human being when they compare themselves with the so-called "exciting" life that others try to project.  Yet, the "exciting" lives that others project is often a fa├žade.  Contrary to what you hear from many, the heavy users on Facebook are the ones who are often (a)social (hence the apt term, (a)social networking).  These are the ones who are the most unhappy with their lives.  They could get a lot out of leaving Facebook behind and coming back to the real world, where they can learn to love themselves again.  They would be perhaps happier with themselves and their accomplishments if they put the amount of time they use on Facebook towards to building a better life for themselves. 

I have seen Facebook destroy many a person's creativity.  I have seen people join Facebook to become lethargic about the outside world.  They let the lives of others end their life.  If they would leave (a)social networking behind and come back to the world that they were once creative in, they would no doubt be happier with their life. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Garnishing Pity Through (a)Social Networking


If there is one thing that people love about the internet, it's the fact that the internet makes it very easy for a person to complain.  Whether it's about one's life, about the state of the world, or about other people, there's no other place to complain quite like the internet.  I have found that (a)social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter make it all too easy for one to complain about the perceived realities of one's life.

There are winners and "losers" in the world.  Winners tend to have a positive outlook on life.  Oftentimes, instead of complaining, they focus their energies into creating something and changing their life.  If life deals them an unsavory hand, the winners will oftentimes go make sure that they can change their life. 

"Losers" on the other hand (a word I don't care for much, but it fits in this context), complain about life.  No matter what happens, there is always something negative which can possibly bring them pity from others.  When things get rough, these people often will complain to no end about it.  When there is an opportunity to get out of the hole that the complainer is in, they don't always climb out, but instead they find that (a)social networking sites and the internet as a whole is a therapeutic place to complain.  However, their complaining oftentimes gets drowned out by the complaining of others who also lament their lot in life.

My Experience with this on Facebook

When I left Facebook, I noticed that many of my "friends" were very negative about their lives.  Not just about one issue, but about everything that can be imagined.  Oftentimes, being negative on Facebook brings attention.  One of my "friends" used her negativity to garnish sympathy from others.  Oftentimes (about once every couple of months) she would state "I am going to get rid of people on my Facebook unless you tell me you want to be friends still."  This was her way of crying out to the world for attention.  Her life has, in many ways, stagnated since she began Facebook.  She gets what she wants out of site and will probably never leave the world of (a)social networking behind.

I have found that people are not only overly negative on sites like Facebook, but all over the internet.  Many internet forums are rife with individuals complaining about their life, the economy, and anything else they can think of.  Many people would find that their lives were not so horrible if they tried to change their lives.  Instead, they see that wallowing in self-pity is a lot easier for them than making their life better.  I have seen internet forums were people have pretty much given up trying in life because other people who complain constantly could not or did not get ahead in life.  I have been to websites where a person who does get ahead and succeed in life is called a liar or a bragger, and where the complainers say that he/she is an "anomaly" and one should "not expect similar results."

Facebook is a prime play place for complainers and those who are not happy with their lives.  Now, let me say not everyone on Facebook is like this, and some of my friends on the site were pretty positive people.  However, as a whole, I found there was a lot more negativity on Facebook.  Whether it was in the form of politics (the world is going to hell) or in the form of "my life is awful." 

One issue that I often see that is apparent in people who are upset about their lives is that they oftentimes believe that life is "randomly generated."  Many people hope that tomorrow will bring them better luck or an opportunity.  Instead of trying to seek out opportunities, many individuals instead just wait for them to appear.  Sadly, opportunities rarely just come about.  Oftentimes opportunities are created. 

For those who are on Facebook, opportunities seem to come less often.  Why?  Because, sitting on Facebook is a very passive way to live life.  Instead of actively trying to better your life through learning, doing things, creating, and engaging in the outside world, the Facebook obsessee is living his/her life through (a)social networking.  Opportunities rarely manifest themselves when one is busy (a)socializing through Facebook.  Living a passive life is not going to bring one much success.  Living life through Facebook and the internet is perhaps the most passive life one can live.

A winner's outlook on life is generally positive.
Whining on the internet does not do anyone any good.  The whiner only convinces him/herself more that he/she is powerless and can not change their life.  Those who see others whining are often compelled to do the same.  By beholding such whining constantly, we feel down on our own lives.  If one constantly reads things that are negative about life, they will undoubtedly start to develop a negative attitude of their own.  I believe this is one reason why Facebook seemed to become a more and more negative place right before I left it.  I found that I often felt angry at myself for spending time on the site.  I would think about the negative aspects about it later.  I become judgmental, angry, and sometimes lethargic about life when I used the site.  It was only when I let go that I really saw my life start to change.  Leaving Facebook alone won't change your life.  A new attitude is important.  Getting rid of the negativity will help.  In fact, if you are trying to become a more positive person, you should probably leave Facebook.  The site is rife with negativity that will consume you.  Spend a week off the site.  I am sure you will notice a difference.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Future With (a)Social Networking?


What do you want your future to look like? Do you have goals, dreams and desires which you one day hope to obtain? Or are you drifting aimlessly through life? Is life comprised of waking up, checking your Facebook and Twitter, then going to bed? If so, you are not alone. Many people currently live life on autopilot, basing everything on what they see on Facebook, Twitter, and other (a)social media.  Yet, (a)social networking is said to be "fun" and "necessary." 

Now that the Pope has joined Twitter (@ponifax) there is something for everyone it seems. Instead of going to Church, why not just listen to a 140 character sermon? In fact, the pope will be answering religious questions via Twitter in the next few days. How great! 

The reality is, if you are basing your life on (a)social networking, you are wasting your life.


Ask yourself what you have accomplished since joining Facebook. Ask yourself what your "Facebook friends" have accomplishes on Facebook? Have their lives resulted in a virtual standstill? Are they achieving or stagnating? I bet you a quarter it's the latter. Now that the pope will be delivering a Twitter sermon, we should all hope and pray that these sites end sooner than later. What is the world coming to where faith is fueled by Tweets? Twitter and Facebook together comprise the biggest piles of garbage on the internet. The 'misinformation pollution' that results from these sites is HORRENDOUS! Sadly, people eat the stuff up, often basing their whole lives around what they hear and read on Facebook! How ludicrous!

What did you imagine the future to be like when you were a wee little child?

 

"I spent another whole day on Facebook/Twitter."
When I was a child, reading issues of Nintendo Power and dabbling in new technologies, I imagined the future world to be something incredible!  Flying cars, musical instruments that played themselves, less pollution and other such ideas filled my young naive head.  I never thought about (a)social networking.  In fact, I never once dreamed that society would be glued to their cell phones twenty four hours a day.  I never imagined that people would communicate through sites like Twitter and spy on their high school class via Facebook.  Looking back at what I imagined the world to be and how it turned out disgusts me.  Sometimes I believe I was born in the wrong time.  I can't help but hold hope for a future without these disgusting sites, but the reality is that such a future may be far off. 

There is something innate about human nature where one craves to compare themselves with other people.  The internet makes that all too easy.  For those who say Facebook and Twitter are about "staying in touch," they are lying to themselves.  Facebook is a spy tool.  A way to compare yourself to your friends and enemies.  It's a way to tell yourself that you are better than some, worse than others.  Facetwit allows you to place yourself on a hierarchy where you and your 'friends' are all listed.  Did you do something funner than your brother-in-law this weekend?  Did your baby happen to make the cutest face?  Did your dinner get the most likes?  Did your quasi-offensive joke get noticed?  Was that $7 you paid to make it get more noticed well spent? 

Facebook and Politics

 

I can't even imagine the hell that was Facebook this political season.  I was, gladly, not a part of Facebook during the height of the Romney versus Obama arguments that basically shut down the internet.  I heard stories of some people in my family talking about it being "the end of the world" if one was elected.  They actually believed this and made it known on Facebook!  I can't even imagine shuffling through all that.  Yet, many people really enjoy going off about politics on Facebook.  It's a futile pastime.  You won't change anyone's mind, and you are going to look like an idiot trying to.

Politics, actually, was part of the reason I left Facebook.  I noticed many of my "friends" becoming obsessed about conspiracy theories, which became the hallmark of Facebook about a year ago.  One issue was the Occupy Wall Street protests, which ignited Facebook.  I could not help but wonder why those who were against corporate greed were on Facebook.  I could not help but wonder why those who were so adamant about freedom were on a website that has incredibly shady policies in regards to information sharing. 

What do you want your future to look like?

 

Do you want a future where you are still glued to Facebook?  What did you do yesterday, anyway? 
"Just one more tweet..."
Did you blow a few hours on Twitter?  Did you spy on your ex on Facebook?  Did you honestly believe that Facetwit was making you a better person?  If so, I am sincerely sorry.  There is no reason for you to literally blow through a day, hour, or even a minute on those sites.  The garbage of the internet.  The dregs of society. 

By the way, it won't be the pope himself that is tweeting.  You see, people with lives have no real place on these sites.  Twitter and Facebook don't make one greater, they instead make one stagnate.  If you want to get anywhere in life, you may want to step back from Facetwit and instead think of the goals and dreams you have for your own life and go towards them.  If anything, Facebook/Twitter is a procrastination machine.  It's time to turn 'em off.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The New Myspace


If you are getting sick of Facebook, and I imagine many people are becoming at least somewhat bored of it, then maybe the "new" Myspace will be what you are looking for.  It seems that (a)social networking sites are becoming somewhat a flavor of the month thing as of late.  Will Facebook be able to hold on when the site that was once king re-brands itself?  Or will people do what they did with Google Plus and end up pretty much ignoring it?  After all, Google Plus hardly was much of a success in the way it was expected to be, even though Google Plus seems in a variety of ways to be superior to Facebook.  According to Techradar.com:
The new Myspace isn't trying to compete with Facebook or Twitter; it's got its sights more firmly trained on Spotify and Rdio – and, to a lesser extent, Flickr. And, sort of, portfolio sites. Plus, kind of, dating sites.
Basically, there's a lot going on and it's difficult to know exactly where to start.

The new site leans heavily on images, music and video; users stamp their mark on a profile with a giant cover photo – minimum resolution is 1024x768 - add a profile song, 'connect' to artists, albums and people and nose through contacts' playlists and music mixes.

An ever-present player at the bottom of the screen shows your now playing and the play queue for songs you're streaming from Myspace's impressively-well-stocked music library.

These 'connections' then populate the users' side-scrolling news feed and profiles.
Source:  http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/new-myspace-unveiled-ahead-of-2013-launch-1113083
I must say, that sounds just downright exciting!  I imagine that some people are going to be intrigued when this site comes rolling out in 2013.  Perhaps with the excitement the whole internet will crash for a day or two.  To be honest, the site looks better than Facebook, but then again, so does a rawhide bone that a dog has been chewing at for a month.  With that being said, however, there is one thing that Facebook has that the new Myspace probably won't: the grandma factor.

Around the time that Myspace began its downward spiral, many people who had never signed up for the site, often those who were thought of as less computer savvy, started to show up on Facebook.  Many members of my family who I never would have imagined using Myspace started to create accounts on the site that shall be lovingly called Zuckerburg's Folly.  These people are the kind of people who feel that Facebook is somewhat good for staying in touch (their younger loved ones don't do so well keeping in contact with them off the internet).  I would be very surprised if many of these people made their way to the new Myspace.

I kind of want the new Myspace to succeed.

It may sound strange, but if the new Myspace takes away some of Facebook's market share, we may see the decline of the (a)social giant.  Further, it may be the start of (a)social networks being a thing of the past.  Having one behemoth that controls the entire (a)social network world is not a good thing.  I would rather see a ton of little guys fight for the top spot, in a dog-eat-dog sort of way then see Facebook's name everywhere.  I say, let the new Myspace feed of Facebook for a while. 

Another reason why a new Myspace site may do well is due to the fact that Facebook has irked some people in the last couple of years.  Many people are not fans of Facebook's mindless crusade against privacy and the fact that Facebook is hellbent on making the world a more "transparent" place.  Others do not like the constant barrage of security flaws, including the recent one: A security hole that allowed anyone to see the email addresses corresponding to certain Facebook accounts. "Worse yet, some appear to be accessible without even entering a password. However, a Facebook engineer now says that the company has disabled the feature that created the hole." (Source).  Many people don't like the idea that Facebook can and may be selling people's account information.  Others are not happy that Facebook is starting to charge for new features, such as making certain status updates more visible.  Of course, one can not forget that there are some investors that are irked to the bone that they spent a fortune gambling on what was quite possibly the worst IPO of all time ($45 high, $17.55 low).

The new Myspace may appeal to those who yearn for a return back to the "golden age" of (a)social networking, when the idea was new, and people were signing up left and right for their very own Myspace accounts.  Myspace is somewhat retro now and some will no doubt want to rekindle the magic that has been long lost in the world of (a)social networking.  With that being said, there is no magic to rekindle.  The only magic that existed was when Myspace went down and Tom frantically tried to fix it, allowing one to actually go talk to other people in personum.  Now, for me, that was indeed the golden age of (a)social networking.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Twitter: A Failure


I have a dark secret.  For a while I was using Twitter to get the word out about this blog.  Not only do I still fail to see the point of Twitter, but I found myself too upset at the character restriction (140 characters), and in the end, I only saw it as noise.  In the end, I found myself feeling angry at even using the site, and decided that "enough was enough."  "How can this be addicting?" I wondered.  "This is horrible," I concluded

Upon signing up for Twitter, I immediately realized that most of the information posted was irrelevant.  People were overly obsessive about (a)social networking and politics and "news."  Some people perhaps made their way to Twitter in the first place due to media persuasion.  It's no secret that Twitter is everywhere in the media.  Newspapers now routinely publish articles about the tweets of so-called celebrities (and for some reason, people seem to care).  During Hurricane Sandy I was constantly reminded of Twitter and what certain people were saying about the storm, as if that stuff really matters. 

When the media pushes something like Twitter as hard as it does, I can't help but push back.  There is no reason for a person to be glued to that site.  Seriously, I just can't get myself to see the point of it.  Maybe that's because I don't use a cell phone (I have one, but don't use the internet on it).  Maybe that's because I don't see the point in sitting in front of the computer and flushing away hours with nothing to show for it.  How one spends time is related to their quality of life.  If you are throwing away your time on sites like Twitter and Facebook, chances are you are going to end up lacking in another department.  In short, your life is going to go down the toilet.

Therefore, I realized that I truly have no place on Twitter.  I will not be using that "service" to advertise this site.  Therefore, it will become a grass roots website where the information gets out via word of mouth.  If you like what you read here, feel free to share it with your family and friends.  Please help get the word out.  There is a great life waiting outside of these websites, but many people are not going to go after it.  Many will be content living their lives on sites like Twitter and Facebook, either waiting for someone to say something so they can reply, or waiting for another to comment on their last status update.  To me that sounds like a horrible way to live.  In fact, I know it is: I have lived it.  I've been there and did not like how I felt after blowing hours on Facebook and more recently Twitter.  To this day, I see people spending an entire class period on Facebook instead of listening to a professor's lecture.  What is the point? 

In sum, a few of the reasons I could not get myself to continue to use Twitter were:
  • I found it to be a pointless waste of time.  
  • Too much "noise" on the site.  In other words, a lot of talking, little to no "listening."
  • The 140 character limit makes it very hard to get anything meaningful across.
  • In sum, the site came across as a waste of time when I looked back on time spent.
  • Most information was "irrelevant."  I could care less about what celebrities say on Twitter.
  • If the cost of advertising a site through Twitter is babysitting a profile for hours, the cost is not worth it.
  • No proof that people actually read other people's "tweets."
  • Twitter seem as the kind of place for those already addicted to (a)social networking.  People locked and loaded with comments about how Twitter is amazing.  Yes, we get it.  You're on Twitter and you love yourself for it.
  • Twitter is a dumbed down Facebook and Facebook already is "dumbed down" enough.
  • Many don't "think before they speak," or "think before they Tweet," which leads to disaster.
  • Reading posts with text-speak such as "ur" "2" "u" "thx" etc. gets annoying really fast. 
  • I find myself not wanting to spend all of my time on the computer or on a cell phone.
  • I felt dirty for using something that I don't believe in.
Perhaps you are considering leaving (a)social networking behind?  It is time.  Purge the urge to use (a)social media

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How much would you pay to be seen by your friends and family?


 I have heard that now Facebook is charging a hefty price of $7 to allow you to promote your posts to your family and friends.  In other words, to get your posts at the top of the heap you can now fork over $7 to Facebook.  Isn't that swell?

The [a]social network started testing a new feature in the U.S. today that lets people buy promoted posts. Facebook will push your selected post to the top of news feeds, increasing the likelihood of your friends and subscribers seeing it.

A Facebook representative said the company is not confirming how much promoting a post will cost, because the feature is still in test mode, but when we took the feature for a spin, it showed a $7 price tag.
Source: cnet.com
 "A fool and his money are soon parted"

What kind of a world do we live in when one has to pay money in order to be seen amongst their friends and family?  While there is obviously a business side to this ridiculous new feature, the reality is that it only makes me happier to have left Facebook behind.

Imagine for a moment that you want to let the world know that you are cooking something special at home tonight.  Perhaps you already have the table set, but last time you shared pictures of the big meal nobody commented (the horror!).  This time you worked so hard on that Kraft macaroni and cheese that you can't bear it to go unnoticed (you even put a drop of olive oil into the water, you chef you!).  You figure that you usually spend about $15.00 to eat out, but the box of macaroni was only $0.77.  Why not splurge a little?  After all, getting it to the top of the heap is a lot cheaper than going out to eat (plus, if you eat at home you'll have more time for late night (a)social networking). 

If you are paying to get your status update to the top, you'd better be smart about it.

Face it, if you are going to be handing money over to the folks at Facebook, you'd better get your money's worth.  Why not throw in something else for good measure?  In other words, don't just share with the world that you cooked your own dinner with a link to the picture.  Throw in something really juicy.  For example, later on you may feel compelled to pay another $7 to tell the world you just broke up with your boyfriend/girlfriend.  Why not throw that in the same status update?  Two messages for $7 is a lot better than blowing $14 for two.

Example:  I just made the most amazing Mac-n-Cheese!  [picture] It lOoKs TaNtALiZiNg, hUh?!  And I dumped Chuck!  That's rite: I'm hella single!

***

I imagine that some people are going to be having fun with this new feature.  Others will roll their eyes and state how much they hate Facebook for it, but many of these same people will continue to use Facebook!  Sadly, many believe that Facebook is a requirement of being alive. 

Facebook is, contrary to popular belief, NOT a necessity!

Maybe it's time to step away from the computer and/or phone.  Maybe today is the day to get your life back to basics, so to speak.  Why subsist in a world where people are paying money to be seen and heard?  Why feel the need to pay when you want your family and friends to see what you have to say?  (A)social networks are going to continue to nickel and dime you until you are flat out broke.  Isn't the cost of being on these sites, in terms of lost productivity, enough?  Isn't the loss of time that you could spend with family, friends, improving yourself, improving your life, creating, and thriving, a high enough cost?  Perhaps you doubted the message before, but now you may be starting to see that Facebook is on a downward decline.  There is a problem when a site has to resort to charging people a fee to make what one says important.  Everything you say should be important to your family members without the need to pay for it.  Everything you say should mean something to your friends.  Is Facebook now so full of spam posts that there is a need to pay to be seen?

In today's dumbed down world of cell phone addiction and quick, awkward doses of human interaction, many people have forgot just how to interact with other human beings.  Sadly, as a result, one finds them-self paying to be seen.  There is no need for you to pay money so you can be seen on a virtual world of make believe.  Why not pick up the phone and call someone instead if you have something that you find worth paying for?  Why literally throw money in the trash instead of either saving it for your future, putting it to work for you, or donating it to a good cause?  Heck, put it toward a Wii U.  There comes a time to spend money, and there comes a time to say "enough is enough."  This is one of the latter times.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Do the approaching holidays make you miss (a)social networking?



So, you recently left Facebook, but the urge to go back is too great.  Perhaps you really feel that you are missing out on something.  Maybe with the holidays approaching you feel left out?  Maybe you are wondering what all your old friends are doing for Christmas?  Is Auntie K still making that pot pie she always makes around Thanksgiving?  What did Little John dress up as for Halloween?  Did Uncle Mike finally bite the dust?  These are the kinds of questions that you may be wanting to find an answer for.  And you feel if you just reactivate that Facebook account everything will be wonderful.  Maybe you already have.  Maybe you reactivated it for a few minutes to sneak a peek at everyone before deactivating it all over again.  Perhaps you feel dirty for this.  There's many different possibilities, but no matter what, you may start to think that if there is a time to go back to Facebook, now is the time.

I am offering a contrary view.  Of all times to go back to Facebook and other (a)social media sites, this is the worst time of year.  Why?  Because the holidays are often seen as prime time to compete with one another.  Whose tree is the biggest and brightest?  Whose kids are getting the best gifts?  Whose going where for Christmas?  What grades did so-in-so get last semester?  If any time of the year is a brag fest, it's the holidays.  And where do people do most of their bragging?  Let me give you some time to think about it.  Answer: Facebook.

It seems that more people are spread out now a days than ever before.  A weak economy has made it so people have to often relocate in order to find a job.  Further, many people are going off to college.  Others are scattered across the country and the world due to war.  We may think that Facebook is the de facto way to get in contact with our friends and families who we miss so bad.  We crave their presence more than ever as the holiday season approaches.

Don't give in!  Other than the incessant bragging that Facebook is known for, there are other reasons to not go back.  Spending hours on the internet, on sites like Facebook is not going to do anything for your bodily figure.  I noticed once I gave up Facebook, my time on the internet as a whole went down.  Once I gave it up I found that I was more focused on losing weight, improving my body image, and being active.  The truth is, if you are sitting on Facebook all day, you are probably not engaged in healthy activities.  Newsflash: being online for hours on end is not healthy.  Not only does the body suffer, but the mind does as well.  Sites like Facebook are mental sludge.  You think that by sharing your life with everyone you are getting ahead in the world.  But once you turn off the computer and make your way to bed you realize that you were just living a lie.  And if there is a time to be truthful to yourself, it's around the holidays. 

Many people make New Years resolutions.  They figure that they can be naughty during the holiday season.  There is nothing naughtier than wasting your life.  And it is your life that you will be wasting if you drown yourself in the vile sludge that is Facebook.  Why not get a head start on New Years?  Why not be primed to start the year far ahead of your "Facebook competition?"  While they are fighting over the presidential election and telling the world how much they love/hate Obama/Romney, why not put your efforts into improving your own life.  Why spend the holiday season engaged in the petty squabbles that are imminent when using Facebook and instead free yourself from the shackles of (a)social networking?  Let me make it clear to you right now, you are not missing anything by not being on Facebook.  You are a better person for not being involved in that.  Why destroy yourself.  Why wake up feeling that you have to sign on to Facebook?  Do you really need to know what others are doing, or do you want to improve your own life? 

I am not saying ignore your family and friends.  By all means, being connected around the holidays is not a bad thing.  The truth is, family members would probably appreciate a phone call or a letter or e-mail far more than a comment on their Facebook accounts.  Further, not everyone has Facebook.  Many people feel left out around the holidays because they opted to improve their life and get rid of their accounts.  They should not be punished for making the wise choice of eschewing an addictive website.  Visiting around the holidays is real meaningful human interaction that can not be duplicated on the internet.  A Christmas card is worth far more than poking someone on Facebook.  If you want to really involve your family in your life and show them you love them, there are plenty of "good old fashioned" ways in which you can do just that. 

This Christmas, give yourself the ULTIMATE Christmas present.  Deactivate your Facebook account and NEVER look back.  When your family and friends ask where you went (if they even notice you left -- and they may not), you can point them to this website and tell them that you are improving your life and your future is looking bright - because it's a future free from Facebook. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

The World's Most Valuable Brand?


According to a recent survey, Facebook has been named “the world's most valuable brand.” I am sure that this is a reason for a round of applause. I am sure that the big boys down at Facebook, Inc. are pretty proud of themselves, even if almost 10% of the profiles on Facebook are fake or held by a holder of another profile. And, even though the stock has plummeted since being listed, it probably helps to elevate the ego of those who have designed a product that has literally drained the productivity out of millions of individuals. In this dubious survey, Facebook beat out other companies; companies that create real tangible products. It's quite amazing to think that a passing fancy is said to be the world's most popular brand. And, yes, Facebook is a
passing fancy. 

Like MySpace before it, Facebook can not hope to remain relevant for as long as say, Coca-Cola or Apple. Unlike many other successful companies, Facebook has just one product, the (a)social network that acts as a temporal vampire, draining out one's time and productivity.  Draining one's living hours on the Earth. Coca-Cola has many products, products that are craved universally by people all over the world. Apple has multiple products that are in tangible form. While one could argue that Apple products are perhaps a “fad,” the reality is that computer equipment and programs will probably be relevant for quite some time. They provide utility to the world. Facebook arguably provides only negative utility in the sense that it drains time away from people that tend to obsess over it. 

Further, Facebook's success hinges on its popularity. Once the site becomes unpopular, the stock will plummet further. And there is no doubt that Facebook's popularity has reached a pinnacle, at least in the United States and Europe. While Facebook can enter new markets and ride on its hype for a while, the reality is that people eventually get bored of creating and babysitting an internet profile. People get sick of fighting with others on the internet and feeling anxious when they see something that they don't agree with being posted. People do not like the negative feelings that are brought up when they see others bragging about “perfect” lives that they may or may not have.

Further, internet addiction is being seen as a legitimate form of addiction. At one time addiction research stated that even sex could not be addictive. However, as time passed, society has come to realize that many products can provide their users with obsessive and addictive behaviors. Many people try to shy away from things that are addictive. To label something as addictive tarnishes its image. The reality is that Facebook is a
very addictive website that has caused incredible damage to many individuals.

There are stories everywhere of people leaving Facebook. If you are still on the site, ask yourself how many of your friends have left over the past year. I am always surprised to see how many people actually are starting to come forward and claim that they no longer use Facebook. It is proof to me that the site is on its decline. That being said, (a)social media is still a
huge industry, and people will move to a new site once it pops up. It's only a matter of time before something bigger and “better” than Facebook hits the scene, and I would not want to be holding Facebook stock when that happens.

The world's most valuable brand? I don't think so, and even if Facebook (or any (a)social networking site) is the world's most valuable brand, it won't be for long. The creators of the survey forgot that part of value is expected future value. Facebook's expected future value is unknown. The site could be vaguely spoken of in five to ten years. Do you think people will still be talking about Facebook in twenty years? I do think, however, that General Motors, Pepsi, and McDonalds will still be around in that time, likely to be just as strong as they are today. With that in mind, is Facebook really the world's most valuable brand?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

(A)social networking as a tool for validating your life.



We all need validation sometimes.  Some of us more than others.  Today, more than ever, we feel that, paradoxically, we need to be both the same and different as the rest of society.  We are told to conform but be unique.  We are taught that we need to fit in to be successful, but also that the successful are those who went out and did something different.  We are told that we need to dress a certain way, following the trends of fashion as they change in a random and arbitrary manner.  We are bred to think that the ultimate life is a life where we live in a suburb in a large house with two to three kids, a car for each spouse, and a career.  We are gauged by how much money we earn.  We are told that it is bad to earn too much, but you will not be happy unless you break another arbitrary amount.  We often do not know exactly what these amounts are or what society wants from us, but we have vague impressions. 

As a result of this confusion that we live with, we often feel perplexed and unsure of ourselves.  As we get older and find that our lives are not in conformity with this ideal, or with how we imagined ourselves as turning out, we start to feel anxiety and perhaps even anger.  We look at other people in society, and those who we were close to at one time.  Did our classmates make it?  Did our cousins and friends make it?  Am I ahead of them?  And one way in which we gauge our competition is through (a)social networking.

It is easy to feel that your life does not hold up against your peers when you log onto sites such as Facebook.  You are immediately thrust into a fantasy world where pictures of imaginary lives bombard you.  You are thrown into a world where people are competing with each other constantly, trying to maintain one's own self image and self-esteem.  It's a contest in self-validation that every poor soul who is a prisoner on Facebook is deeply involved in.

It's hard to see it when you are busy living it.  But when you step away from the site and consider it with an open mind, you will start to understand that Facebook was indeed a place that confirmed many of our self-created fears about our lives and what we were "supposed" to obtain.

Facebook is a smorgasbord of competition without purpose.  We are taught that there are always people in society who will "make it" and others who will not "make it."  But we are not told exactly what "making it" is.  Therefore, as a result, we go with our own vague impressions of what "making it" is.  We post pictures of us "making it," whatever that means.  These are pictures of the events we take in, our possessions (homes, cars, spouses, children, pets), our likes, our wants, our lifestyles, and anything that we do that is above the norm.

Being proud of one's accomplishments is not a bad thing.  Bragging about them incessantly over the internet is.  Facebook bragging quickly becomes something of an obsession.  I have known people who have bought new pets, later to be neglected, for reason to show off on (a)social networking sites.  People will show off anything they can when the obsession reaches critical levels.  Pictures of clothing, food, children's clothing, etc. are things that I have seen posted.  Is such behavior normal?  I don't particularly like to use the term normal, as humanity is varied in many ways, and it is the irregularities that make people wonderful (Facebook helps destroy these irregularities).  The better question is, "would the individual, if I went to their house, show me a full spread of their new clothing, or the food that they cooked last night?"  Before Facebook I never received an e-mail from a person showing me the contents of their plate.  I was never sent a picture of a meal from a restaurant by any of my friends.  Yet now, on Facebook, such behavior is commonplace.  I had a multitude of friends who would take a picture of their food and show it off.  I was one of those people.

Eventually, I stepped back and realized that there was something seriously wrong with this activity.  I was spending a lot of time, my life, involved in this activity.  I was spending my life merely validating myself as a human.  I should not have to validate myself over the computer.  I should not, as a human, have to validate myself to anyone.  I am my own person.  What I want out of life is personal to me.  I should not feel compelled to search for some vague idea that society seems to instill in me.  Yet, when I was on Facebook I noticed that I was not the only person searching for this life.  Virtually everyone I knew had these wants and desires that they searched for, and pretended to have achieved, but were, in reality, not moving toward them.  Their lives, in the end, were at a standstill, as if they were trapped in one time period.  And that time period was the moment they let Facebook control their lives. 

I recently downloaded a new alarm clock program for the iPad.  It got favorable reviews, and I wake up early for school.  I was horrified to find out that the alarm clock had an option to wake you up and have you logged in to both Facebook and Twitter so that you could start your day with your Facebook and Twitter feeds.  There is a problem when a person becomes so obsessed with (a)social networking that they have to have these sites be the first thing that they see every day.  Is it that important to feel liked and accepted to others?   

Are you really willing to trade your life for (a)social networking? 

It is truly sad to see people wasting what could be called "the best years of their lives" on these sites.  How many people die every year driving while trying to check their status updates on these sites?  How many people would forgo time with their families to use (a)social networking sites?  I am always amazed to see people, every day, in class using Facebook instead of listening to the lectures that they are paying (or will be paying) thousands of dollars to attend.  What is the price of being obsessed to these sites?  What are we, as a society, paying, in sum, for people to completely live their lives addicted to (a)social networking?  Many laugh at such a message, saying that such sites are harmless, but when they become such an obsession with not just people in this country, but around the world, there is an epidemic.  When people have to see Facebook first thing when they awaken, when they drive, when they are in class, and lastly, right before they go to bed, there is a problem.  When a person virtually lives their life, wasting years, on (a)social networking, you have to kind of wonder, what is the point of life.  You have to ask, "what good comes out of these sites?"  In the end, I have never been able to find much that these sites give back to the world.

What has Facebook given you?  What have you achieved since signing up from Facebook?  Have you left, later to find out that your life has progressed since leaving Facebook behind?  Has Facebook interfered with your life goals?  Has it made you feel happier with your life?  Would you go back to a world without (a)social networking?   

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Has LinkedIn got you that job yet?



With today's high unemployment, one may think that doing everything that they can do to secure a job is important.  Some think that networking is the key, and will go around talking to everyone they can in order to get a job.  While this may not be a bad strategy, and one that is considered a viable job strategy, others are taking that idea of networking online using a site that has been peddled hard by the media.  And that site, the bane of the employment hunt, is called LinkedIn.

Now, I will admit, I had a LinkedIn account, and I got a lot of spam from the site saying that someone added me or wanted to put me in their list of contacts.  Sometimes it was from a person who I knew, but usually it's someone who I didn't know, often from another country.  The reality is, our connection would have never helped either of us find employment.  In essence, we were both kidding ourselves by linking up.  For example, a fisherman in Zimbabwe is probably not going to help me hook up with a job here in the United States, and I am not going to help him line up employment in Africa.  While stranger things have happened, I am not about to spend my days playing the "LinkedIn lottery."  Truth be told, LinkedIn is the kingpin of waste. 

If you think LinkedIn will land you a job, you might want to go down to the local clinic and get a lobotomy. 

(A)social networking is good for making a fool out of yourself online.  It's good for alienating you from the real world.  But it's not good for obtaining real life objectives.  That's because time spent on (a)social media is inversely related to accomplishing things out in the real world.  I say the real world, because the online world is largely imaginary. 

As an employer I would have a very hard time taking people's profiles on LinkedIn seriously.  The internet is known as the land of lies for a reason.  It's easy to fudge the truth.  People do it all the time on a regular resume, but on the internet it's even easier.  Plus, you're not just showing a piece of paper to employers, you're showing off your wonderful credentials to your friends, family, acquaintances, and those who you are competing against.  Who sends a copy of their resume to a person they don't like?  Only on LinkedIn can you add that guy from college who annoyed you and show him you got a big management position or an elite engagement happening overseas.

Other than making people jealous, LinkedIn has very little utility.  Sure, you may be able to find job hunting tips on their "amazing" forums.  So what?  You're just advertising yourself to LinkedIn "predators" who are searching for fresh blood to add to their bloated profiles.  And, like Facebook, the more people you are connected to on LinkedIn, the less of a professional life you probably have.

Say what?

You heard me.  It's hard to grasp at first.  People tend to want to think that if you have a lot of internet friends you must have a life.  But the internet is not real life.  It's just a bunch of pixels.  Sure, those people are real.  Well, sort of.  People are generally not that real on the internet.  People are far different behind closed doors and behind the light of a computer screen than they are in person.  People will write and say things online that they would never say in person.  There are little consequences to be had for lying, being a jerk, acting like a fool, or padding your LinkedIn resume with outright bulldandy. 

Do you want to make it all better right now? 

I have an amazing way for you to fix the problem with LinkedIn.  Unlink yourself from the disastrous site right now.  Delete your profile and never look back!  There's no reason for you to be there.  You're not going to find a job on the site!  Heck, you're not going to find anything on LinkedIn or any other (a)social media site except for a bunch of time wasted, heartache, and mental anguish.  You'll just upset yourself looking at the competition: competition that is built on lies. 
Are some people ready to end it all for (a)social networking?

People have a hard time deleting things from the internet.  Many have invested countless hours, sometimes hundreds of hours, in building these profiles.  Some people have invested more time in building a Facebook or LinkedIn profile than others spend building their own homes!  That just shows the extent of the problem.  But that is only the beginning.  Morning news shows have toted these sites, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, so hard that many people have been duped into believing that they are positive additions to their lives.  Some people honestly believe that they are better off by virtue of having profiles on these sites in their arsenal.  Hell, some individuals claim that sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are NECESSITIES. 

Recently I read a Weekly World News article about Facebook being shut down (a joke, obviously).  The comments were lined with people stating that they could not live without Facebook. 

Comments included:

"If this is real please kill me now."

"I can't believe it! All my data on FB! Now my aunt will never see pictures of her beloved baby again.... :'("

"no my birthday is on the 22 i will kill who ever is making this happen"

"if yall shutdown fb how can people contact to their relatives"

"PLEASEE I BEG YOU, I WILL KILL MY SELF IF YOU SHUT IT DWN:( THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE I HAVE FRIENDS IM A LONER AND HAVE NO CAR TO GO UNITE WIT FRIENDS SO I POST EVERYTHING FROM MY HOME PLEASEEE DONT SHUT IT DOWM I WILL GO OUT AND HARM OTHERS"


This was just a taste of what I found in about 2000 pages of comments.  Some people are literally (claiming) that they are ready to lay their lives down for (a)social networking.  Some claim to be ready to die for Facebook (which is highly unbelievable, but crazy nonetheless). 

Perhaps you have followed this blog for a while now.  Maybe you are new to it.  Either way, as you read through the posts you are probably thinking that there is something wrong with the way people obsess over (a)social networking.  Maybe you think that you have invested a little too much time in trying to babysit your profiles.  Maybe you don't agree with how everyone thinks that life should revolve around sites like Facebook and Twitter.  Maybe you are sick of seeing these sites listed everywhere you go.  Maybe you don't have a profile on them and feel like you are left out of something that everyone thinks is overly important.  Maybe you wonder if your LinkedIn profile will get you that job?  No matter what you are thinking, I hope that you are starting to understand that (a)social media -- media that brings people AWAY from real life interactions and AWAY from real life relationships -- is not as good as everyone claims it to be.  Maybe you are actually seeing (a)social media destroy the lives of your friends and family.

Do you notice that your once creative friends now spend time on Facebook instead of creating?  Do you notice that your friends now try to compete with others on the internet and proclaim the mundane?  Do you watch in horror as your family and close friends stop growing as individuals and just seem to rot behind the screen of a computer?  Maybe you wonder if you are behind that glow rotting as well.  Turn it off and do something with your life right now!  Don't waste your time creating and babysitting a LinkedIn profile with the false hope that (a)social networking will find you a job.  (A)social media doesn't give you anything, it only takes things away.  If you want that allusive job, you must take the job search to the streets.  Sometimes the old fashioned ways of doing things are better than the newfangled ways that people flock to like angry birds.  Pounding the pavement will probably always be better than making a LinkedIn profile.  It may not be as much fun, but you're only fooling yourself if you think that LinkedIn is going to somehow "link you in" to a killer career. 

Wake up from the dreamland and get yourself off that chair and onto the streets.  If you are unemployed and you need to find a job, the harsh reality is that you have no time for (a)social media.  That's the cold hard truth.  LinkedIn may be a way for those who own some stock in the company to make some money (in the short term at least).  Further, you can bet that the same media sites that were out there advertising LinkedIn like a flower advertises pollen to a bee, were big investors in the site.  News and media programs don't advertise this stuff out of the goodness of their own heart.  They advertise it because they have a financial interest in the site.  So, the next time you see a program advertising an (a)social media site that is probably going to do you no good (or worse), you might want to ask what they are getting out of it. 

I'm not saying that it's bad that a website brings in revenue.  But you have to take into consideration the cost to you.  Is the site bringing in revenue because it offers a genuine service, or is it bringing in revenue because people are becoming addicted to it?  The reason (a)social media makes billions of dollars is because it is addicting.  Just like cigarettes, gambling and pornography.  Those things take more than they give back.  (A)social media is no different, and LinkedIn is there with the rest of them.

There is no job out there that is "just waiting for you."  You have to actively go out and find it.  Now, print out a few copies of that resume, go outside, and look for work.  Chances are the companies will send you back to the computer to do an online application with a personality test (a nice little invasion of psychological privacy that has no real bearing on how a person actually is as an employee).  But, at least you will get the chance to apply for the job.  You won't get that by virtue of having a profile on LinkedIn.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Let it burn...


Sometimes I think to myself, wondering, what it would be like if there was a switch that could be flipped that would end the internet.  A switch that could be flipped that would shut off sites like Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of it.  A switch that would obliterate cell phone internet connectivity.  Wouldn't it be nice to wake up and go to log onto the internet and see a blank screen saying that it was all over?

Of course, there are some good things about the internet.  E-mail is nice.  Also, selling and buying on the internet is sometimes wonderful.  I used to live in a very rural area and could not easily get some items that I searched for, many of which were Japanese made or obscure.  Now, living in a large city it's a lot easier to find things, however it's still nice to compare prices on the internet and save money. 

However, I wonder if the good outweighs the bad, or if it's the other way around.  We live in a world where people are oblivious to "the real world."  We live in a world where people look down at their cell phones as they walk, as if they are missing an all-important Tweet.  We live in a world where self esteem rises and falls like the stock market.  Where one judges their popularity on the number of likes their posts on Facebook get.  A world where people's mood is decided by their morning Twitter feed.  A world where people think that they are doing something for the world if they share that they are against animal cruelty or breast cancer aware (and otherwise do nothing about it). 

I can't help but feel that it would be great if I woke up and saw the masses perplexed that their internet was gone.  I would feel perplexed for a moment, but then the gladness would set in.  I would jump for joy at the thought of Facebook being gone.  At people having to once again having to form real friendships.  At the thought of people not thinking they can say horrible things to others and hide behind their computer monitors.  Wouldn't it be great?  A world where all the garbage that the internet has created would be gone?  Garbage that started with the first chat rooms and internet forums that caused "trolls" to rise up.  And then continued with the advent Myspace, Friendster, Facebook and Twitter, the (a)social media sites that consumed people's lives.  Let it burn! 

Imagine opening a newspaper and not having to read about Facebook or (a)social media?  Imagine not having to worry about a loved one being killed or killing someone due to checking these sites while driving?  Checking a website in itself is not evil, but being consumed with it to the point of having to compulsively check it, and putting your life and others in danger is.  And what is the point of checking these sites constantly?  Why can't they wait?  Why do people feel the need to compulsively check (a)social networking websites?  Is their self-esteem truly tied that much into it?

Yes.  The idea of the internet going down and the world reverting to a simpler time really appeals to me.  I don't hate technology.  But, I loathe the world of (a)social networking.  I loathe how people think that (a)social networking is all-important.  I don't understand how people can be so consumed by it.  I know that I am not alone in this way of thinking.  Yet, (a)social networking is out there, so loud, consuming the entire world.  Oh, how I would love to watch it all burn.  How I would like to see the websites all fail.  One by one.  A world without (a)social networking.  If there is a day where the Twitter feeds all fail, where Facebook flickers to nothing, and where nothing new rises in their places, oh if there is such a great and wonderful day, I hope that I am alive for it.  I will run into the streets and sing.  I would love to live in a world where people can celebrate personal relationships -- where people can be thoughtful without having to share it with the rest of the world.  Where one can feel good about themselves without having the things they did receive a like. 

Will the world ever be like that?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Talking about life vs. living life.


Is it better to talk about your life and share the little tidbits of that life with others, or is it better to cultivate your life, to develop yourself as a person and actually live your life?  That is the dilemma we face every day when deciding whether we should be glued to (a)social networking, discussing our lives and interests with others, or if we should be moving towards our goals, engaged in actually better ourselves and the world around us.  The latter usually does not involve (a)social networking, because being (a)social networking has little to do with improving one's self and one's abilities.

Recently someone close to me had me look at their Pinterest account.  In case you don't know, Pinterest is a site where one can share their interests and pictures that they like to the rest of the world.  For some reason it is more popular with females than males (I could not really find a justifiable reason for this).   That being said, I enjoyed looking at my friend's Pinterest and for a few seconds I may have even thought about setting my own Pinterest up.

But then I realized I would not.  Why you ask?  Well, first, I realized that I don't need to share my interests to the rest of the world.  I have found that there are either two things I can do.  I can talk about something, such as my interest, or I can spend my time actually improving my abilities and cultivating that interest.  In the time it would have taken me to set up a Pinterest account, I could have spent time engaged in my own endeavors.

Recently I have thought somewhat about going back to Facebook.  I won't lie.  Sometimes the draw of returning to the site seems substantial.  But then I remind myself of just how much my life stagnated while I was a member of Facebook.  I recently got this comment on my blog:
All of the above comments are from people who don't have a life interesting enough to share.... pure lames, haters. My advise is to stop hating on facebook and get a life. obviously your probably Ugly, Anoying, and plain uninteresting so you blame Facebook because people who like there lives are proud enough to share with the people they love and who love them. So PLEASE get a life and stop hating on Facebook!!!
I think that it's interesting how this person has began by coming up with a bunch of conclusions about who I am.  He/she states that "obviously" I'm probably "Ugly", "Anoying" and plain uninteresting.  How does this person know that?  I did not leave Facebook due to my looks or how interesting I think I am.  Further, right before I left I was told by two separate people that the only reason they were on Facebook was because of me and another individual.  In fact, many people enjoyed me being on the site and were probably perplexed when I left.  The real reason I left was because I saw that my life had started to stagnate.  I saw that I wanted to be more than just a person who sat around on an (a)social networking all day long.  I realized that in order for me to get the most out of my life, as well as maximize my close relationships with others, an exodus from Facebook was in order.  I realized that Facebook provided me with no real benefits in life.  In fact, I was really getting nothing at all out of Facebook.  Further, I saw that many friends and family members of mine were literally wasting hours upon hours every single day on that site.  I don't mean just checking it, but obsessing over it.  I noticed that people around me, at school, and on the streets were obsessive about checking their accounts.  I realized that to leave the site and go back to living a life without Facebook would make me better able to achieve my goals.  It was partly an experiment, but one that I immediately saw results from. 

I never felt like I was inferior to anyone else on Facebook.  To be honest, of everyone on my friends list I was more educated, had traveled far more extensively, lived in some of the finest cities in the country, and have accomplished a great variety of my life goals.  This does not mean that I felt superior to others.  In fact, I don't like to think that people are inferior or superior to each other.  We all have faults and talents that make us unique.  Further, everyone rises and falls and pride never can last forever.  I found that I had no want to brag about the things I had done, nor did I like that the site makes people feel compelled to be narcissistic.  I would often not share my travels or attainments out of not wanting to make others who are unemployed or struggling to feel bad.  In short, I had absolutely no place on Facebook.

The author of the above comment obviously can not seem to understand that not all people leave Facebook because they feel "ugly" or "inferior" to others.  Further, I venture to guess that the author of the comment above has a serious inferiority complex.  Many people who "have lives" are not on Facebook and have no use for the site.  Many of the world's senior citizens, many of whom are very talented and educated individuals who have a lifetime of knowledge and wisdom have absolutely no need whatsoever for Facebook.  Do you think that many of today's biggest creators and inventors spend hours a day on Facebook?  If you think that being on Facebook means that you have a life, you are completely wrong.  The reality is: Being on Facebook means the opposite, that you probably don't have as much of a life as you want.  Either you can talk about your life or you can actually go out and live it.  Which do you think that many people on Facebook are busy doing?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It's not so easy to give up Facebook.

Facebook, the Opium den of the modern era.
I have talked to many people who have said that they want to stop using Facebook.  Many are sick of the drama, others don't like the amount of time that they spend on the site.  Some feel that the site itself does not "jive" with their own ideals.  That being the case, many of these people still use Facebook, no matter how much they claim that they want to give it up.

Recently I was asked about this blog by a couple of individuals.  One stated that she wanted to give up Facebook.  However, a few months have passed and the individual is just as addicted to Facebook as ever.  So, I ask, why it is so hard to leave?  What would a person be missing in their lives if they just took the time to step away from Facebook?

Many people who I talk to are scared of leaving Facebook because they feel that they will no longer be popular.  Often people will feel popular just by virtue of being on Facebook.  Suddenly one is connected to family, old childhood friends, and others when they get onto Facebook.  The thrill of finding a person you once forgot on Facebook is, for some, exhilarating.  Many spend their lives looking for that feeling again, logging on multiple times daily, hoping that they will uncover someone from the past.  Hoping that they will rekindle a long lost memory.  It's somewhat like a drug.

My friend is not alone in having wanted to give up Facebook.  Many people have ideals of having a Facebook free life.  Many are aware that they spend a lot of time on the site.  Others go to bed, often angry at themselves, for blowing an entire day on Facebook.  What is the answer for these people?  On one level, the person wants to leave Facebook behind and start a life free of (a)social networking.  On that level they crave the time where friendships meant meeting a person somewhere and doing something with that person in the flesh.  Now friendships seem to largely exist via the connection of the computer.  There is very little human interaction.  There is no sharing of laughter or of an event that unfolds before the friends. 

Further, most interactions on Facebook are somewhat phoney.  People can create their own fictional lives for others.  Granted, many individuals may do that in person, but one can not easily create an entire deception in person as easy as can be created via Facebook.  As many spend more and more time on Facebook, they find themselves comparing their lives with other people.  Many people do not want to be seen as normal.  Instead, they want to be viewed as extraordinary, with lives that are the objects of envy.  What is normal in the real world is not normal on Facebook.  It is hard to feel that your life is as great as others, when your life may include addiction, abuse, financial worry, stress, relationship problems, problems with children and family, health issues, and countless other issues.  Further, when a person sees everyone else living a life of materialism and success they feel that their life is not up to snuff (few people share all the negative issues on Facebook -- some don't share any).  As a result, some are compelled to log back into Facebook and compare their lives further with others, often feeling depression, stress, and anxiety over how their life is not as great as they had hoped.  However, the reality is that everyone's life is full of problems.  Real friends often speak of these problems.  However, on Facebook, it is easy to hide these problems or feel extra-embarrassed about them as others don't seem to be dealing with such issues. 

How does one who is depressed remove themselves from Facebook?  Many people who are depressed try to escape reality, and one way in which many people escape reality is through Facebook.  By leaving behind your escape, you are putting yourself out there.  I don't believe that escapes are bad.  There are healthy escapes in which one can get away from the stresses of life for a while.  However, one must face the stresses of life in order to grow and move on.  Being on Facebook and living a fantasy life is not a way in which one can easily grow.  In fact, many people seem to stop growing while they are on Facebook. 

If you are a heavy Facebook user, ask yourself if you have grown since being on Facebook, and if so, how much you have grown.  Consider taking some time away from Facebook.  You will be surprised how much you can grow when you are not constantly checking in on the lives of others and comparing yourself to other people.  When you start feeling happy with your own life, even if there are some issues (and everyone has issues in their lives), you will feel that you want to continue to grow.  Facebook stops growth.  Being constantly hooked onto (a)social networking does nothing to make a person really want to improve themselves.  Why improve yourself if you can say you improved yourself?  Facebook is all about talking, not about doing.  If you want to really carve out a great life for yourself you have to do things, not just talk. 

Try giving up Facebook for at least a month.  Then comment on your growth.  Have you noticed a change with your life?  It will be hard not to.  Perhaps there is a lot you want to achieve.  Ask yourself: Would you have achieved your dreams always connected to and living your life through Facebook?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

An Analysis of the site: AdultSocialSkills.com




An article on the website www.adultsocialskills.com opens with the following:
"If you're a loser with not much of a social life and few friends, chances are you don't like facebook very much."
Strong words for someone who claims to be offering "free advice for adults on how to make friends and become more social."  Sadly, the author of this website seems to think that Facebook is a "social" website.  He/she could not be further from the truth.

First, Facebook is in no way "social."  It is one of the most (a)social websites on the internet.  In fact, many people, some of which were social at one time, have become so addicted to Facebook that it has become their main window to the outside world. 

In this article, I am going to basically go through the points that adultsocialskills tries to make in it's article, located here and state the truth to each asserted fallacy one by one.  Keep in mind that the author of the site offers his ebook, "The Popular Club Instruction mManual" for sale with a monthly training program for $29.95
a month!  I can't imagine anyone actually spending money on this book and "program" after reading the things that are spewed forth on the website.
"When people look at your Facebook profile it's not so much the number of friends you have that is important. It's your pictures. Your pictures provide a true glimpse into the social life you have (or don't have). Loners may have large friends lists, but will have very few pictures of themselves with other people. This is a major tip off to the outside world that something is wrong with you socially."
There are many reasons why a Facebook user may not have many pictures.   First, not everyone on Facebook feels the need to use it twenty four hours a day and post hundreds of pictures.  Further, to do so would show that the user is more addicted to the site and less social than one is trying to appear.  To say that having a few pictures on Facebook results on one being more or less social has a very small correlation to the number of friends one has.  Further, just because a person on Facebook has a certain number of friends does not mean that they have even met the people who they are friends with.  Many people, who claim to be social, have thousands of friends, many who they have never spoken to more than once, and many who they have never seen in person. 
"If you've wasted, or are in the process of wasting, the best years of your life the last thing you want to do is be reminded of how great everyone else's life is. When you go on facebook, and see how everyone else is out having fun with other people, it can really hurt a lonely person's self esteem. It can make them feel the world is passing them by."
This is far from the truth.  Many people who spend their lives on Facebook have very little in terms of an "exciting life".  In fact, I would venture to state that many of those who are on Facebook are not living the best years of their life.  Why?  Because they are on Facebook.  Being on Facebook is passively living life.  There is nothing active about living one's life behind a computer screen, posting status updates about how "exciting" you think that your life is, or spending hundreds of hours playing games such as Farmville.  In essence, if you are on Facebook, the world is passing you by.

For example, when I spent time traveling to Thailand and Central America, I had no need or want to be on Facebook.  When I arrived back home I found that I was bored and wanted to be on Facebook.  I thought I was missing something by not "communicating" with others and sharing my life.  While I never posted on Facebook while on vacations (because I was actually enjoying my life), when I found myself bored with life, or thought my life was stale, I went back on Facebook.

In the end, I got rid of Facebook and told myself that I was going to actually live my life instead of look at the lives of others and post about the things I had done in the past.  Once I let go of Facebook and (a)social networking was when I saw my life really take shape.  The results of leaving Facebook still continue to manifest themselves in positive ways.  I continue to lose weight and improve my health (when I was on Facebook I spent too much time in front of a computer screen feeling insecure about myself), I am learning more than ever before (once again I have found my love for reading and am doing better than ever with college), I am spending more time outside of my house (traveling, involved with internships, seminars, and enjoying the city I live in), not comparing myself to others (I no longer feel the insecurity that I once felt when I was on Facebook.  Even though I had traveled all over the world and achieved far more than many of my peers, I felt that there was something innately wrong with me.  I felt insecure, as if I was being judged constantly.  Further, I felt that there was something innately wrong about "bragging" about my accomplishments.  I realized I could be proud of what I have done without broadcasting it to the world). 

Why should I feel the need to be on a site and see how much "fun" other people are having?  Why can't I have my own fun in life?  It is not healthy for anyone, either a "social butterfly" or a "loser" as this website has come to call those who lack friends, to be comparing themselves with other people -- many of who brag and constantly exaggerate their lives to the world.  Just because someone says they did something great does not mean they did, nor does it mean that they are happy with their life.  In fact, I would venture to guess that many people who are addicted to Facebook are genuinely unhappy with their lives. 

My experience with Facebook has proved to me that Facebook is an emotional roller coaster for many.  I have had multiple friends who would post about how wonderful they were, with status messages such as: "I love my children, my friends, my family, God, my life and my wonderful husband/wife.  I am so blessed."  Then, a few days later, they state: "I don't know who my real friends are, if you are my real friend reply to this post.  I am so sick of being someone different than who I am to please others."  Is this healthy?  When I continued to see such posts from people I realized that there was no place for me on the site.  Sadly, many of these posts were met with replies from many people, soothing the individuals once again as they went all emotional over Facebook.
"Facebook was built for real world connections, not cyber relationships. In the past, loners loved chatting online because it gave them an outlet to communicate with people without revealing their lonely, isolated lives. Facebook does the exact opposite: it reveals to people your real world social status."
What Facebook was "built for" and what it is in reality for are two different things.  Facebook was originally crated for the shallow purpose of comparing the looks of two college students.  In essence, it is not much different today.  Today Facebook hardly reveals to people one's real social status.  Instead it reveals to others what a person wants to show others.  Again, many people basically outright lie about their lives on Facebook.  One can easily omit the bad and exaggerate the good giving the world an inflated image of who they are.  It is not hard to not mention having credit card debt, addictions, STDs, receiving failing grades, being on a sex offender registry, and other negative things that are sometimes common to many people.  However, it is very easy to mention to the world things that sound better in text than they are in reality.  Facebook does not reveal anything to the world except what the author wants to reveal.  Facebook is not reality.


In the end, Facebook is not a real social experience.  It is the leader in (a)social networking.  It is quite possibly the worst internet site to have ever been created.  Facebook is a playground for the insecure and addicted.  If you think that being on Facebook makes you social, you really need to take a long hard look at your life.  There is absolutely nothing social about feeling the need to check a website multiple times a day (or even once a day).  There is nothing social about feeling the need to spy on other people and see if your life is better than theirs.  When you are on Facebook you are not hanging out with other people.  You are not involved in the world around you.  Instead you are a part of an imaginary world where few things are truly as they seem. 

Again, look at your life and ask yourself what it would be like without Facebook.  Ask yourself what you really want to do with your life.  Do you really want to spend it hooked up to an internet website where you are compelled to display your life to others, and do you really want to read about every small thing that other people do?  Further, is being on Facebook a rational choice that you would make, given all the alternatives, when you look at your life goals?  Be honest with yourself when you ask if you are addicted to Facebook.  Even spending an hour a day (1/16th of the average waking day) is a sign of an addiction.  When you get off of Facebook do you really feel good about yourself, or do you feel like you wasted time?  Do you feel like you are living a fantasy, or wish that your real life, your non-Facebook life was different?  Don't let websites that call people who don't use Facebook losers bully you into not making the most of your life.  Purge the urge to be on (a)social websites like Facebook.  Wake up and take your life back.  Believe me, you will be glad you did.

Lastly, the "program" states the following in it's terms and conditions:
"Our program contains some highly aggressive, politically incorrect, straight forward language that may not be suitable for everyone. Our methods for gaining friends, respect, and losing the fear of rejection may lead to some social side effects that some users may not be comfortable with, including, but not limited to the following:

- Being perceived by some as arrogant, aggressive, or overly confident;
- Developing an indifference toward the opinions of specific people;
- Being perceived as busy and less available than before;
- Not giving off an impression overt niceness anymore;
- Having people frequently move in and out of your life;
- Having to reject, ignore, and decline people;
- Creating drama in your life that may not currently be there;
- Using *dishonestly and manipulation in social situations;
- Developing an impersonal approach to some other people;
- Resentment from old friends and family members regarding changes to your lifestyle;
- Seeing people as objects or in a less personal way."

* Please note: While some of our methods involve dishonestly, it is that of a relatively harmless nature that is normal/common in the social world.
Do you really want to be that way?  Is that what being social is supposed to be?  I tend to think not.  

Do you have any thoughts on the website AdultSocialSkills.com that you want to share?  If so, please share in the comments below.