Thursday, March 29, 2012

An International Obsession

Facebook Addiction?

Facebook has become an international obsession. Chances are, no matter where you go, you will see someone checking their Facebook status on a mobile phone or discussing Facebook. It is everywhere.

Don't Worry -- There is a way out!

Facebook, a website created out of the ingenious (and some say devious) mind of an ex-Harvard student, has taken the entire world by storm. Chances are, you have a Facebook account and realize that it takes up a lot of your time. Time that you could put to other uses. Perhaps you are like me, who has recently left Facebook, and still is bombarded by family and friends regarding that decision. Perhaps you want to leave Facebook, but don't know how?

It is no secret that Facebook makes it easy to come back. Unlike some websites that delete all your information when you deactivate, Facebook keeps all your information there for you, sitting idle, until you return. Granted, others can't see it, but it's saved so that when you decide to go back it's a breeze. But say you don't want to go back. Say you are tired of the political nonsense, senseless discussions, pointless chit chat, and the MASSIVE time drain that Facebook causes. Perhaps you are sick of living in a society OBSESSED with Facebook. Perhaps you reminisce of earlier years when Facebook did not exist, and when you were not bumped into on the streets by an oblivious kid checking his/her Facebook profile.

Do you really need Facebook?

There are many reasons why you may think you need Facebook. Maybe you think that there is some benefit to having your profile up. Perhaps you think it will help you find a job (chances are it will hurt your chances of finding a job, actually). Maybe you think that you are missing out on something. Maybe your friends and family are talking about you? Perhaps you are an (online) social animal that desires to be a part of the big juicy conversations that take place on Facebook. Perhaps you think that Facebook would be a great way to advertise your life, share your great accomplishments, and become closer to family. There are hundreds of reasons one can come up with that may make them long to be on Facebook. However, I strongly believe that the cons of being on Facebook greatly outweigh the pros

First, you are NOT missing out on anything. Once you deactivate your profile for a while and go back, you WILL see that everything is the same as it always was.  Nothing will have changed! Chances are, if there is a big life event, someone will contact you, and if they don't, are they a real friend in the first place?  You may think that, as I did, as a college or graduate student, Facebook is a great way to network for jobs.  Well, ask yourself, how many people do you know who got a job by networking via Facebook?  I'd venture to say "not many, if any at all."  I do not know of one person who has landed a job due to being on Facebook.  I don't know of a single person who would have not landed a job had they not been on Facebook.  In fact, many would be employers actively search out a person's Facebook and use it as a tool to screen candidates.  If you don't have a Facebook page, you have nothing to worry about in that regard. 

You may think that not having a Facebook page makes it look like you are not social.  Perhaps you are one of those people who thinks that the more friends you have on Facebook somehow equates to how popular you are in real life.  Well, let me be frank and say that the number of friends one has on Facebook is inversely related to the amount of friends one has in 'real life'.  While there are exceptions to this, the more one person is on Facebook means the less one is out with their friends and being a productive member of society.  The more one is on Facebook means the less one is producing.  Time spent on Facebook takes away from achieving the life goals and dreams you may want to accomplish.

But I have enough self control to only go on Facebook for a little while.  I don't use it often.

Really?  If so, that is great.  However, most people think they have a lot more self control than they actually have.  And if you have come to this blog, chances are you feel that you may lack the self control to make it so that Facebook is not overrunning your life. 

Do you feel angry, upset, or saddened later on after using Facebook?  I know I did.  I would think about what others posted and said long after I logged out.  I felt the need to log on, to get my point across, to state how I felt, to check up on them, to make myself be validated.  I realized that such mental anguish was not worth it.  When I deleted my profile I started to think about Facebook less.  I started to focus on my homework, study outside subjects, read books, create websites, go out, exercise more.  I noticed my grades improve when I was not on Facebook.  And not just improve a little.  My grades without Facebook were in the top of my class.  With Facebook they were much, much lower.

Spending less time on Facebook made me focus more on my own self development and improvement.  I spent more time working out, watching what I eat, and caring about my health.  I have found myself cooking more, doing a better job at housekeeping, and being overall much more active.  Of course, this all depends on the person, but chances are you want to be more active.  Chances are you know that there are some things that Facebook is keeping you away from doing.  Sure, you could perhaps have enough self-control to visit Facebook less, but once something is said that gets you worked up, chances are you will be watching hours fly by as you monitor the lives of others and try to validate yourself to the rest of the world.

The goal of this blog is to chronicle my life and thoughts while away from Facebook.  I hope that others will join me and share their thoughts on being without Facebook.  Perhaps you have thought about leaving but have not made the jump yet.  That is alright.  It is hard to do.  Like I said, Facebook has become an international obsession.  Obsessions are rarely, if ever, healthy.  Spending one's life in front of a computer monitoring the actions of others is in no way, shape or form a healthy activity.  I dare you to try to deactivate Facebook for a week, a month, or even during a school term and see how it improves your life.  It will be hard, people will ask you if you have a Facebook, and they will want to friend you.  You may feel that you want to reactivate so you have more friends, but just because a person is linked to you on Facebook does not make you 'friends'.  You can create a much more meaningful relationship with another person by saying, "I don't have a Facebook, but I would like to be your friend.  Would you want to study together/go out to a movie, etc. sometime?"

Think about it...

10 comments:

  1. Great blog! I just wish there where more out here. This social media phenomena is truly a creepy and scary vehicle, not only for personal security, but international security as well. I do not, and will never have, a zombiebook account. It's bad enough hearing the psycho babble from family always talking useless and senseless details about it. Truly useless technology.

    Anonymity is a great thing!

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I was sucked in for a while, but alas Zombiebook (as you call it, and which I think is apt and clever) proved to be a dark part of my life in the end.

      As far as more information being out re: Facebook and (a)social networking, I am working on adding more. There is a lot to write about, but with finals approaching, extra time is hard to come by.

      You have given me an idea for a new entry though, re: family's psycho babble of these sites. I definitely can relate.

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  2. Just deactivated my account!!!! thanks for sharing your thoughts,it reallly helped me to take the plunge

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  3. I have deactivated my account too! Thanks for the blog I have enjoyed it:-)

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    1. I am glad people are at least giving the Facebook-free life a try. I wish you both the best.

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  4. Thanks to this blog I made the jump and deactivated my zombie book acct! But the more info I read about deactivation the more I realized that it's not enough to just deactivate Facebook. In order to permanently delete a Facebook acct for good one must go through some truly arduous steps. It wasn't easy but I went through the motions, deleted my Facebook account permanently and I was informed that in 14 days as long as I'm careful not to log back in it will finally be gone for good and I will be free! Freedom will be so sweet I cant wait to finally have this ball and chain gone for good!

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    1. This is really interesting. I will research this and try to post the steps on how to do it. Thank you for sharing!

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  5. I have permanently deleted my Facebook today but do you have any advice for me to get my girlfriend to delete hers for good also? This would be very helpful if you did because I believe our relationship will become so much more worthwhile and meaningful and better etc etc etc you get the point. There were times when we would both be at home in our apartment even in the same room but we would each be on our Facebook accts writing loving posts on each others walls but how great would it be if instead of posting those feelings on a Facebook wall we said them to each other, like actually talked to each other, had a conversation face to face, what happend to us? Please offer some advice for getting a significant other to detox from zombie book. Thank you so much

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    1. This is a huge problem for many. I was in a similar situation when I left. My wife was on Facebook, but since she did not use it much, I did not push the issue with her. I think that it's important to not be too adamant about them leaving, but at the same time, show her how your life is better without it. It is a long process, and she may never feel the need to leave. However, that being said, drama and boredom will both emerge as your girlfriend uses Facebook.

      I will write more on this subject in the next week and share with you some of my ideas.

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  6. After reading your blog, I deactivated my account about 5 minutes ago. I have felt for some time that facebook was toxic to life, but held on because I live on the west coast and all my family is back east. Sadly, it is the only way to stay in touch with some family members who refuse to email or answer their phones. I am very curious to see how long it takes these relatives to realize I am gone from facebook, if they ever realize it at all. I weep for humanity, voluntarily drowning itself in facebook at the expense of real people and real life.

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