Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Facebook "Noise"

Lately, as I talk to people, I find myself wondering if Facebook may be losing its luster.  It seems that many people are getting tired of the non-sense that goes on via Facebook.  Examples include the narcissism, the bragging, the propaganda, the fighting amongst family members.  In fact, I was recently told that one of my newlywed family members got in a fight and let their spouse and the rest of the world know that they wanted a divorce via Facebook.  Sadly, even though I am not on Facebook, I do hear about the drama, and it just proves to me how happy I am to have left.

I am constantly told by others that they want to leave the site and don't see much of a use for it any longer.  I feel that this is only natural.  When Facebook was new to me I found myself curious and excited to see what the people I knew from the past (high school, grade school, etc.) were doing with their lives.  I never stayed in contact with many people from the past and it was interesting to see who went where and who did what.  Further, I grew up in a very rural area in Montana and everyone seemed to know everyone else, so that made it all the more interesting to me. 

However, once I found out what everyone was doing with their lives, and once I talked to some of the people from the past, I realized that my curiosity had waned.  That part of Facebook was no longer new and exciting to me.  Yet, at the same time, I wondered if maybe there would be some people who wondered what I would be doing with my life.  I was proud of my accomplishments and hoped that others would see that I was not the same loser who I was in high school.  I had moved to New York City, traveled the world, went to a well known college, and was now in law school.  This just had to prove that I was not the same pimple faced glasses wearing fool I was back in the day, right? 

Well, I learned fast that everyone else was trying to impress everyone and that while some were surprised to see what I had done, most didn't seem to really care.  Further, many of the people in my high school had achieved at least something and were proud of that something, feeling the need to share it with the rest of the world (there were also a couple of depressed individuals who seemed to garnish pity instead of share their achievements - but maybe their depression was their achievement and perhaps they were proud of it). 

Further, I realized I was seeing my friends and family in a more negative light as time went on.  People shared all their insecurities and all their drama with the rest of the world.  I saw couples fighting and people complaining about everything.  I saw people "unfriending" others and sharing the fact with the rest of the world.    I noticed how people felt validated by sharing what they hated about another person, even when that other person could read the post.  The site felt so negative, yet I still felt a burning desire to share my every moment with the rest of the world.

Then there was the endless barrage of political propaganda.  Everything from the presidential candidates to pro-life and pro-choice battles to Kony 2012 and Occupy Wall Street plastered daily by certain individuals.  Facebook was fast becoming a political sounding board.  It was too much for me.  I did not sign up to use Facebook in order to be bombarded with politics or see friends fighting over who should win the election.  I thought Facebook was supposed to be the kind of place where people talked with each other and communicated with family members and friends who did not live close by.  However, there was much noise on Facebook that erased any possibility of a real relationship.  The phone, e-mail, and person to person contact still reigned as the best way in which to foster a relationship, and Facebook became a failed venture.

Although I have left, many people are content with the failure that is Facebook.  Although many people have lost money on the site, and although many families have brought their feuds to Facebook, it is still the most popular social network in the world.  It is too easy to stay and too hard to give up and for that reason many don't want to leave.  However, there are a growing number of people who claim to be dissatisfied with Facebook.  Time will tell if they make the move and leave the site that has such a stranglehold on their life.  Facebook truly is an emotional roller coaster, and one may have to do a great amount of soul searching in order to realize that leaving is probably in their best interest.  I hope that they will eventually purge the urge to be on the biggest time waste to hit the modern world.  Having talked to those who have left, I have yet to see anyone who has regretted the choice they made to leave. 


  1. Speaking of noise, one of the things that really annoyed me with Facebook was all those silly little games like FarmVille. When I did want to see what people had to say or what they were up to,I had to fish through millions of useless posts such as, "----- has found a purple carrot on FarmVille!" I don't really care. Maybe if you found a purple carrot in real life then that might be something. Anyway, that was just some of the "noise" that bothered me about it. Of course, sometimes that purple carrot was better than what people were talking about...

  2. It's almost as silly as blogging

  3. I think the most dangerous "noise" is that little voice inside you saying: "Comment, comment!" "Post this on fb" "Check that" "Let's see what is Mark doing!" "Let me share on fb this pic". Just as the picture on the top.

  4. Facebook is a social network. Its quality as a site depends entirely on how many people are on it. If people migrate to another network -- one with, for example, a less ridiculous privacy policy -- Facebook will no longer have its draw. I'm quite confused about the people who complain about it as if it's one big world-controlling entity -- Facebook is a tool. (And if you spend too much time on it, so are you! Hah hah, cheap joke...) If people didn't use it, it would be nothing.

    Also, I wonder what you mean by using 'time-wasting' as a negative adjective. Sure, spending time on Facebook doesn't do anything productive and takes up time, but the same goes for sites like Memebase (or other funny-pictures sites), video games, and social interaction in real life.

    1. Did you really just suggest, social interaction in real life is a waste of time?

  5. I quit facebook not too long ago, and I found it somewhat difficult. It wasn't contributing anything to my life after the initial "honeymoon". In fact, in some ways it was detracting from my life. I can say that I am much happier now not being on facebook. It's not like the whole world stopped being available to me afterwards. If those people I had listed as friends were really important to me (and I to them), we would remain in contact outside of facebook. And that is the litmus test of what actually constitutes a friend. Facebook by its nature seems to redefine what can be called a friend, making it seem as if people you barely know or knew, can now be a "friend". For people who are shallow, their list of 300+ friends chattering about the most inane things is satisfying enough. For those that need more from their friendships, facebook's kind of friends will ring quite hollow after a while. To maintain friendships with other methods, it takes more time and interaction. With facebook, it really takes the effort out of having "friends" since you can now add as many people as you want, and speak out to them, as opposed to speaking and spending time with each individual person.

  6. Facebook was just noise for me. It contributed nothing to my life. Kind of like TV and the media. It's all just senseless noise.

  7. I quit and deleted my FB account about 6 months ago, and actually didn't find the process or withdrawl difficult - and I was quite an avid user for several years. Reading your words about the 'noise', I found myself nodding in total agreement throughout. My teenage daughters posted endless (and mind-numbing) song lyrics on a constant basis. An atheist friend would rant ad nauseum about his dislike for anything religious. The banality of the drivel and self-centred minutia was driving me insane. After awhile I realized the only reason I was remaining on Facebook was to share my original photos (I own a commercial photography business) with a few friends and family - and the novelty of sharing those finally wore out, too. I decided to delete my account cold-turkey. And six months later I haven't regretted it. Occasionally my wife updates me with something important a family member shared on FB (which is rare) - but she understands and appreciates the reasons why I made the conscious decision to leave FB...and she's mindful not to unnecessarily mention something trivial she reads on there.

  8. They should make a site that is similar to fb but limits a person's act within a day, eg 1 like = 5 AP. That way, idiots won't embarrass themselves too much.