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:Do you really want to be that way? Is that what being social is supposed to be? I tend to think not.
- 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 have any thoughts on the website AdultSocialSkills.com that you want to share? If so, please share in the comments below.