|Facebook, the Opium den of the modern era.|
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?