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?

10 comments:

  1. It's one thing to never "log in", but I deactivated FB so people know that I just don't care about the daily drivel that slowly drains the productivity from you. I don't care about your kids, your food, your (often laughable) political views or your taste in music. I don't really care what people think of me and I'm comfortable with who I am, but having hundreds of "friends" that I never talk to just feels creepy and lame. Isn't it common courtesy to return a message to someone that went through the trouble of sending one to you? Anyway, I'll check on a few people in a few months, but honestly I'm not expecting anything but more engagements, babies, etc (of people I'll never see again most likely)

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  2. I think one of the reasons people can't break away from FB is
    the fear of people talking about them after they leave.Let's
    face it, gossip is a big part of that site.
    In some ways it's like a "time warp" in there, a person can
    relive their past on a daily basis, for some people it's "a happy
    warm & fuzzy feeling". For others it just reminds them of how awful
    it was back then, which can be depressing.I've noticed that "school
    cliques" start right back up on FB no matter how much time passes.
    It's kind of sad that at a time in the history of the world where we
    can get to know new people from all around the world without leaving
    the comfort of home, some people would still prefer to only be FB friends
    with people they went to kindergarten with in the 1960s.

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  3. Afternoon all. I became upset and de-activated my account through false accusations which it would serve no useful purpose to dwell on. I guess, like all 'addictions' eg drink, drugs, pornography etc, you will one day be gripped by its dark side. Perhaps incorrect of me, I went to the pub and ordered a soapy tasting budweiser. But at least, drunk though he may be, I can access a man's social cues, body language, tone of voice and mood, gestures etc. Can't call the public house a home but its nice to be focussed on nearby folk not a 'digital ghost' half way round the world. Thanks for listening.

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  4. I finally deactivated my Facebook account today.
    May be I'm going to be criticized by some of my classmates and other people I know.
    Studying a career heavily related to computer systems, websites and software, where everyone plays lots of 3D games and has accounts on each (a)social network out there, it's almost like a sin not to have an active Facebook account.

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  5. You should write about how Facebook (the scourge of the internet) is trying to make people less individual and more of a "hive mind." Being on Facebook accomplishes little and sucks out a person's individuality. It's not just a vile hobby, it's a disgusting addiction. I gave my account up a while back to the utter dismay of my friends, family, and society at large. If you don't have a Facebook account, don't expect to play with the BIG BOYS of the internet. You will be SHUNNED, CAST OUT, THROWN IN THE TRASH, and all but FORGOTTEN. Facebook is a license to have friends to many, and without it you are going to be feeling the thunder, so to speak.

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  6. There was a time where we didn't really need a middle man in our relationships. Now, for the power of being able to connect with so many people, we give facebook the opportunity be the middle man in many of our relationships. Kinda silly when viewed from that perspective. Sure, many will just view it as a 'tool' that 'enables' us to maintain all these connections. However, in the very action of how it enables us to connect to others, it also defines and conditions us in the manner in which we may do so. It is important to broadcast out a message to people as if for everyone but not really anyone specific. This is a prime function of the status update. If you are not doing this on a semi-regular basis, you are not following the proper functioning of facebook (ie, you are doing it wrong). If you are not posting photos so that others may view, like or comment, again, you are doing it wrong. If you are not commenting to a status update, again, you are not fulfilling the obligation that the facebook middleman has defined for you. You could just call a person on the phone, but you would then be depriving everyone of becoming involved, viewing, or liking your conversation. The middleman has gone through all the trouble of connecting you, it would just be rude and unsocial for you to not follow his guidelines and conditioning. Shut up slave!

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  7. Life without Facebook is super, once you realize you were in a fish bowl of bondage and addiction. Sadly, you also go through a sense of emptiness and regret because you litterally abandoned your friends & family because they get offended & hurt because they don't understand you.

    Everyday is a struggle, and you go through the same questions in your head, "should I go back?" or "maybe I'll put a time limit" or "only in the evening"...but the truth is, we're the minority and the struggle will always be there. Will we fail, & cave? I hope I don't again...

    If I can't fight for "Facetime" instead of "Facebook"...I only fail myself, and my higher power. My faith tells me to not spend so much time on things that may be an idol. Facebook, is most certainly an idol of mine & I cut it out. It's been over a month, & I am free from it!

    I love life without Facebook, & it was not hard to choose this way of life. I just decided to stop! People in my life understand now & I appreciate the support so much.

    Best of luck if you decide to be free of Facebook. One day at a time :)

    Petty Thomas

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  8. Lately I have found myself wanting to go back. Missing old relationships. Missing people who are gone from my life now that I have stepped away from Facebook. However, I just remind myself of the stagnation that existed in my life when I was on Facebook and how I would spend way too much time on the site. When I remind myself of these facts I realize that Facebook is not something that I want to be involved with. When leaving Facebook you must indeed take it one day at a time.

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  9. Jryad, did you return to facebook and changing your mind about this site? miss your posts!:)

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  10. Sorry about the delay in posting. I have just finished moving and have had to catch up on studying. I will post within the next couple of days.

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