Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Power of Choices

Some of us are not aware of the impact of our choices.
Our lives are made up largely of the results that come about due to the choices that we make.  Every day we make choices of how to spend our time.  We decide what to do, what to put in our bodies, what to feed our minds, where to go, and how we will progress as individuals.  Some of the choices we make better our lives greatly while other decisions seem to have little impact.  Yet, some of the choices we make set us back in life.  Some are catastrophic.  While an individual choice may seem to play a very minor part in life, the reality is that even a small choice can cascade into something great or terrible over time.

You have a choice whether or not to be on Facebook

You may have come to the conclusion that you need Facebook.  Perhaps you signed up without thinking just because you saw everyone else was doing it.  Maybe the Facebook App came installed on your phone and you figured "why not?"  Perhaps you were told by friends and family that you needed to join.  Maybe you saw that most businesses seem to want you to be on Facebook.  Maybe you feel it is the only way that you can advertise your own business or enter into various contests and giveaways.  The truth is, however, that you do not need to be on Facebook.  While it may seem absurd at first, the reality is that Facebook is an option, and one that you should not feel compelled to accept.  There are a host of reasons why you should consider not being on Facebook.  These include:
Sadly, many people live their life as if they do not have choices.  I have known people who go through life in this manner and they are often quite miserable.  Living life with the idea that you do not have a choice in anything results in depression.  However, many people who live this type of life seem unaware that they have a choice in what they do and how they spend their time.  It baffles many to find out that they have are free to choose how they live their life and that their life is the result of the choices that they make.  In fact, many would rather blame 'the system' or outside sources for the life that they have. I have found that many of these people are the type that are quick to be on Facebook and thrive on the site.

Where have your choices led you?
Facebook seems to hold a power over the people who believe that they are powerless in the world.  It is their sounding board; a way for them to lament their lives to the world and, when things are going good, brag like a banshee.  If you are still on Facebook you are probably well aware of their type.  They are the ones who often are updating their Facebook profile by the hour.  In fact, these people oftentimes seem to be living their lives through Facebook, because they believe that they have no choice in how to live and where to spend their time.

You have to realize that you do have a choice whether or not you are on Facebook.  It is important to accept that fact and stand firm, realizing that you will not be bullied in making a decision.  Sadly, the reality is that the media, family, friends, and corporations are vested with an interest in getting you to sign up to Facebook.  If you are not on Facebook you might fear that you will be considered devious or a sociopath.  Don't give into that fear!  It is your life and nobody else's.  You have a choice.

I realized, long ago, that my life always turned out for the better when I thought about the choices I made and it always stagnated or worsened when I lived without making conscious choices.  Although I have received backlash for not being on Facebook, I realized that not being on Facebook was one of the best choices I have ever made.  I am not telling you that you can not be on Facebook.  To the contrary, that choice is up to you.  Instead, my aim is to provide the reader a contrary view about Facebook.   A view that the media is not as interested in sharing.  A view that Facebook does not want you to know.  A view that Facebook is not required nor is it even close to optimal for a healthy lifestyle.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Leaving Facebook

Do something this year to improve your life
by leaps and bounds -- leave Facebook!
With the new year approaching, many people take the opportunity to make a New Year's resolution. Recently you may have heard that multiple Facebook account passwords have been stolen (source).   Now is an excellent time to make a resolution to leave Facebook.

Take a look back at the last year and ask yourself the following questions.  Be honest with yourself and take some time to think through them.
1.  How much have you used Facebook last year?
2.  Have you got tired of the constant bragging and arguing that takes place on Facebook?
3.  Do you feel good about yourself when you log off Facebook?
4.  Are your family members and friends using Facebook constantly?
5.  Are you tired of how people will only talk to you and contact you via Facebook?
6.  Has Facebook usage caused to you forgo other opportunities and goals in your life?
7.  What do you see yourself doing with the time you would have otherwise spent on Facebook?
8.  Is Facebook really that exciting to you now, or is it more of a habit?
9.  Do you use Facebook while ignoring the people around you?  Are you missing out on your children and families growing older?
If you are honest with how you answer these questions, you may find that Facebook is not quite as great as many claim.  In fact, there are many people who outright state that they do not miss Facebook after leaving it.  As crazy as it may sound, many people are actually quite happy with their decision to leave Facebook!

It has already been established that Facebook is addicting.  Like many things that are addicting, it is hard and even sometimes scary for some to contemplate leaving their Facebook addiction behind.  Many people fear that they will be chastised for leaving, ignored, or that their lives will be empty.  Many people claim that they feel that they will not know what is going on in the world if they don't have Facebook.

First, if you are chastised for leaving Facebook, you should stand strong and tell people that it is your decision whether or not you are on Facebook.  There is nothing wrong with you for not being on the site. If you feel the need, tell others why you left and why you are not going back.  Be firm.  When people ask me why I am not on Facebook I tell them exactly why.  When people tell me that I need to join Facebook I tell them that will never happen.  They may not like it, but it's my life.

Many people will want you to be on Facebook because they want to see what you are doing.  Many enjoy the idea that they are being watched and seen.  However, there is something to say about being a private person and living your own life; being away from the constant drama and bragging that Facebook is rife with.

Has the novelty of Facebook disappeared for you?
If you feel that you will be ignored by some when you leave Facebook, that is not your loss.  The people that really do care for you will contact you still.  Those who don't probably will not.  At first, when I left, I felt somewhat angry that many people did not contact me or seem to care at all about my life.  However, over time I realized that I was not losing out by not being contacted by others.  If Facebook had never been invented (which would have been great), I would not have been contacted by many of the people who I knew on the site.

Over the years, when I was on Facebook, I found that the longer I was on the site, the less certain people conversed with me.  They were content with me being on their friend's list, and I was content merely being on theirs.  This is when I started to wonder if Facebook was really social or if the often touted social aspect of Facebook was merely imaginary.  Over time I started to realize, seeing all the fighting, arguing, boasting, and time spent on the site, that Facebook was actually quite (a)social.  That's right -- I learned that Facebook is not really social at all!  It's merely a gimmick to get people to sign up.  I realized that being connected does not mean being social, and being connected with everyone is not always a good thing.

Is Facebook really exciting for you now?

When I first signed up for Facebook it was very exciting to see the people who I knew long ago but had lost contact with.  For months I would sign in and see what they were doing.  However, Facebook started to lose that novelty.  Over time, I tried to rekindle that excitement, but alas, it was long gone.  When I read the things that many people were saying and took notice of the time that I spent on the site, I started to wonder if my usage of Facebook was more toxic than beneficial.  When I left Facebook and noticed my life improving by leaps and bounds, I realized that Facebook was not something I wanted to be a part of.  When I took notice of the people who were still on Facebook and letting their lives fall apart, it established to me that I had no reason to return to Facebook.

Every day I see people who complain about their lives and complain about having too little time, but spend hours a day on Facebook.  Many of these people want sympathy and go on Facebook to get it.  Instead of spending all that time on Facebook, they should get off the website and start to put their lives back together.  It is amazing what one can accomplish in a day if they create goals and work to achieve them.  The satisfaction one gets from achieving a goal is far greater than the satisfaction one gets from wasting hours and days on Facebook.

This year try leaving Facebook and other (a)social websites and create a better life for yourself.  You are not going to be able to lose weight, do well in school, achieve success in business, or better yourself while you are glued to Facebook.  Take some time off Facebook and take note of how your life improves.  Take note of others who are on Facebook and refuse to leave.  Ask yourself: do I really want to return to that way of life?  Do I really miss being on the site that is just a big internet sounding board?  Just because the media tells you that you need to be on Facebook (usually due to a pecuinary interest that they have in the site), the truth is, you do not.  You only live once, why live it on Facebook?

Have you given any thought to leaving Facebook?  If so, share your experiences in the comment field, or e-mail FBdetox@gmail.com.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Multiple Accounts on Facebook


Are you living a fantasy with multiple Facebook accounts?
Being back near my family I have seen a lot more of Facebook than I have ever wanted to see.  Daily I am shown or told what others say or do on Facebook.  Recently I mentioned that one of my wife's sisters stated "when you have the baby you have to be on Facebook."  While there is no way that is going to happen, the reality is, Facebook is showing its ugly face everywhere, and many are having a heck of a time staying away from it.

The problem seems to go deeper, however, than just having a Facebook account.  In fact, many of my family members have at least two accounts that they keep active.  I was blown away when I found out that a couple of friends both have two different Facebook accounts that they keep current.  One is their 'real self' and the other is an 'imaginary self.'  The question that I immediately have is: isn't pretty much every account on Facebook imaginary?  Why do you have two accounts?

The amount of time that one spends on just one Facebook account is depressing enough.  Spending time babysitting multiple Facebook accounts is just jaw dropping.  What kind of life are you living in the outside world?  It is no wonder that I am seeing that many people who live on Facebook are depressed with their regular lives.  Fooling themselves and others on Facebook into believing that their life is perfect may give them some solace, but they will never climb out of the slump that their life is in if they live each and every day on Facebook.

My wife's mother signs into Facebook once a day and when she does, the sister who said that we need to be on Facebook always messages her.  She is always on Facebook.  Facebook has become her world and she tells everything about her life, her thoughts, her political and religious views, her children's achievements, her angers, woes, and her love life on Facebook.  Her life is lived through Facebook.  In fact, she barely even exists outside of the site.  It is as if Facebook opened its ugly mouth and swallowed her whole.  And she loves it.  When I tell her that I am not on Facebook she seems perplexed and even angry that I am not on the site.  I honestly believe that if Facebook went down it would kill her.

If you have multiple accounts on Facebook, you may want to take a step back and ask yourself if you are really happy with spending that much time on a website.  People who have multiple accounts will tell me that they are not addicted to the site.  Then why then do they spend hours a day on it?  There are certain individuals who are going through hard times in life and they wonder why they can't climb out of it.  They think that somehow life will magically change for them.  While they are on their Facebook accounts, they believe that the universe is just going to change their lives.  They are in for a rude awakening.  Your life will likely never change if you are doing nothing to change it.  If you are spending hour after hour on multiple Facebook accounts you are not going to progress in your real life.  How one can believe that they can move forward while they're stagnating on Facebook baffles me.  

What are you missing by being on Facebook?
Sadly, it is incredibly hard to reach people who are glued to Facebook.  Many refuse to believe that they are wasting their lives.  People believe that Facebook is a requirement for living.  People believe that they are missing out by not tapping in to Facebook for hours a day.  Facebook sucks so many people in and in the end, most of it is a waste.  Instead of being connected with others you are instead disconnected from the people who are around you.  Many people tell me that Facebook has helped them connect to people far away.  Yet, the same people tend to ignore their children and spouses while they are glued to the site.  It's great that you can talk to your uncle in Germany, but what about your child who you are ignoring while you spy on your ex-boyfriend?

In the end, few people can tell me that they are not losing more than they are gaining by being on Facebook.  Stagnating lives, jealousy, time wasted, goals unmet, time missed with family and friends, personal growth are just a few of the things that you are probably losing if you are on Facebook.  There is no better time to leave Facebook than now.  Consider a detox.  Once you stay away long enough you will see that you don't miss it.  If you care at all about your life, there is no reason to waste it on (a)social media.  

Do you or someone you know have a problem keeping multiple Facebook accounts?  Do you want to leave Facebook?  Are you sick of the world's obsession with Facebook?  If so, please comment below.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"You Have to Join Facebook"


It seems that this website is getting some attention from Facebook's corporate office. I can't say that I am too surprised; this site's message is hostile to the site, and it's Facebook's mission to make it so that everyone on Earth signs up and spends their days hooked up to it. We will just have to wait and see how long Facebook keeps watching this site, but I have a feeling it's going to be for quite a while.

Recently my wife's sister told my wife she would have to join Facebook once the baby is born. I, needless to say, was not amused by this statement. Neither of us want to raise our child on Facebook and we will not be signing up to show off our child to everyone in the world over Facebook or any other (a)social media. Sadly, this person can not seem to understand why a person would not want to be on Facebook.  So many people live their lives via Facebook and get little out of the real world that is around them.  This is not the kind of life that I find myself desiring.  It is not the kind of life my wife or I want for our child.

While I will not be posting pictures of the baby all over the internet, I have found out that others in my family do share the pictures we send to them of things like ultrasounds, etc. over Facebook. While I am not crazy about the idea, the truth is, I can not control it. I would rather these members of my family just get rid of Facebook, as they spend an inordinate amount of time on the website. However, there is no way that this will be done in the near future. Many people believe that a part of a healthy adult life includes a Facebook account. Sadly, they are only harming themselves by wasting hours on Facebook daily. Needless to say, with seeing all of Facebook's ill effects, we have no desire to return.

If one wants to be a private person in today's world, they must work to be so. The virtue of privacy seems to be slowly eroding as (a)social media finds its way into the lives of almost every person that owns a cellular phone or computer. The allure of being somehow “connected” to those far away is so profound that few can resist the call. Few question if it is really a “connection” that we have over the internet. Is it? I don't believe that a Facebook connection is a real connection. It's superficial at best. Bragging over the internet is not connecting.  Whining over the internet is not connecting.  Those who have been duped into believing that their lives are better because of Facebook would do well to log off for a year and see if they are missing out on anything. The longer you are away from Facebook, the less you'll miss it.

Author's Note:  Lately I have been busy with another website and my time on this site has been limited. However, as I have been staying with family and have noticed Facebook everywhere in their lives, I will be writing here more often from now on.  There is a lot more to say about Facebook that needs to be said, and few are standing up to say it.  If you have anything to share, please post in the comments.  If you would like to submit an article to this site, let me know and e-mail it to fbdetox@gmail.com

Monday, October 14, 2013

Communication Only Through Facebook


"I only communicate online via Facebook."  While this was not said in words, this is often said in the actions of certain people I have met and others who I know.  There are a class of individuals who do not like to converse unless the whole world can see it.  Well, the whole "Facebook world" that is.

It is hard to reach these type of people.  They are aloof when the phone rings.  They are barely there when you are communicating with them in person.  Their thumbs rap at their cellular phone as you try to talk to them.  Their eyes bat back and forth from you to the screen as you try to keep their attention.  You want to say something, but you don't know how to phrase it.  It would probably cause a fight, so you are quiet. Their eyes are glazed, and you wonder if they are drugged.

And they tap, tap, tap, as you struggle to speak with them.

If you are not on Facebook, you probably don't know much about their life.  It does not matter if you are their parent, their sibling, or their once best friend.  If you want in that individual's life, you must be on Facebook.

"I don't like to do private messages, I want to be transparent!"  They say.  They share everything with everyone through Facebook.  Little Timmy's dentist appointment, pictures from Uncle Harry's BBQ, the relationship drama that is unfolding at home.  It's like that television show "Big Brother."  Yet, you know little of it.

When you show concern, they wonder why you are not their Facebook friend.  "If you cared, you would follow my life on Facebook."  Yet, you want a real relationship with the person, a personal and private relationship.  That's a no go though.  If they are going to say it to you, there are going to say it to everyone.

You are left out of the loop when it comes to gatherings.  "I invited everyone on Facebook."  Yet, you told them you are not on Facebook.  You told them more than once.  It doesn't matter though.  Facebook is their world.  "I told you why I am not on Facebook," you tell the individual.  They don't buy it.  They just look at you with those glazed eyes and, as you speak, they grab for the phone and begin to enter text.

"Am I interrupting?" you ask.
"No, I am multi-tasking," they say.
"I miss how things were before."
"It's the Facebook age, you are a dinosaur."
"Not everyone is on Facebook."
"It's a necessity.  Get with the program."

You are on the verge of losing this person, yet you do not want to.  You want to be in the individual's life, but you sure as heck do not want to sign up for a Facebook account.  You have already deactivated your account more than you can count on both hands and at least one foot.  You kept going back, seeing your old high school friend's drunk selfies and manufactured lives.  You woke up each morning, locked and loaded to Facebook and you went to bed feeling like a two ton pickup truck ran you over.  You swore you'd never go back each time and you finally mustered up the courage to deactivate the site for good.  You know that there is no way you are going to blow through three hours to build a new profile and send invitations to all your old friends.

"I tried it, and I was miserable," you try to say, but you have said it before.  Many times.  They just don't understand.  They are used to the life on Facebook.  The ups and downs are normal to them now.  They have no idea what you are talking about.  They don't understand that life without Facebook is better because they are desensitized to the drama, to the need to live up to the expectations of others, to the need to be someone who they are not.  Sure, they are depressed when they see the vacation photos of their friends or the new house that a classmate bought.  Yet, they know no different now.  They can impress others with a click of a button or garnish sympathy from a host of individuals with a few words.  They are neck deep in the toxic relationship with Facebook and they are gladly sinking deeper.

"Have you ever tried going a week without Facebook?"
"Why would I want to do that?"
"You should try it, see if you feel different."
"There's no reason to leave Facebook."

Minutes turn into hours, hours into days, and the time continues to move on.  So much time spent updating profiles as Facebook keeps peeling the onion of privacy further back.  They don't care.  They have been members since when Facebook was for college students only and few could see.  "Don't you value your privacy?" you ask.
"I don't tell people everything about my life."
Yet they sure seem to tell everyone on Facebook about their life.

"Can I e-mail you sometime?"
"Sure, but I don't know if I will have time to answer it, I am very busy."

Busy with what?  Six hours a day on Facebook?  Of course you have enough tact to not say it.  Oh, but you know that you want to.
"I miss our relationship."
"Things change.  You really should get on Facebook."

They just don't understand.  Perhaps they never will.  Facebook loves it though.  They are reeling in the money as people are spending their lives hooked up to their beloved screen.

"Thank you," they say.
"For what?" you ask.
"Oh, sorry, I was talking out loud.  I meant to say that on Facebook." 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

It has been a while...

It has been a while since I posted here.  Too long, perhaps.  I have not forgot about this blog, instead, I have been busy moving across the United States, from the east coast to the west coast.  I have also been preparing for my wife to give birth to our first (and only) child.  On top of all that, I am looking for employment, which has been slow.  I must say that it was satisfying to not tell the world about having a child over Facebook, even though others thought it should be shared on the site.  I did not want this child to be another "Facebook baby," however.

Many of my more recent comments mention that it is hard to stay away from Facebook.  At one time it was hard to stay away from Facebook, however, as days pass, I find it easier to not want to be on the site at all. It does get easier.  At first you will feel that you are missing out by not being on Facebook, but once you are away long enough, you'll feel great for not wanting to be involved with the (a)social media world any longer.

I had a chance to take a look back at the world of Facebook recently, in fact.  My wife took the jump and permanently deactivated her account.  She actually had me do it for her.  I am very proud of her move.  She decided that with a baby coming that she has no need to ever get back on the site.  I must say that two years ago, my decision to leave Facebook was one of the best choices I have ever made.  In fact, when I look at how obsessed I was with the website and how little I accomplished while being on Facebook, I can not say that it was no small accomplishment.

For those who think that Facebook is an essential tool for a happy healthy life, you might want to look at what you are missing out by not being on Facebook before you draw a conclusion.  Many individuals that are users of Facebook are 'power users'.  That means that you are drawn to log onto Facebook whenever you are conscious.

Should You Use Facebook For Your Etsy Store or Online Advertising?

Many Etsy users are saying Facebook is not worth it on Etsy and for selling items.
"As a middle school teacher, Facebook was my sworn enemy. Nothing has ever created such drama or promoted such blatant cruelty as Facebook in the hands of unsupervised tween girls. I have a hard time even considering using it, despite reading how crucial it is to success on Etsy. I've also heard complaints from friends who say people are now more frequently using it solely for self-promotion, which they dislike. So for the time being, I'll pass. Better for me to spend my time knitting."
Don't be fooled by the articles that state that Facebook is essential to do well online.  The truth is Facebook is about as needed as a dirty dishtowel in a diamond store.  Many of these articles are written by those who have a financial stake in Facebook.  Furthermore, many of these articles throw in Facebook because it's something easy to add to an article.

Facebook is a nasty little site that seems to want its users to be locked online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Purge that urge to log on.  Purge that urge to spend your life behind a glowing screen.  There is a real world outside that is just wanting to be enjoyed.  Are you going to waste another minute on Facebook?  I hope not.  I hope that you decide to log off for good.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Facebook in the News (August 2013)


A new story on BBC News states that Facebook will be compensating users for sharing details about them on their advertisements.  While this is not a huge deal, it is just another example of how the internet is not a private place.  Part of me does not understand how a person can be upset when they put their lives on Facebook and then that information is shared. 

Approximately 614,000 Facebook users whose personal details appeared in ads on the site without their permission will each receive a $15 (£9.65) payout.

More than 150 million Facebook members had their names and pictures used in Sponsored Stories, but only those who responded to an email from the site earlier this year will be compensated.
Privacy organisations will also receive some of the $20m (£12.9m) settlement.

Facebook has not responded to the BBC's request for comment.

The payout was approved by a US court on Monday following a class action filed against Facebook in 2011 by five of its users.

The group said their details had been used to promote products and services through the site's Sponsored Stories programme, without paying them or giving them the choice to opt-out.
A Sponsored Story is a tailored advertisement that appears on members' Facebook pages, highlighting products a user's friends have endorsed or "liked" on the site.

Continued at BBC News (source).

Another story from BBC News is based on a study showing that Facebook use makes users feel worse about themselves.  I have stated this a few times before and have felt these effects myself.  Many people seem to spend hours on Facebook and come off the site feeling inadequate or depressed about their lives.  According to the article, there is a growing amount of research that states that Facebook has negative consequences.  I don't know if much research is needed in this - the truth is obvious, but the addictive nature of Facebook makes it impossible to leave. 

Using Facebook can reduce young adults' sense of well-being and satisfaction with life, a study has found.

Checking Facebook made people feel worse about both issues, and the more they browsed, the worse they felt, the University of Michigan research said.

The study, which tracked participants for two weeks, adds to a growing body of research saying Facebook can have negative psychological consequences.

Facebook has more than a billion members and half log in daily.

"On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it," said the researchers.

Internet psychologist Graham Jones, a member of the British Psychological Society who was not involved with the study, said: "It confirms what some other studies have found - there is a growing depth of research that suggests Facebook has negative consequences."
Continued at BBC News (source). 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review: Unfriend Yourself



Recently I have had the chance to read the book "Unfriend Yourself" by Kyle Tennant.  I ordered it off of Amazon, and while it is a short read, it has given me much to think about, and much to write about.  Unfriend Yourself is a book that is written in a critical tone about how people have come to use Facebook.  It is also written from a religious point of view.  The author is a youth director and graduate of the Moody Bible Institute.  While this book may not immediately seem like a desirable read to a person who is not religious, I would state that it has a lot of interesting points to make about Facebook use.  If you do wonder, however, what place Facebook and social media has in a Christian life, this would be a good book to pick up and read.  It is available as both an electronic kindle and physical book. 

This is a small book, which is designed to be read in a weekend.  At the end of each chapter (meant to be read in a day), the author gives the reader a task or experiment that they can use to come up with their own conclusions about social media.  One example of such a task is to "go do something creative, or fun, or exciting, all by yourself, and tell nobody about it."  These tasks are simple, but perhaps they are not something that many of us, as (a)social addicted individuals, ordinarily bother doing.

Kyle Tennant begins with a history of how he came to see and use Facebook.  He was a user of Facebook in high school and during college (later on you will find that he has not given up Facebook, but is still a functioning member of the site).  Tennant mentions getting a running start on his social life after getting accepted to, but before starting, Moody Bible Institute.  However, he finds that friendships online were a lot different than friendships in person.  When he met his new Facebook friends, he notes that they were awkward off of Facebook.  Tennant states that he still uses Facebook, "this is not a book about how Facebook is evil; it is a book about thinking" (21).  He explains that "at its core, this is a book about the promises Facebook and other social media make and how they often fail to deliver on those promises" (22). This is one of the best chapters of the book, and one that provides the reader with much to think about.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Manufacturing Envy through Facebook


Manufacturing envy is perhaps the main reason why Facebook has become so huge. The fact that one can so-easily create envy using Facebook is in part why the site is incredibly addictive. The website, AddictionInfo.org states that such envy has a profound effect on other aspects of one’s life.  It can lead to severe depression, self-loathing, rage, hatred, resentment, feelings of inferiority and insecurity, pessimism, suicidal tendencies and desires, social isolation, among others [3].  A study which was published in December 2012 found the more time college students spent on Facebook, the worse they felt about their own lives. Yet many people refuse to let go. The website has a hold on many lives, even though people are starting to understand that psychologically, being "on" Facebook is not healthy.

When one sees the accomplishments of people in their day to day lives (outside of Facebook), they see them in the light of what they actually see before them.  However, what one sees on Facebook are distorted versions of those accomplishments, worded in the light of the author who has "accomplished" them.  Such events are often warped in a way which alters them from the realm of truth to the realm of fiction.  This means that the person who talks about their accomplishments is often no more than a bragger, trying to get themselves positive exposure. We often see our own accomplishments and lives in a positive light, and we definitely want others to see us in a positive light, therefore, people will and do advertise and talk about their lives as if they are perfect -- even if they are not.  There is often a cascading effect on Facebook where individuals will compete for the imaginary title of who has the best (or most enviable) life.  This leads to a lot of competition between certain individuals. A bystander is often a friend with one of these competing individuals, but not friends with that other person who the individual is engaged in direct competition with.  The bystander sees a grandiose but fictional account of this person’s life and feels intense jealousy. There is no basis in reality for many of the claims that are made on (a)social networking.  Some claims are outright lies.  

Facebook Prostitution?

Such outright lies include the emerging trend of purchasing romantic partners via Facebook
.  Services have begun to emerge that allow a Facebook user to purchase a fake girlfriend (or boyfriend) for a short duration (usually a week) for a monetary sum.  This individual’s sole purpose is to create jealousy in the lives of other Facebook users.  For a period of time, such as a week, the purchased romantic interest will post on your wall and act like one’s romantic partner.  Many have reported that the service indeed does what it is intended to do - make one’s ‘friends’ jealous.  To add insult to the matter is the fact that the purchased girlfriend is no more than pixels herself.  The real individual is generally not who appears in the picture.  In reality all one has purchased is a fraud.  The person in the picture may not realize that their image and likeness is being used in such a matter, or the picture itself could be merely found on the internet and distorted in such a way that the individual does not even exist in the first place.  

It is quite easy to distort reality through Facebook.  This is due to the fact that we all see the world through a different lens.  We all have our own experiences and thought patterns that paint the world in a different light.  One perceives their life in a different manner than they perceive the lives of others.  Many people outright believe that their life is more exciting than the lives of their friends.  This is natural.  After all, we have only lived one life -- our own.  However, when we look at the fictional lives of others on the internet, we start to have our worldview distorted.  How can we expect to live up to the fictional lives of others?  In the end,
one exists in a fictional universe while on Facebook. The danger is not in the fact that Facebook but is mere fantasy, but that many (and almost all) perceive this fictional world to be real. People believe that others lives, even if in a state of detritus, are actually made of solid gold.  

One's existence on Facebook has real consequences.  Unhealthy consequences.  The psychological trauma that Facebook causes exists in all of its users -- whether one will admit it or not.  The cold hard reality is that those who deny that Facebook is damaging are in cold stark denial.  Trading one’s real living hours for hours spent in a virtual world where many are duped into believing they are seeing truth and reality is not beneficial for anyone.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

How to quit Facebook



One of my readers asked the following question:
I have a huge problem with Facebook. I'm very addicted to that site and it's really hard leaving it. I feel bad because it takes all my time, I can't focus on my work, on people I care, on my personal life... It's frustrating when I realize that I have spent hours for nothing, and I could have done something really useful. I can not even concentrate thinking about who have commented on my posts or clicked like on them. Sometimes I feel so depressed... I tried to deactivate few times, and one time I have endured 3 months without Facebook, but over and over again I come back. I feel horrible, and I need help from this addiction. Please help me and give me advice how can I quit it without any pain...
First, I want to let you know that you are not alone.  There are legions of people who know that Facebook is not right for them, but they are compelled to stay on the site for various reasons.  For example, I had a family member over last week who was talking to me about Facebook.  She said that she has considered leaving Facebook but when she logs back on she sees posts from other family members about things that they will not tell her in person.  These topics include her grandchildren being in the hospital, or other family members getting ready to have a baby.  She realizes that if she leaves Facebook that she will probably not be told about many of these events.  Should she leave Facebook?  That's the question that she is dealing with.

The reality is that there is a huge problem when family members and those who we care about rely on Facebook as the sole medium in which to learn about the happenings of their lives.  It is as if common etiquette has been lost.  What ever happened to making a phone call or sending an e-mail?  Has Facebook made us lazy?  That is the question I find myself asking, and is one reason why I am fighting Facebook by not being on Facebook. 

I spend too much time on Facebook.  What can I do to not spend so much time on Facebook?


When I used Facebook, I found that I was checking the site multiple times a day.  Oftentimes I would have a browser tab open with Facebook at all times.  I would check it right when I woke up, many times throughout the day, and right before bed.  I would think about it often.  For example, at school I would think of checking Facebook between classes.  I would wonder if something I had written earlier would anger others.  I would wonder if anyone would disagree with something I said.  Facebook consumed me.  At first I thought it was just me.  I thought maybe I was addicted and others were not.  However, as time went on I saw others obsessing over the site in the same way as I did.  I realized that I wasn't even as obsessed as some.  For example, I would never check it in class nor did I feel the need to own a so-called "smartphone" with Facebook on it.  However, I still knew that there was a problem.  I spent too much time on Facebook and the time was nigh for a change.

I felt that it was almost impossible to limit my Facebook usage.  However, I am sure that there are some people who are better at curbing their use than others.  I have known some people who claim to use Facebook once or twice a week.  However, many of these people still complain about the site and are often angered by what they see when they check in on it.  I strongly recommend quitting Facebook altogether.  First, I do not see a net benefit from using the site.  Second, it's easy to fall back into a pattern of obsessing over Facebook.

If you want to cut down on your usage of Facebook, you could consider rewarding yourself for spending less than an hour a day on the site.  You could also keep a journal of the amount of time you spend on Facebook.  By seeing how much time you spend on Facebook, you may see just how much time you spend on the site.  Consider what else you could have done in this amount of time.

Also, consider writing to your friends and family members through e-mail or calling them.  Instead of using Facebook, try to cultivate strong relationships with them so you do not feel the need to check in on them via Facebook.  This is hard if you have hundreds of friends, but the reality is that very few people really keep in touch with hundreds of people on an intimate level. 

Limiting one's use of Facebook is, however, a very challenging endeavor for most people, and that is why I recommend quitting altogether.  You will see the biggest changes in your life if you leave the site and focus on becoming who you want to be.


I want to leave Facebook.  How do I quit Facebook for good?


Many people sincerely want to leave Facebook, but that is often easier said than done.  I realized that the only way I was going to leave Facebook was to remove all of my friends and then deactivate.  That way if I did reactivate, I would have no friends.  I felt that I would feel silly if I added all my friends again.  Therefore, that kept me from coming back. 

Sometimes we must take big steps in order to stay away from something.  Merely deactivating a Facebook account will not keep most people from coming back.  It's too easy to go back to Facebook.  Even though I removed all my friends, I could easily make a Facebook profile again.  Therefore, I must keep reminding myself why I left Facebook.  Maintaining this website works well for that.  Whenever I think of going back, I first realize that I would look really silly if I added all my friends back again, and second, I would look like a hypocrite for going back after maintaining this site. 

When you do leave Facebook, keep a journal of what you have accomplished since leaving.
  I recommend a notebook or some physical journal.  Title the journal "Life After Facebook" or something similar.  Compare your life and accomplishments since leaving Facebook to how your life was before.  Take advantage of the time you have at your disposal.  Don't merely spend the time you spent on Facebook with a similar endeavor.  Instead, create a list of things you want to do and spend your time moving toward your life goals. 

As you see that your grades are improving, if you are more creative, if you spend more time reading, exercising, and living well, write it down.  Keep an eye on how your relationships with others are.  Are they improving?  How?  I found myself becoming angry at others for the things that they would say on Facebook.  Facebook had challenged my view of people.  Many people would share their personal life stories with everyone in the world as if it was a soap opera.  There was no reason I needed to know some of those things. 

In order to quit Facebook, you have to want to quit.  It is ultimately your choice and nobody else's.  Do not let anyone sway you into staying.  Do not give into the popular idea that those who are without Facebook are devious.  Do not let anyone tell you that you are missing out.  Many people who have left Facebook have healthier lives.  Many of those who will not leave Facebook barely remember what life without Facebook is like.  In the end, remember, it's up to you to leave or not.

Also read: How to permanently deactivate your Facebook profile.


How can I stay off Facebook once I leave?


Staying off Facebook is often the hardest part.  That's because anyone can deactivate for a while.  Furthermore, you can make a new profile at any time.  However, it's so easy to go back and each day will be a challenge.  Facebook is everywhere.  There's even a Facebook phone that recently came out.  Facebook really wants everyone to be hooked up to the site, and it seems that most of the world agrees. 

So, how do you go about staying off Facebook once you deactivated?  Well, the way I do it is by reminding myself what life was like when I was on Facebook.  Another way is in telling myself that my life would not be nearly as good with Facebook as it is without.  It took me some time to prove to myself that life without Facebook was better than life with Facebook.  It was hard to stay away, with all the advertisements telling me to use Facebook or all the friends and family members who wanted me back.  However, I would sometimes see that others did not have Facebook accounts.  I would sometimes read how certain people felt no need for Facebook, and that reassured me that I made the right choice.  Whenever I thought about going back to Facebook I would remind myself of what my life was like on Facebook.  I spent so much time after leaving Facebook with writing, blogging, traveling, finishing school, improving relationships, losing weight, improving health, and achieving my goals that sitting in front of the screen and poking old high school chums did not appeal to me any longer.  Of course I get very curious about what others are up to, and the reality is that I will not know what is going on in the lives of many unless I sign on to Facebook.  But does it matter?  No.  Why would I need to know what was going on in the lives of every single person I once knew?  If I found out would it make my life better?  Of course not.  In fact, I may find myself becoming jealous of some or angry at the way many are acting on the site.  In the end I know I would feel like a fool for going back to the site and that is enough to keep me away from it.

If you want to quit Facebook you have to take it one day at a time.  Leaving Facebook is in many ways like giving up an alcohol or drug addiction.  It is very hard for people to stay away because there is a certain drive in the brain to go back.  Facebook has purposely been designed to be addictive.  We all want to show off what we have done.  We all want the acceptance of others.  We crave "likes" and praise.  It's hard to give all that up.  Yet, giving Facebook up is something that is necessary for some people.  Many people feel angry at themselves for their use of Facebook.  Some are more addicted to the site than others.  Many want to be off the site for good. 

Keep track of each day you are off the site.  Keep a calendar and mark each day.  Try to go a week, then a month, then half a year, then a year.  Can you go three years?  How about five?  Will Facebook still be popular then?  I hope not.  The longer you go without Facebook, the easier it will be to stay away.

Also, ask your family and friends to not talk about Facebook to you.  Resist the urge to ask about what others are saying on the site.  Your friends and family should respect your choice to leave.  If they don't, send them to this site.  If you keep Facebook out of your mind, you will start to no longer mistakenly feel that you need it in your life.

If you still need help with leaving Facebook, e-mail me at fbdetox@gmail.com.
  I am available with any questions you may have.  If you want to talk about it with others, I have created a forum for those who want to discuss leaving Facebook behind and how they are coping. 

You have to have faith in yourself and your abilities if you want to make a meaningful change in your life.  There is no reason why you can not, in the end, be free from Facebook and (a)social networking.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Twitter: Now Just a Way to Get You to Buy Stuff!


One of the most putrid pastimes on the internet is moving away from being a place to share your life, your joys, your girls and your boys and toward a way of trying to thrust consumerism upon the unsuspecting masses.  Twitter, dear readers, is fast becoming more about advertising and noise than about whatever the heck it used to be about.   In fact, still to this day I can not get my mind around what the heck Twitter's purpose is.

What is the purpose of Twitter?


Even informational sites like Wikipedia can not formulate a straight answer to this question.  While many people ask this question, few actually know.  In fact, along with the location of the Arc of the Covenant and Aladdin's lost lamp, Twitter's purpose baffles many.  Twitter, it could be said, is a purposeless waste of time.

Yet many have invested thousands upon thousands of hours Tweeting.  When I tried Twitter I found that people were posting about a wide variety of subjects, such as products that they were selling, anger at the media, hate speech, and whatever Twitter deemed to be "trending" at the time.  Twitter was a tool in which the poster could express themselves in a limited amount of characters, cross their fingers, and hope that the rest of the world was listening to what they had to say. 

But, as time passes, less people are listening to each others Tweets.  Twitter, like it's amalgamated step-cousin Facebook, is slowly declining.  Why is that?  Well, first of all, people are starting to wake up and realize that they do not want to literally sink their lives into such sites.  Second, Twitter and Facebook are no longer novel and new.  Third, (a)social media sites like Twitter are now just ways in which people are trying to sell you things.  Much of what the user sees are products being peddled.  Many people don't like that.  They started using these sites to express themselves and be unique.  Whether or not that purpose was actually achieved is up for debate.  However, the reality is that the modern Twitter is a wasteland of, well, putrid waste.  It's the sludge of the internet at its absolute finest.  Twitter, like other (a)social media, has infiltrated the internet and the time is nigh for a clean up. 

An Electronic Superfund Site?


In fact, it could be argued that the internet is becoming somewhat of an electronic superfund site.  Sites like Twitter have caused a back up of garbage to accumulate on the internet.  The internet is full of spam and sites like Facebook and Twitter are factories that produce incredible amounts of it.  Many users of Twitter are asking: "Is Twitter losing its popularity?"  Yes.  I do think so.  Yet, there is a long way to go.  Even if a few hundred people leave the site tomorrow, the fact remains that Twitter is loaded with people who are absorbed in the site at any given moment. 

The next time you log into Twitter, take a long look around.  Have you noticed that much of the posts are trying to get you to buy something?  How much of what you read on Twitter is just noise?  Does being on Twitter really do anything for you?  Think about it.  Does the amount of time that you spend on Twitter pay for itself?  Or are you just allowing your mind to grow more numb by the second?

I left Twitter because, like Facebook, I found that it did not belong in a healthy and meaningful life.  If you are spending hours a day on these sites instead of actually living your life, you may want to reconsider your priorities. 

Is Using Twitter to Advertise Worth The Hassle?


Many people think that Twitter is an integral part of selling a product, whether it be something on their Etsy store or a book that they published and sell on the internet.  The reality is that Twitter does very few people that much good.  Here is why:

1.  In order to make your product stand out, you have to also stand out yourself.  This takes an inordinate amount of time and effort that may not be worth it.  For example, ask yourself: Is it worth the time to create thousands upon thousands of Twitter connections, something that can take months of time, just to sell a few products?

2. If you try to friend too many people on Twitter, your account may be banned.  At the very least, you will probably get a warning.  Twitter wants people to add connections, but there is a double standard.  You can not add too many people at once.  This is a way in which Twitter gets you to have to spend days in order to slowly get a following.  What a waste, huh?

3.  The more people you follow, the more noise you hear.  Many of your "connections" will be on Twitter merely to sell their own products.  Many will not even be reading the tweets from the thousands of connections they already have.  Your eyes will be sore.

4.  After searching the internet, I found that Twitter has developed a reputation as being a place that is hard to sell on.  In other words, good luck turning those obnoxious Tweets into sales conversions.  However, that doesn't mean that MILLIONS of people are not trying to do that already.

5.  You may find that many of your followers will eventually no longer be interested in following you or your product if you are pushing it too heavily.  On the flip side, if you don't push it heavily, your posts will be lost in the sea of Twitter noise.  Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place!

In short, unless you are somewhat masochistic, you may want to find other ways in which to advertise your product.  (A)social media is an overrated method for selling.  However, the sites would never tell you that.  After all, that's how they make millions of dollars.  Without users peddling products and paying for ads, these sites would buckle and fall into the abyss, along with the almost forgotten fads of the past.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Living Double Lives on Facebook



Sometimes people want the world to think that their life is better or more exciting than it really is.  For example, there is a member of my family who is having a hard time in her life with her third marriage.  She outright stated that she purposely makes her life seem perfect on Facebook although in real life it is far from what she wants it to be.  While those who live close to her realize that her life is, in many ways, shattered, family members and friends who live far away see her life as being something to envy.  In short, many of those who view her Falsebook profile are only seeing a false life that has been, in short, made up.

They are seeing a life that exists only in the deepest sanctums of her imagination.  And they believe it is reality.

Many people live double lives on and off of Facebook.  I found that, when I used to be a user of the site, that my life often seemed more exciting on Facebook.  I would sit back and ask myself how others must view my life.  It made me feel good for a while, knowing that those who I knew in the past and generally no longer talked to that much probably thought I was living an amazing life.  Although I am very happy with my life, it is not all glamor.  For example, while I do travel very often, I oftentimes stay in places that many people would probably never set foot in.  Yet, I would rarely show those places when I had a Facebook profile.  Most people, I found, were envious of my life, as if it was something unattainable.  I realized that I did not like people thinking this way about me, but I found it almost impossible to not live a double life on Facebook.

Most people want to be viewed in a positive light.  It is very easy to be viewed this way when you are twisting and morphing a Facebook profile.  Unlike real life, which is full of challenges and ordeals, one can paint their life in any color they choose while on the kingpin of (a)social networking.  While it may be very challenging to have a perfect marriage, one can create such a thing at the push of a button on Facebook.  No wonder many people would rather live their lives in front of a computer instead of in the big bad real world that exists just beyond the screen.

But living one's life on a computer comes at a cost.  First, it is incredibly addictive.  Second, when a person spends an inordinate time in the fantasy world of Facebook, real life issues invariably emerge.  It is not uncommon to see people gaining weight and encountering serious health problems because they neglect their bodies, instead opting for the computer.  While one posts about their double life they may find that they are instead ignoring their real life.  Many ignore their families, friends, skills, career aspirations, and dreams.  Sure, you can pretend to live your dreams on the internet, but it will never result in you actually achieving them. 

Unplugging yourself and staying off of Facebook is the hardest part.  Many people get to the point where they can deactivate the beast, but it's not coming back that most fail at.  Even I have battled the want to go back to the site that the world is obsessed with.  It is only through reminding myself of what my life was like when I was glued Facebook that makes me stay away.  We are told we are sinister or somehow unsavory for not being on Facebook.  Yet, that is not true.  Do you see the biggest creators and achievers in the world glued to Facebook?  Facebook is a pacifier for the masses, nothing more.  It is the biggest waste of time in the modern world (and, in the end, it is truly a waste).  When people can not go a series of minutes without checking the site, you know there is a problem. 

Don't get swept up living a double life on Facebook.  Instead, resist the temptation to spend your life on the site at all costs.  You are not a bad person if you don't use Facebook.  You are not somehow unsavory or socially devious just because you realize that there is a real world beyond the computer.  Don't give into the hype or peer pressure.  A life without Facebook is the optimal life.  Many of those who say otherwise have not lived a life free of Facebook in years. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's just too hard to leave Facebook...


In my last post, I asked the question, "does Facebook make people anti-social?"  Perhaps it does with some people.  I talked about a certain family member who was hurt by what her daughter said to her.  My wife told her that it may be best to take a break from Facebook for a while.  She kind of agreed, and was considering leaving.  However, she did not.

Facebook's gravitational pull is too great for many.  A life without Facebook is terrifying to many in our modern world.  People are expected to either be on Facebook or be viewed as social pariahs.  Furthermore, there is often a backlash from family and friends who are on Facebook when one leaves.  "Why did you leave us?" they cry.  In fact, when a Facebook user goes to deactivate their profile, shown is a few friends with text saying that each one will miss you. 

Instead of leaving Facebook, the individual has set herself up for more heartache.  Similar situations have erupted on Facebook over the course of the last few years.  Some people use Facebook as a medium to control others.  Others use Facebook as a medium to make others feel awful about the world and their lives.  For my sister-in-law, she uses Facebook as a way to tell her family (particularly her mother) how they raised her wrong all of her life and to brag about her adult life.  Happy mother's day.

My wife's mother has battled with the idea of leaving Facebook for a while now.  In fact, she once stated that she was not addicted to Facebook.  I think that most people are.  In fact, I believe if someone 'battles leaving Facebook but does not' then they are addicted.  There is no way around it.  To the addicted, contrary information, such as this website, is ignored.  Many addicts have no want to hear that they are addicted, nor do they want to change.  In fact, even with the heartache that Facebook causes these people, a fear of the world outside of Facebook makes them too afraid to leave.

My wife's father, however, did leave Facebook.  He realized that Facebook was not conductive to a real adult life in a real adult world.  In fact, he was sick of the behavior that many hardcore users exhibit on the site.  The strutting around like an internet rooster.  The behaving like a donkey in the barnyard.  The incredulous lack of judgement that many Facebook users show.  The internet brings out the worst in people.  From message boards to internet chat rooms, people can be downright vile on the internet.  Facebook makes it worse, because, many of these people are doing it to their families and best friends.  Those who society says we should love the most. 

In the last few years I have seen both my family and my wife's family fall apart.  From outright cheating on spouses to using Facebook as a medium for the disowning of siblings, Facebook has reeked serious havoc.  Before leaving I constantly read horrible things being said about family members right on the site.  Family fights erupted for the world to see.  And yet people ask me why I am not on Facebook.  I believe that we become that which we behold.  I did not want to turn into such a person.  I did not want to be a part of the negativity.  I had found that Facebook was a very negative website across the board.  Sadly, many people do not see it.  Instead, they think Facebook is just a way to keep in touch.  Yet, there is an element that brings out the worst in humanity there.  Perhaps it's the war to get likes.  People will destroy each other for a few likes.  Facebook likes are like cocaine to some. 

My wife's mother eventually sent an e-mail to my sister-in-law and within seconds replied and invited my wife's mother to yet another birthday party.  They went.  Perhaps out of fear of the backlash that would be caused on the site if they said no.  Perhaps they truly wanted to go, even though the daughter humiliated her and made her feel like a genuine buffoon and certified lummox.  Everything should be a-ok for the next few weeks.  Of course, the Facebook pawn will show herself again and rape and pillage for the world to see.  That's how it goes down in Facebook town. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Does Facebook make people anti-social?


Last night as my wife was on the phone, her mother explained, on the verge of tears, how her daughter had chewed her out for not traveling sixty miles for a birthday party that was announced a day earlier only via Facebook.  She tried to explain to her daughter that both her and her husband were sick and could not make the long journey on such short notice.  Furthermore, this particular party was being held a month after the actual birthday.  And with all of fury the daughter could muster, she straight up told her mother that "if [she had] tried to understand why they were sick every single time they were sick, she would have the Guinness Book of World Records for compassion." 

My wife explained to her somewhat distraught mother that Facebook has changed how people act socially.  She explained that on the internet there is no seeing the other person's face, no hearing the other person's voice.  Instead, one sends out a message to a picture and has nothing to hold them back from being as mean and bitter as they can possibly be.  Tact is not an ordinary tool that is used when on the internet, sadly.  Instead, people spout off anything that comes to mind, some of which are hateful and spiteful words.  Words that people would rarely use in the real world to those who they profess to love.  In short, Facebook makes people anti-social.

But, Facebook is not the real world.  Facebook is fantasy. 

Like many, my wife's sister has lost much of her social skills as a result of her time on Facebook.  People need face to face interaction with other people to grow socially.  Those who live their lives via Facebook regress to a point where the entire world is confusing and perplexing.  My wife's sister lives her entire life via Facebook.  Sadly, even though she is both physically and financially capable, she rarely leaves her home.  Her world exists through a screen.  She uses Facebook as a medium to brag about her life and how she perceives it to be.  She bullies those who do not agree with her.  She does not pick up the phone to call her parents nor does she e-mail.  And when she wants to invite someone to one of her nine children's birthday parties, she does it entirely via Facebook. 

Yet, before Facebook she was not always this way.  In fact, she used to plan gatherings with her parents and family and spend much time with them.   As they are getting older, she would drive herself and her children to their house and spend an evening or weekend with them.  She was very much a part of the family and considered herself a family centric individual.  Then Facebook arrived.  At this point she began to withdraw.  She realized that the new world of Facebook was now to become her home.  Instead of visiting family in person, she would post on their Facebook profile wall.  Instead of having her grandchildren visit she would post pictures of them getting older.  And like a hoarder, she would collect the hundreds of likes that came as a result of these pictures.  Each like gave her something.  Perhaps it was some positive reinforcement, maybe it improved her sometimes weak self-esteem.  It also, however, gave her the assurance that she no longer had to leave the house.  The fantasy world of Facebook had become more enticing than the real world that existed outside.  The real world, to her, was now dying. 

As time passed, my wife's sister began to grow angry at the world that existed off her computer.  She began to hate this terrifying and confusing world.  So, she would withdraw either onto her phone or her laptop.  Instead of talking to others when they visited, she would stare at the screen, waiting for a text message or search for a picture to post onto Facebook.  There would be no communication for those who did not join her on Facebook.  If you were not on Facebook, she did not exist.  You did not exist.  And that is how it has been for a while now.

There are hundreds of such stories out there.  True tales of people who withdraw from the modern world, instead opting to live the remainder of their lives on Facebook.  Facebook gives some people more than they believe they can get out of the real world.  Where else can you say something and have hundreds of people like it in minutes?  Where else can you make what you feel to be a lackluster life seem like a dream?  The real world is hard.  Facebook is easy.

Yet, life is meant to be shared in person with others.  Yet more and more people are sharing their lives only through a computer screen or cellular phone.  Instead of spending time with their families and loved ones, people instead would rather gather likes on a computer screen.  Instead of spending time with parents and family members that will one day no longer be around, people would rather brag and talk trash on the internet.  What will it take to change this?  What will it take to make people step back and realize what is important in life?  For those who say that Facebook is a harmless tool, they do not understand the deeper psychological aspects that users of the site experience.  Many say that it will not happen to them, but as I sit in a classroom full of people who are obsessed with Facebook and not interested in listening to a lecture or watching a public speaker, I can not help but wonder if this is not happening to most of Facebook's users.  When I see people walk around with their eyes glued to their phone instead of enjoying the world around them, I can't help but wonder if we have stepped backwards as a species.  When I see people justify their use and their obsession to an (a)social media website, I can not help but wonder if they are trying to tell themselves once again that they are not addicted.

The reality is that if you are using the website to the detriment of any other aspect of your life, and you see no problem with it, you are addicted.  If you are letting your family life, your relationships, your professional life, or your dreams pass you by while you use Facebook, you need to reconsider your priorities. 

The internet is not the real world.  Facebook is not the real world.  Those who live their lives through these mediums miss out on an amazing life and an amazing experience.  Those who live through a computer screen or a cellular phone are truly hurting themselves.  There is a problem with such a life, and those who do not

see it choose to not want to see it.  We have been given this life, a chance to experience a world that has been created for us.  We have a precious existence that is literally wasted through the obsession we have with (a)social networks.  Ask yourself today if you want to go back to the world that you knew a few years ago.  Ask yourself if you want to live once again.  Many could benefit and grow if they merely gave up the site that has hindered their development. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Employers Keeping an Eye on Employee's Social Network Profiles!


There has been a lot of attention lately on employers and regulatory bodies that want to keep an eye on the lives of others, particularly through their internet profiles.  For example, a recent story from CNN stated that a wall street regulator wants the power to keep tabs on stockbroker's social network postings.  In other words, he wants to be able to see what wall street employees are saying on their (a)social media accounts in order to see if they are not complying with the law.

The argument goes "investors must be protected, if stockbrokers are chattering about stocks on Facebook and Twitter, FINRA must ensure that the stockbrokers comply with the policies of Wall Street firms."

According to CNN, earlier in the year, FINRA sent letters to around 10 states with laws and/or proposed legislation that ban this kind of monitoring.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported on this matter.

There have been many instances of people being fired for their posts on Facebook over the last few years, and some states have reacted by banning companies from monitoring their employee's accounts.  Again, this begs the question, why have such (a)social media accounts in the first place when your real life (and Facebook is not 'real life') is at risk?

In 2011, there was a lawsuit by an officer at the Maryland Division of Corrections.  He was applying for re-certification after a leave of absence.  The officer stated that an interviewer asked for his Facebook log in information during the interview.  The American Civil Liberties Union took the case, and not too far afterward, Maryland banned this practice.  Other states have begun to follow.  Such laws generally ban employers from requiring access to their employee's and job applicant's social network accounts.

However, now FINRA wants broker-dealers excluded from that ban. 

"Prohibiting access to these accounts conflicts with a firm's responsibilities to comply with federal requirements and threatens investor protection," FINRA complained in its letter. As Smaragdis puts it, FINRA wants financial companies to be able to "follow up on 'red flags.'" (Source: CNN)

Those who support the bans on social networking monitoring believe that if an employer can monitor Facebook posts in order to make sure you are following the company's rules, what would stop them from looking through your photos and your life, using the information they find against you?  This is seen by some, especially those who value privacy, as an abuse of power. 

Of course, the best answer seems to be, don't bother with such sites in the first place.  What would an employer say or be able to do if you were not on Facebook?  After all, not everyone is.  Many who find themselves on Facebook get themselves into trouble.  And is the mental anguish worth it?  What does a person lose by not having a profile?  Of course, that is the main topic of this site.  However, that point is hard to hit home when many people feel that having Facebook is a necessity in life.

I have known people who have become angry at me for finding information about them that they posted on various websites and blogs.  If you do not want your life to be shared with the rest of the world, do not share it on the internet.  The internet is a public forum.  By sharing the intimate details of your life on Facebook, there is a huge chance that others will see it.  I am for privacy, but wonder why those who are on Facebook get especially upset when their privacy is or may be uncovered.  Facebook is, after all, a site thats main purpose is to make the world a more transparent place.  Privacy means keeping personal information about yourself, your life, and the life of your loved ones to yourself (and to those you trust).  If you are posting about your life on a website that was designed to make your life transparent, then you may want to consider otherwise if you do not like often hurtful consequences.  (A)social networking is not worth it.

Source: CNN