Thursday, June 28, 2012

Facebook Obsession

According to the book, 50 Signs of Mental Illness, obsessions are "unwanted thoughts that you cannot get out of your mind" [1].  Obsessions are not mere fleeting unwanted thoughts, which everyone has at times, instead these thoughts are the type that consume a person.  While the urge to check Facebook and other (a)social networking sites may not always be severe enough to call OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), the similarities are striking.

Obsession is also different than addiction, but they are similar.  Addiction is defined as:
"the compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, alcohol, or Facebook) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful"
While obsession is:
"a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; broadly : compelling motivation"
Addiction to Facebook is the act of a routine habit of checking Facebook, not wanting to give it up, denying that you have a problem, and realizing that you spend far too much time on the site.  Addiction can lead to thinking about the site while offline, feeling the need to sign on at particular times (such as when awakening or before going to bed), and becoming angry if you are not able to check it.

Obsession on the other hand is the constant thinking about sites such as Facebook.  Are you preoccupied with thoughts about what you will post next, how to improve your profile, what your friends on Facebook are doing, or what you should have said in response to another person's post?  Does Facebook displace other hobbies or activities in your life?  Was there something that you were once passionate about, something that once occupied your mind and time?  Was it a person, a hobby, or your own business?  Do you spend much of your time talking about Facebook and (a)social networking?  Are you "so obsessed that you think and talk only about [(a)social networking sites] to the exclusion of other social activities?" [1].

When you travel, do you find yourself jealous if someone else is using Facebook on a tablet or on their phone?  Perhaps you have abnormal cravings to use Facebook (this is also a sign of addiction).

Some people use Facebook to such an extent that their profile has to be perfectly ordered and organized.  I have known individuals who spend hours upon hours making their profiles perfect.  Once their profile is finished, they start over, spending inordinate amounts of time reshaping and reordering their profile.  When one has multiple Facebook profiles that they do reorganize and reorder, such as for pets, the dead, and video game characters, there is an apparent problem.  When others suggest that the person should log off Facebook and do something else they become anxious and irritated.

There are many people out there who are obsessed with Facebook.  Perhaps that is what brought them to this blog.  How does one treat obsession?  Talking to a doctor is a good way to start.  There are many support groups and psychologists who specialize in obsession.  Facebook obsession is just as real as any other obsession.  It may be hard to get a loved one away from Facebook if they are obsessed.  Chances are that they will not want to move on from Facebook until something else takes its place.  Removal could result in depression, anger, or lethargy.

The internet has become a place for the downtrodden and the sick to find their place in the world.  Social networking sites provide a safe haven for those who feel that they do not belong in the outside world.  That being said, it is easy to imagine how sites such as Facebook could become the object of extreme obsession.  However, one does not need to have a "mental illness" to be obsessed with Facebook.  In fact, anyone can become obsessed with the site, and the first step in ridding one's self of obsession is to leave the site.  If you want to know how to get away from what is perhaps the worst site on the internet, read this post.  If you already have, my hat is off to you.  You can have an amazing and full life with social interaction that those on Facebook can only dream of if you let go of (a)social networking.  Ask yourself: has your career, your hobbies, your schooling, or your family suffered because of your presence on (a)social networking?  Do you know someone that once was not glued to the computer, tablet, or cell phone, but who now is?  Do you dream of the days where social interaction meant going to the park, church, miniature golf, or camping without the constant buzz of a mobile phone?  There is no reason why that life can not exist.  Like most things in life, it comes down to the choices you make.  If you truly do not desire to be on Facebook, there is no reason you should be.

[1] James Whitney Hicks, M.D., 50 Signs of Mental Illness, Yale University Press, 2005.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How to permanently delete your Facebook profile.

Often I am asked: Can a person permanently delete their Facebook profile?  

After searching the internet, I was able to find out how to permanently delete one's profile on Facebook.  This is different than the deactivation of Facebook, which allows you to come back at any time you re-log in.  Permanently deleting Facebook will make it so you can not log in again to the same account.  Finding the information was quite easy, as many people have wanted to get rid of their accounts permanently.   However, to my dismay, in order to permanently delete Facebook, I would have to reactivate it. 

So, after having been away from Facebook for a few months I signed back in.  I told myself I would make this quick and go straight to the deactivation page which I had copied from the link:  When I logged in I was thrust immediately into a world I had left behind.  It had been a while since I had been to Facebook, and seeing all my old friend's posts and survey results such as "how many children will you have?" and "what celebrity will you look like?" made me cringe.  The same banter on a variety of political and conspiracy theory topics were still there, never having went away in my absence.  Part of me could not believe that others did not see what a waste of time this was!  Some of these people are people that I care about, yet they are still wasting their lives on Facebook! 

My friends and most of my family have not seen this blog.  One of my sisters (who does not use Facebook - and who knows how to keep an offline relationship) told some of my other family members about it, yet they have not visited this site.  Another family member said "I don't need to detox from Facebook, as I am not addicted to it," and has not bothered visiting.  However, said family member does log on at least once a day.  Perhaps logging in once a day does not show as strong of an addiction to Facebook as logging in hourly, but ignoring contrary information is in itself a sign of addiction.  So does denial.

Facebook is an amazing way to keep in touch with people, and it is amazing in the sense that once it is used, it is the only way in which many people tend to keep in touch with others.  Why pick up a phone or write an e-mail if you use Facebook?  And if that person who you would have called does not use Facebook, well, that's their loss.  If they will not bother to get a Facebook account then perhaps they are not worth contacting!  That's how I and many other people see it.  For those of us who do not use Facebook, we find ourselves punished.  The punishment: the end of a relationship with many of those who have their brains hooked up to (a)social networking. 

If you decide to leave (a)social networking behind, you will be looked at as (a)social by your family and friends.  A pariah.  However, there is nothing social about exclusively nurturing relationships via a computer.  Yet, today's society seems to think that Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and the like are social.  It is, sadly, a very backwards way of looking at it.  When sites like that become your only outlet to the world, and when they dictate how and who you will keep in contact with, there is a serious problem.

If you have decided you want to take the plunge and rid yourself of Facebook altogether, permanently deleting your profile, follow the steps below:

1.  Visit: (sadly, you are going to have to reactivate your account if you have previously deactivated it).
2.  Fill out the form on the site, which is rather short and easy.
3.  Try to not look at everything that is posted.  Most will probably annoy you.
4.  Don't log back in.  You have to be logged out at least 14 days for it to disappear. 
5.  Congratulate yourself on having left.  Purge the urge to create a new profile in the future and instead work towards something that the time that (a)social networking has taken away from you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How do I get a loved one off Facebook?

A few people have asked me how to get a girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife, or other friend off of Facebook and other social media.  It is an interesting question, and one that people obviously are looking for an answer to.  I will admit right away that I do not have all the answers, and I am sure that getting a loved one off Facebook has a lot in common with getting a loved one off of drugs and/or alcohol.  However, that being said, the loved one may not see a problem with Facebook (or other social media) and may not want to leave. 

First, it is a good idea to show that loved one how leaving (a)social media has helped you out.  Have you accomplished a lot since leaving Facebook?  Did you previously spend hours reading Twitter?  Did that Pinterest account take way too much of your time?  Did you babysit LinkedIn until your brain felt obliterated?  Talk with that loved one, and tell them how your life has improved.  Do something productive while they are on (a)social media. 

Second, if you want a loved one to leave (a)social media, than you must stay away from it.  Do not check their account, do not sign up, and try to not talk much about it.  Show them that sites like Facebook play absolutely no part in your life.  When they ask questions such as "do you miss Facebook", tell them the truth nicely and explain why you left.  Ask them questions back to stimulate thought.  Some good questions are:

*Do you ever think about leaving Facebook?
*Do you think you are missing out on other activities by spending time on social networking sites?
*Is there something else you would rather do than check your Facebook/Twitter/MySpace?
*Do you feel your life is lacking compared to others?
*What do you find enjoyable about being on sites such as Facebook?
*What do you think your life would be like without such sites?  Would it be horrible/better?
*Do you ever miss the days before social networking?
*How long do you think you could go without social networking?
*Do you ever feel angry or upset by the amount of time you spend on or by the actions of other people on social networking sites?

You may think of some better questions to ask.  Chances are, you know a lot about that loved one, and know how to get them to think.  If they are older, chances are they probably do miss something about a world before Facebook and other social networking.  If they are young, they might not understand what it was like before cell phones and Facebook, and other such technology.  You may want to entice them to learn about that part of history. 

Another good idea would be to challenge a loved one to give up the site for a while.  Perhaps you both use social networking and would like to quit.  If not, perhaps your loved one wants you to give up something.  Maybe this would be a chance to give up some vice of your own in exchange to allow your loved one to see what life without Facebook and other social networking is like.  You can try to make it fun.  Maybe offer a reward for certain stages.  For example, for a week of not getting on Facebook you could enjoy dinner together, bake cookies, or go camping.  For a month, you may want to do something even more special.  There is a lot you can do to make it fun for both of you.

Third, don't belittle the person for not wanting to give up social networking.  Perhaps the individual in question does not see social networking as an addiction.  Many people don't.  Some people do not think that Facebook can be seen as an addiction.  Although sites like Facebook are not evil in themselves, they often can and do bring out negative emotions in people.  And while those sites are merely tools, they breed a deep curiosity about the lives of others that makes it very hard to not check.  As humans, who are very social by nature, we want to know what others are doing.  We want to know how our competition is getting by.  It is natural that we are drawn to sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn.  Such sites have opened up a portal into the lives of others.  Where I grew up, in a very small community, people used to talk about the lives of others.  In environments like high school and college, many individuals keep tabs on others.  Neighbors like to know what their neighbors are doing.  Facebook has made that easy, as every person on the site is a potential neighbor.  As such, being on (a)social media is very tempting for some.  More tempting for some than others (some people automatically hate sites like Facebook and never would consider joining).  We all have our vices, and if you want to help someone, you must not make them feel bad for being on Facebook.  If you do, chances are they will only become defensive and find reasons why they should not leave.  It may become a battle between the two of you that could last a very, very long time.

The goal is to get the individual in question to start moving towards recovery, NOT to give up Facebook right away.  Giving up something "cold turkey" is good for some people, but for many, it does not work.  I had a friend who loved to eat meat, but she one day decided to be vegan.  Guess how long that lasted?  Not very.  Like my friend, many people may love Facebook.  They may find (a)social media to be their connection to the outside world.  Perhaps they do not have many offline friends, but online, they are very popular.  Perhaps they were ridiculed in high school, but now they believe that they are suddenly cool.  Maybe your loved one is proud of his/her life accomplishments and feels that the only way they can really share those accomplishments is via (a)social networking.  Recovery will involve showing that individual that there is a life beyond (a)social networking: that there is a way to share their accomplishments with others in different forms.  There are other ways to be social where people are accepting.  Ways that involve real human interaction. 

When you show your loved one that you have a real life outside of Facebook they may start to become curious.  They may see that you are happier away from Facebook than you were when you were on Facebook.  (A)social media is full of fighting amongst individuals, petty bickering, and psychological competition.   Chances are that your loved one will start to become unhappy with their (a)social media experience sooner or later.  Chances are they will not log in for an extended period.  If this happens, this would be a great time to open dialog with that person.  Talk to that person, ask if they have ever thought about leaving, or taking a break.  Ask them the questions outlined above, even if you have asked them before.  Do not push the subject too much, and show them that you care. 

Proper treatment involves removing the desire to log on (a)social media.  Take your loved one somewhere where they are not surrounded by a computer.  Offer to take them to a park, on a walk, camping, or even the mall.  Spend time conversing.  Ask them if they would not mind leaving their cell phone (the portal to (a)social media) behind.  Tell that person that you would like some time alone with them.  Just the two of you.  They may not understand (it's hard to get people away from their cell phones I have found).  However, let them know that it's important.  Chances are they will have a more memorable time without the phone than they would checking it every few minutes.

At home, plan activities that do not involve the computer.  A movie night, gardening, painting, and similar activities foster creativity.  Is there something that your loved one enjoyed doing that now lacks because of (a)social media?  Perhaps  your loved one liked to write before Facebook.  Show some interest in their writings.  Ask to read some of the things they made.  Perhaps help them create a blog on which they can write while on the computer.  If the loved one likes to draw, purchase them a nice art set.  Consider taking a class with them.  There are many things that one can do away from (a)social media that will make someone feel that they are creating their own life; a fuller life than sitting behind a screen waiting for a new status update to appear.

Consider the fact that the reaction from the loved one could be negative.  They may see your want to get them off Facebook as a way to control or manipulate them.  You must not be too rushed to end their addiction.  Ridding an addiction takes a lot of time.  Further, if you force the issue, they may feel the need to sneak onto sites like Facebook.  It is all too easy to log in with a cell phone when nobody is looking.  Further, do not take matters into your own hands and change their password or try to lock them out of their own account: that is a serious breach of trust.  It is incredibly easy to get one's password changed if forgotten, and it will only bring more misery than is necessary. 

The best way to make someone give up (a)social media is to show them that life without it is very enjoyable.  Suggest they keep a journal of their progress.  Show curiosity in the accomplishments that they have made.  Congratulate them for all that they do.  Encourage them to create something.  Show them the joy in living without (a)social media.  Encourage them to call others instead of using the computer to e-mail.  Share your life and your accomplishments since leaving Facebook as they unfold.  If they log on Facebook again, do not become angry.  Chances are they will feel a compelling urge to go back at least once.  However, they may find that Facebook is silly or not as great as they once thought.  Perhaps they will only be angry at themselves for logging on, and you should not add to their anger or frustration.  Tell them that you too had the urge to go back (if true) and tell them that it is normal. 

It is possible to get a loved one to leave Facebook and other (a)social media, but you must show compassion instead of being controlling.  (A)social media may be popular at this point in history, but chances are it will fade away in time.  Show your loved one that you will accept them no matter what choices they make.  After all, many relationships seem to end all too easily in this age.

If you are looking for other ways to get your loved one off (a)social media, there are many addiction websites that may offer help, as well as support groups for addiction in your area.  If the individual agrees that they have an addiction, being there for them is the best thing you can do.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Revisiting LinkedIn: now may be the time to leave.

It seems that more people are leaving sites like LinkedIn.  Part of the reason is that there have been some issues with password hacking.  While I do not think that is reason enough to leave, it's the push that some people need to question their place on such sites.  After all, if (a)social networking sites are not giving you any return for the amount of time you take maintaining them, are they worth the trouble?

One blogger who I came in contact with stated:
Not that it was the password hack that pushed me over the edge. It was the growing realization that being on LinkedIn meant absolutely nothing to me. I had gone through the whole profile building, adding resume information, connecting with a few hundred people, embedding my (other) blog, and so on. My profile was there and frequently visited, by people I might or might not know and for who knows what reasons.
LinkedIn is very proud of its position in the (a)social networking world.  According to the behemoth, "LinkedIn is the world's largest business network."  That's nice. Does LinkedIn want a cookie for this accomplishment? However, just because something is massive doesn't mean that it is a great thing. Just because multitudes of people have a profile on LinkedIn does not mean that they will find that coveted career that they crave.

Others do not like sites like LinkedIn, as they don't like to leave a trail of personal information around the internet that can be kept and cached for years to come.  I don't blame them.  If one decides to get rid of profiles on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, the profile information can and still does exist indefinately in the servers.  Even when a site is removed from the internet, information is still cached by Google and other search engines.  While I do not mind having some information on the internet about me, it is troubling to think that if I change my mind and want something removed, it may be very hard, if not impossible to get rid of it.  This alone is reason enough for some people to think twice before signing up for such sites.  That being said, many are not aware of this fact when they sign up to these (a)social networking sites.

Recently, CNN ran an article stating that "LinkedIn is a hacker's dream tool"
"If you use LinkedIn, you've probably told the site where you work, what you do and who you work with. That's a gold mine for hackers, who are increasingly savvy in using that kind of public -- but personal -- information for pinpoint attacks."

LinkedIn's vulnerability, though, is inextricably tied to its growth. The site now has 150 million users -- almost twice as many as it had just one year ago. As its database grows richer, its value increases for both its members and those wishing to exploit them.
Further, why should one be compelled to share their work history with the rest of the world?  Perhaps this is just another way in which people show off via the internet.   I also wonder, is LinkedIn a way in which business contacts, rivals, and those who went to college together stroke their egos?  Is it more about finding a job or is it more about validating ones own career path to others and to oneself?  I tend to think it's the latter.

In the end, even with some people stating that LinkedIn is a wonderful resource, I have to say that LinkedIn gave me little to nothing of substantial value. I am not alone. Although I had a well developed profile and group of contacts, I never had any leads to any positions, nor did I find that it proved any more useful than sending out job applications blindly via Craigslist (which tends to not be useful in itself). However, I would venture to guess, blindly sending your resume through Craigslist would probably have a better chance of landing one a job than by babysitting a LinkedIn profile. Coupled with the chance of your information being hacked and having your information strung out across the internet for any individual to see, even far in the future, when one may not want such information visible, makes LinkedIn a losing game. So what it's the biggest and greatest business network in all the land? In the end it's a huge time sink that has little chance of paying off.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Are People Getting Tired of Facebook?

Sometimes people search my blog, asking: Are people getting tired of Facebook?  Others wonder if Facebook is becoming less popular.  It is hard to tell exactly if Facebook is losing its luster with the world, but I would venture to guess that like all things, Facebook was exciting at first, and as time passes, it becomes 'old hat'. 

What were your thoughts when you first began using Facebook?  Mine went something like "it will be great to find some of my old classmates.  They are sure going to be impressed when they see the awesome things I have accomplished with my life!"  Some people may wonder if their old friend who was a trouble maker in the classroom is now a troublemaker in the jail.  Maybe that hot girl that you liked is all settled down with a bevy of children.  Maybe she is not as pretty as she once was?  And what about uncle Carl, does he have a Facebook too? 

Recently, ran an article about Facebook charging for special features.  The Article stated:

Facebook has indeed started to test a “pay to promote” tool in New Zealand: To give an item posted on Facebook a better chance of being seen by family, friends and others, users can pay a small fee to promote it. The highest price that users are being charged is about $2.00, notes the BBC. A Facebook spokesperson would not provide additional information about whether the test would be extended to other places or when will end.

"It's OK, Facebook won't be around forever"
Would you pay $2.00 $7.00 to have your posts have a better chance of being read by your family or friends?  Should a person have to pay to have their family or friends take notice of what they have to say?!  I found this thought to be crazy.  I was not the only person.  (Edit: this "feature" has since been implemented in the United States as well as most countries in which Facebook is terrorizing with its presence).

In fact, scanning through the comments, I noticed that many people did not use Facebook and that many were appalled at the idea of paying to have your comment be better noticed.  In fact, this shows me that Facebook is becoming more desperate to be the king of the (a)social networking world.  There are many people who remember MySpace and how at one time almost everyone had a MySpace account.  Some people still do.  I recently remembered that I even made an account for my now deceased pet a few years ago.  In fact, many of my friends have Facebook accounts for pets and even characters on video games.  However, the reality is that many of those who I speak with are stating that they don't really see the point of Facebook any longer.  Even one individual, who has at least three accounts on Facebook that she used to use consistently, told me that she is thinking of leaving Facebook (I hope she does).  The truth is, for many Facebook no longer has the grand allure that it once held.  In other words, Facebook is losing its popularity and, there is no doubt that it will eventually be almost forgotten.

In one article that I recently read, an analyst predicted that Facebook will disappear by 2020.  Of course, there is no way to say for certain if he is right or wrong.  But, I believe that there is much truth in his prediction.  Can you really still see society hooked on Facebook for another 8 years?  I can't.  Even if Facebook is huge today, that does not mean that it will be huge in the future.  Technology changes faster than ever, and there is a good chance that something new and fresh will be invented that will replace Facebook, and hopefully (a)social networking as a whole, for good.

Is Facebook losing popularity?  I sincerely hope so.  Only time will tell.  I am interested in what you think.  Does Facebook still hold a presence in your life, your friends and families lives, or is it becoming less and less noticeable in your day to day life? 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Facebook and Traveling -- Rise of the Facebook Zombies

Author's Note: This is not a Halloween related post. This is real life.

Recently I was in Seattle and had the pleasure of staying at the Green Tortoise Hostel near the Pike Place Market.  It was a very nice hostel with clean and safe facilities, nice staff, and an amazing location steps from the market and downtown area.  Having not used Facebook in quite a while, I (for a brief time) had forgot that the rest of the world is somewhat obsessed with it.  In fact, when I was in the common area trying to access the internet I could not help but notice that there were many people viewing Facebook.  In fact, there were at least a dozen people using the internet, and as I looked at them all in turn, I noticed every single one of these individuals was on Facebook!

Traveling is one of my favorite pastimes.  I usually stay in hostels while outside of the US, and have only stayed in hostels in a few US cities.  However, I have noticed that no matter where I am, there are always many people posting on Facebook.  I have only used Facebook on one of my travels, a month long trip to Panama and Costa Rica.  I did not use it much, as I never had too many friends on Facebook.  Further, I always thought using the internet a lot while on a vacation was somewhat of a waste of time.  I believe that unless I am using the internet to learn about the location and find nearby things that I do not want to miss, then I should not be on the internet while away. However, that does not stop many from spending hours a day while on vacation hooked up on Facebook.  I ask; why spend thousands of dollars taking a trip if you are going to spend much of that time on Facebook?


There is a deep desire in us to share (or brag) about that which we do.  Often we perceive that others envy us while we are away at exotic locations.  Perhaps our families and friends have never been somewhere so different and exciting.  Life back home could never be as exciting as that which is before us on our travels.  Or so we like to think.  Since the earliest days of exploration, the idea of new and exotic places have fascinated many but been seen by few.  The truth is, Facebook has made it easy to brag about that which we do, and it is on my travels that I see people using Facebook the most (a close second would be in the classroom).  If we are bragging about something on Facebook, such as the adventures we are having, are we really having adventures, or are we bragging?  Time is being lost as people post about their exploits around the world instead of enjoying the new locale that they are in for only a limited time.  Why sit in front of a computer while white beaches and historic cities beckon around you?  Why not get out and explore instead of trying to make someone else feel jealous?  Perhaps you are only sharing your vacation with family and friends with no intention of making them jealous.  However, if that is the case, could you not share it with them via e-mail or in person once you arrive back home?  Do you really need to be hooked on Facebook, or the internet, while on your vacation?

The Rise of the "Facebook Zombies"

Looking around at the many screens displaying Facebook I was horrified to find that I was in a room full of Facebook Zombies.  People totally immersed in the virtual world of Facebook, totally disconnected from the sites and sounds of the city around them.  Keep in mind that this was not late night or early morning hours.  The time I speak of was late day, shortly before sunset -- the time of day that the city is the most alive.  It was not raining out, the market was still open, and there was much happening.  Why not take a stroll along the waterfront, visit the Pike Street Market, grab a cheap bite to eat at Uwajimaya, or walk to Capitol Hill or Queen Anne?  The new Olympic Sculpture Garden and Belltown both make for a nice end of the day stroll.  An evening spent watching the sunset over the city via the ferry to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton would be better than glaring at a screen that will still be there when the trip is all said and done.


I made sure that Facebook did not interfere with my vacation, and I hope that it will not interfere with your next trip, no matter where it will be.  People are often busy with their lives, and when it comes time to get some time off and see a new part of the world, I hope that they will take advantage of the time that they have to enjoy it.  Why spend time in the confines of a hostel looking at Facebook when new adventures beckon?  If one feels like being social, there are few places better to meet new people than in a hostel.  Being on Facebook does not make one more social, in fact, in the atmosphere of a hostel, it makes one appear everything but.  Please, don't find yourself losing valuable time in a place so rich and varied by using Facebook instead of going out and enjoying everything that there is to be enjoyed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Childhood Nightmare

Facebook stock is crumbling around us, and I ask, "was it really a smart investment?"  The truth is many have been hurt by the investment and a simple "I told you so" will not replace the sadness that many people are feeling right now due to the overvalued stock.

One interesting article I read has to do with an 11 year old boy who invested $10,000 in Facebook.  $10,000.  His mother states, "It's really disappointing, because we could have made money on this."  Truth is -- there is not much money being made.  However, many people still think Facebook is a super-valuable commodity that is worth putting money into.  Are you going to bet your family's future on a fad?  Is investing any substantial amount of money worth the huge gamble that is Facebook? 

Here is the story, in case you are interested.  I picked it up from the New York Post online edition (I usually don't read this paper, but was pointed to the story from an acquaintance.)

Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg will not get a friend request from this 11-year-old any time soon.

Fifth-grader Sam Lesser is one of a long line of average-Joe investors who still don’t know if their orders for Facebook shares have been filled — three days after he plunked down $10,000 on the company.

“They are holding my money hostage,” said Lesser, a student at The Town private school who lives on the Upper East Side.

The stock trader’s dreams of owning a small slice of Facebook turned into a nightmare on Friday, when he and his mother found out his order for 300 shares may not have been filled due to Nasdaq computer glitches.

Lesser — who likes to play football and tennis when he’s not playing the stock market — anted up $10,000 by using the profits from the small business he started, called SML Networks.

His company sells bracelets and skateboards, mostly to classmates and neighbors.
“It’s really disappointing, because we could have made money on this,” he said.
He would know.
Lesser owns a stake in Apple — which he bought when he was 5.
He won’t say how much it’s worth.

As for his Facebook trades, Lesser and his mom are still haggling with officials at their local Fidelity Investments.
“We’ve spoken with three senior traders and nobody seems to have any answers at Fidelity,” said Lesser’s mom.
“We feel misguided and misled,” she said, adding that some of her son’s potential profits were going to go to Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong charity.
Average investors, like the Lessers, are fuming as they wait to hear whether their orders will ever be completed.
“We continue to deal with the aftermath of Friday’s [trading glitches],” said Fidelity spokesman Steve Austin.

Fidelity, along with a number of retail firms like Charles Schwab, were being flooded with orders for Facebook during its IPO, Austin said.

The firms are waiting to get a response from Nasdaq, and only then will they be able to tell customers if their orders were canceled or completed.

Nasdaq might have to fork over as much as $150 million to make big institutional investors whole due to similar trading issues, sources said.
The main culprit for the computer glitches is the long backlog of cancel orders that gummed up Nasdaq’s system right before the IPO began.

A staggering 581 million shares of Facebook traded hands on Friday, and Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld has said he is “embarrassed” about the glitches.  Source: New York Post
As of the close of the markets today, Facebook is valued at $25.869.  This is quite a drop since the last post I mentioned the value of Facebook being over $30.  I have a feeling that Facebook will settle at a lower price and hover there.  It was a very poor investment from the get go, and that can not be blamed on any computer malfunction.  The truth was, Facebook was HUGELY OVERVALUED and not worth anything near what people speculated.  There was not 'vast sums of money to be made' from investing in the site, and in time more people are going to see that.  Until then, I hope your future investments turn out better, and that your time will not be spent in front of the computer on Facebook.