Friday, December 21, 2012

We are told: "You Need Facebook"

Facebook is seen by many as a necessity of modern life.  We are told, "it is important to be connected," or that "you have to have a Facebook account."  We are asked about our (a)social network connections as if we are expected to automatically be connected.  If we are not, we are questioned, being asked, "why don't you have a Facebook account?"

Perhaps this is due to the extrovert-centric world we live in.  I still constantly hear family members talk about what they posted on Facebook or what someone else said.  The reason I left Facebook was partly because I didn't care to hear this constant barrage of noise.  Yet, I am still given people's status updates even though I am not on the site any longer.  People feel that I should still somehow know what's going on.   They feel that I should hear what has been posted on Facebook.  They seem to think that it is as if I want these status updates.  As if I somehow need these status updates. 

I still hear how certain family members have posted pictures on Facebook and that it's "too bad I can't look at them."  It is too bad.   Not that I am not on Facebook, but that others feel that there is no need to share things with people who are not on Facebook.  It is almost as if people who are not on Facebook are somehow being punished for not creating and maintaining an account.   We are told, in essence, that "if you are not on Facebook, then you can not know about my life."  I did not leave Facebook because I don't care about people.  I left Facebook because I was sick of the "noise."  I got sick of the constant barrage of stupidity that I saw on that site.  I got sick of the time I spent using the site.  I got sick of how I felt after I logged off.  Not because I was jealous of others.  No, because I could not believe the things that many would say.  That I could not believe that I opted to use (a)social networking instead of improving my life.  Like the woman in the video above, I felt like a used towel once I logged off Facebook.  No person should have to feel like a used towel, ever.

I have noticed that some do not seem to care about improving their life.  Life, to many, is showing off how "social" one can be.  But is that what life is all about?  What is gained by spending so much time on a website showing the world that you are "social?"  Is it that important to thrust one's self out to the rest of the world?  Is it that important to put your entire life on stage?  Do you really need all your friends to know where you checked into via FourSquare?  Do you really need all your friends to know what your food looked like?  Do you really need the world to know what building you are in?

There is a lot of talk about the end of the world happening today.  I am sure that's another hot topic of Facebook, and one that I am glad I don't have to see.  It seems to me that these kinds of topics are just a waste of time.  The world will still be around after today ends, yet millions of people will have wasted countless amounts of time discussing the possibility that it will end.  It all comes down to more time wasted on Facebook.

Does it matter how a person spends ones time?  Who am I to say how a person should spend their free time?  One could argue that it is in fact none of my business.  To be honest, it is not.  However, many people could benefit from stopping for a moment and reflecting on how much time they pour into Facebook and other (a)social network sites.  There is a serious problem when families stop interacting with each other off the internet, when people begin to trade the outside world for that which is happening on their cell phone, and when people feel that everybody should join these sites.  A person only has so long to live.  I ask: when you look back on your life, are you going to be happy with how you spent it?  We have the whole world around us to enjoy.  Why spend life glued to a small device?  Why spend so much time on a website that gives back little of substance? 

If you are on Facebook because of the mistaken belief that it is a necessity, you may want to rethink your choice.  Facebook is only seen as a necessity because it is advertised that way.  Facebook exists to make money.  In order to make money, Facebook must have many people addicted to the site.  (Another recent study has shown that Facebook is addictive)[1].  Without those people, Facebook ceases to exist.  The world will still go on.  Just as the world will go on tomorrow.  Your world doesn't have to end with Facebook.  It's your choice.


[1] University of Bergen, Facebook Addiction Study

Friday, December 14, 2012

Self-Expression and (a)Social Networking

Facebook's claim to fame: manufacturing jealousy.

With the holidays approaching, I have been hearing how (a)social network sites like Facebook and the highly-worthless Twitter (scourge of the internet) are replacing greeting cards.  I have noticed, over the years, that Christmas cards are not as popular as they once were.  I am not a huge "Christmas card" fanatic, but it is interesting to see that people are taking to using (a)social media to say "happy holidays" instead of sending out a card or taking a, what one might call, more thoughtful approach that singles out another individual and shows that they care.

(A)social network sites also seem to be devaluing expression as a whole.  I have taken particular notice in the last few years that people are spending less time on expressing themselves on a deep level (such as through creating) and instead use (a)social networks to "express" themselves.  This may not seem like a big deal to some, who are busy with their lives, or who feel that there is no time to express one's self.  However, I think that self expression is an important part of one's life.  Limiting one's self-expression through (a)social networking, or even the internet, is not good for a person's psychological well being.

Self-expression is key to understanding and asserting yourself and your own uniqueness to the world.  While some may argue that it is fine to limit all of your self-expression to Facebook, the truth is, that is not good at all.  In fact, it's very limiting, and is, frankly, somewhat depressing.  Facebook, contrary to what some may say, is not much of a form of self-expression.  Being on Facebook is more akin to trying to yell louder than everyone else to get yourself seen by more people.  Why else did Facebook roll out a way for people to pay to have their post at the top?  People exist on Facebook largely to assert that they are living a better and more exciting life than others.  That is not healthy self-expression.  That is oftentimes no better than bragging.  Further, many people have reported feeling down on themselves because they feel that their lives are not as exciting as others on Facebook.  That is sad, because everyone is unique, and anyone can have an exciting life. 

I have found that the people who claim to have the best lives on Facebook are the ones who are on Facebook the most.  That does not sound like a very exciting life to me.  The idea of living my life on Facebook terrifies me.  One can not do much with their time on this Earth if they are busy posting status updates and trying to outdo others on an (a)social networking site. 

There is nothing wrong with spending time alone.
One's self expression should not always be put on stage.  There is something about expressing one's self through writing or drawing, or in other forms of creating, even if nobody else sees that creation.  We live in a time where one feels that they have to share everything with the world.  One should not feel compelled to have to share every small thing in their life with the world on Facebook.  However, many do.  Many are obsessed with the idea of the world being more "transparent" (one of those current buzzwords which is overused).  Many people are alright with there being very little privacy in the world.  For these types, there is nothing wrong with Facebook, only something wrong with those who are not on Facebook.  Many think that if you are not on Facebook, you are a sociopath or have something to hide.  Some people can not comprehend that some people value their privacy enough to not be on Facebook.  While many think that not being on Facebook is devious or somehow unhealthy, others are aware that being on Facebook and other (a)social networking sites is unhealthy.  There is nothing good about feeling compelled to compete with people who otherwise would have probably been strangers.  There is nothing good about having to "prove" yourself to the world when you should be happy with who you are. 

Yet, I have found that many people who are on Facebook are often unhappy with themselves.  This is not true of everyone, but for those heavy users of Facebook, I find that they judge themselves in a negative light when compared to others.  Many people do not think that they are an alright human being when they compare themselves with the so-called "exciting" life that others try to project.  Yet, the "exciting" lives that others project is often a fa├žade.  Contrary to what you hear from many, the heavy users on Facebook are the ones who are often (a)social (hence the apt term, (a)social networking).  These are the ones who are the most unhappy with their lives.  They could get a lot out of leaving Facebook behind and coming back to the real world, where they can learn to love themselves again.  They would be perhaps happier with themselves and their accomplishments if they put the amount of time they use on Facebook towards to building a better life for themselves. 

I have seen Facebook destroy many a person's creativity.  I have seen people join Facebook to become lethargic about the outside world.  They let the lives of others end their life.  If they would leave (a)social networking behind and come back to the world that they were once creative in, they would no doubt be happier with their life. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Garnishing Pity Through (a)Social Networking

If there is one thing that people love about the internet, it's the fact that the internet makes it very easy for a person to complain.  Whether it's about one's life, about the state of the world, or about other people, there's no other place to complain quite like the internet.  I have found that (a)social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter make it all too easy for one to complain about the perceived realities of one's life.

There are winners and "losers" in the world.  Winners tend to have a positive outlook on life.  Oftentimes, instead of complaining, they focus their energies into creating something and changing their life.  If life deals them an unsavory hand, the winners will oftentimes go make sure that they can change their life. 

"Losers" on the other hand (a word I don't care for much, but it fits in this context), complain about life.  No matter what happens, there is always something negative which can possibly bring them pity from others.  When things get rough, these people often will complain to no end about it.  When there is an opportunity to get out of the hole that the complainer is in, they don't always climb out, but instead they find that (a)social networking sites and the internet as a whole is a therapeutic place to complain.  However, their complaining oftentimes gets drowned out by the complaining of others who also lament their lot in life.

My Experience with this on Facebook

When I left Facebook, I noticed that many of my "friends" were very negative about their lives.  Not just about one issue, but about everything that can be imagined.  Oftentimes, being negative on Facebook brings attention.  One of my "friends" used her negativity to garnish sympathy from others.  Oftentimes (about once every couple of months) she would state "I am going to get rid of people on my Facebook unless you tell me you want to be friends still."  This was her way of crying out to the world for attention.  Her life has, in many ways, stagnated since she began Facebook.  She gets what she wants out of site and will probably never leave the world of (a)social networking behind.

I have found that people are not only overly negative on sites like Facebook, but all over the internet.  Many internet forums are rife with individuals complaining about their life, the economy, and anything else they can think of.  Many people would find that their lives were not so horrible if they tried to change their lives.  Instead, they see that wallowing in self-pity is a lot easier for them than making their life better.  I have seen internet forums were people have pretty much given up trying in life because other people who complain constantly could not or did not get ahead in life.  I have been to websites where a person who does get ahead and succeed in life is called a liar or a bragger, and where the complainers say that he/she is an "anomaly" and one should "not expect similar results."

Facebook is a prime play place for complainers and those who are not happy with their lives.  Now, let me say not everyone on Facebook is like this, and some of my friends on the site were pretty positive people.  However, as a whole, I found there was a lot more negativity on Facebook.  Whether it was in the form of politics (the world is going to hell) or in the form of "my life is awful." 

One issue that I often see that is apparent in people who are upset about their lives is that they oftentimes believe that life is "randomly generated."  Many people hope that tomorrow will bring them better luck or an opportunity.  Instead of trying to seek out opportunities, many individuals instead just wait for them to appear.  Sadly, opportunities rarely just come about.  Oftentimes opportunities are created. 

For those who are on Facebook, opportunities seem to come less often.  Why?  Because, sitting on Facebook is a very passive way to live life.  Instead of actively trying to better your life through learning, doing things, creating, and engaging in the outside world, the Facebook obsessee is living his/her life through (a)social networking.  Opportunities rarely manifest themselves when one is busy (a)socializing through Facebook.  Living a passive life is not going to bring one much success.  Living life through Facebook and the internet is perhaps the most passive life one can live.

A winner's outlook on life is generally positive.
Whining on the internet does not do anyone any good.  The whiner only convinces him/herself more that he/she is powerless and can not change their life.  Those who see others whining are often compelled to do the same.  By beholding such whining constantly, we feel down on our own lives.  If one constantly reads things that are negative about life, they will undoubtedly start to develop a negative attitude of their own.  I believe this is one reason why Facebook seemed to become a more and more negative place right before I left it.  I found that I often felt angry at myself for spending time on the site.  I would think about the negative aspects about it later.  I become judgmental, angry, and sometimes lethargic about life when I used the site.  It was only when I let go that I really saw my life start to change.  Leaving Facebook alone won't change your life.  A new attitude is important.  Getting rid of the negativity will help.  In fact, if you are trying to become a more positive person, you should probably leave Facebook.  The site is rife with negativity that will consume you.  Spend a week off the site.  I am sure you will notice a difference.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Future With (a)Social Networking?

What do you want your future to look like? Do you have goals, dreams and desires which you one day hope to obtain? Or are you drifting aimlessly through life? Is life comprised of waking up, checking your Facebook and Twitter, then going to bed? If so, you are not alone. Many people currently live life on autopilot, basing everything on what they see on Facebook, Twitter, and other (a)social media.  Yet, (a)social networking is said to be "fun" and "necessary." 

Now that the Pope has joined Twitter (@ponifax) there is something for everyone it seems. Instead of going to Church, why not just listen to a 140 character sermon? In fact, the pope will be answering religious questions via Twitter in the next few days. How great! 

The reality is, if you are basing your life on (a)social networking, you are wasting your life.

Ask yourself what you have accomplished since joining Facebook. Ask yourself what your "Facebook friends" have accomplishes on Facebook? Have their lives resulted in a virtual standstill? Are they achieving or stagnating? I bet you a quarter it's the latter. Now that the pope will be delivering a Twitter sermon, we should all hope and pray that these sites end sooner than later. What is the world coming to where faith is fueled by Tweets? Twitter and Facebook together comprise the biggest piles of garbage on the internet. The 'misinformation pollution' that results from these sites is HORRENDOUS! Sadly, people eat the stuff up, often basing their whole lives around what they hear and read on Facebook! How ludicrous!

What did you imagine the future to be like when you were a wee little child?


"I spent another whole day on Facebook/Twitter."
When I was a child, reading issues of Nintendo Power and dabbling in new technologies, I imagined the future world to be something incredible!  Flying cars, musical instruments that played themselves, less pollution and other such ideas filled my young naive head.  I never thought about (a)social networking.  In fact, I never once dreamed that society would be glued to their cell phones twenty four hours a day.  I never imagined that people would communicate through sites like Twitter and spy on their high school class via Facebook.  Looking back at what I imagined the world to be and how it turned out disgusts me.  Sometimes I believe I was born in the wrong time.  I can't help but hold hope for a future without these disgusting sites, but the reality is that such a future may be far off. 

There is something innate about human nature where one craves to compare themselves with other people.  The internet makes that all too easy.  For those who say Facebook and Twitter are about "staying in touch," they are lying to themselves.  Facebook is a spy tool.  A way to compare yourself to your friends and enemies.  It's a way to tell yourself that you are better than some, worse than others.  Facetwit allows you to place yourself on a hierarchy where you and your 'friends' are all listed.  Did you do something funner than your brother-in-law this weekend?  Did your baby happen to make the cutest face?  Did your dinner get the most likes?  Did your quasi-offensive joke get noticed?  Was that $7 you paid to make it get more noticed well spent? 

Facebook and Politics


I can't even imagine the hell that was Facebook this political season.  I was, gladly, not a part of Facebook during the height of the Romney versus Obama arguments that basically shut down the internet.  I heard stories of some people in my family talking about it being "the end of the world" if one was elected.  They actually believed this and made it known on Facebook!  I can't even imagine shuffling through all that.  Yet, many people really enjoy going off about politics on Facebook.  It's a futile pastime.  You won't change anyone's mind, and you are going to look like an idiot trying to.

Politics, actually, was part of the reason I left Facebook.  I noticed many of my "friends" becoming obsessed about conspiracy theories, which became the hallmark of Facebook about a year ago.  One issue was the Occupy Wall Street protests, which ignited Facebook.  I could not help but wonder why those who were against corporate greed were on Facebook.  I could not help but wonder why those who were so adamant about freedom were on a website that has incredibly shady policies in regards to information sharing. 

What do you want your future to look like?


Do you want a future where you are still glued to Facebook?  What did you do yesterday, anyway? 
"Just one more tweet..."
Did you blow a few hours on Twitter?  Did you spy on your ex on Facebook?  Did you honestly believe that Facetwit was making you a better person?  If so, I am sincerely sorry.  There is no reason for you to literally blow through a day, hour, or even a minute on those sites.  The garbage of the internet.  The dregs of society. 

By the way, it won't be the pope himself that is tweeting.  You see, people with lives have no real place on these sites.  Twitter and Facebook don't make one greater, they instead make one stagnate.  If you want to get anywhere in life, you may want to step back from Facetwit and instead think of the goals and dreams you have for your own life and go towards them.  If anything, Facebook/Twitter is a procrastination machine.  It's time to turn 'em off.