Friday, January 25, 2013

What to tell people when they ask "why are you not on Facebook?"

Even though I have been off of Facebook for almost a year, I still am often told "I have not seen you on Facebook lately."  Other times I am outright asked, "why are you not on Facebook?"  I often give a short answer that I don't feel that the site is beneficial for me or that I don't see a point in using Facebook.  Many people just look at me with a strange expression on their face as if this is hard to compute for them.  I have come to the conclusion that it is not easy to give a clear reason why I am not on Facebook in a short amount of words.  Therefore, I have written this as what I would like to say when asked, "Why do you not use Facebook?"


There are many reasons I do not use Facebook.  First, After years of using what I like to call (a)social networking, I realized that I was not getting much out of it.  Sure, I could keep in touch with family members and friends, and at first it was a good way to keep in touch with other people.  However, as time progressed I realized that there was little actual interaction between friends and family as they got used to each others presence on the site.  Facebook had turned merely into a way to put ones life on display.  I have absolutely no need to put my life on display for other people.

I have found that many people tie their self-esteem to how others perceive them.  If they are not constantly getting attention they seem to feel that they are not worth much as a person.  With the competition between people and the constant barrage of status updates, one has to try harder than ever to be seen.  What you have now are people that share every small detail of their lives on the internet, from what they ate for dinner to what their smallest pet peeves are.  You have people trying to assert their religious and political beliefs on one another, and if there is a disagreement, even a small one, a battle easily ensues.

Being on Facebook is not healthy.  One becomes obsessive about the site, feeling the need to check it constantly.  While at school during lectures I see people constantly on Facebook, minimizing the page when they need to type notes and opening it seconds later while the professor is speaking.  People compulsively feel the urge to log on no matter where they are.  One thinks about the site and what others said as they go throughout their day.  At work, individuals glance at Facebook while a supervisor is not looking.  At home families ignore each other, posting on Facebook instead of interacting.  Such addiction is not beneficial in the slightest.  If you claim that you are not addicted to Facebook but feel the need to use it on a regular basis, you may want to reevaluate your use of the site.

The biggest reason I left Facebook was that I wanted more out of my life.  I have noticed that many people who I knew as creative types seemed to lose much of their creativity after they become users of Facebook.  Many individuals no longer feel the need to improve their skills in various hobbies, create things, or improve their lives.  Instead, hours are spent on Facebook, engaging in arguments, bragging, and spying on others.  Instead of being a productive person and realizing one's dreams, I notice many people instead opt to assess themselves and where they stand in life by comparing themselves to other Facebook users.  As if it is the Facebook users that they should be comparing themselves to.  This is not how I want to live my life.  This is why I am not on Facebook.

I strongly feel that Facebook and (a)social networking has damaged the way people interact and how people spend their time.  Many people can not even sit through a college lecture without opening their phone or logging onto Facebook on their laptop.  Even though their grade depends on what they learn, many people find that using Facebook is far more important than increasing their intellectual capabilities.  Actions are stronger than words, and the actions of many that use Facebook tell me that Facebook use is far more important to them than developing the self.  Although one may say things on Facebook that make them appear to be worthy of envy, the truth is that if one is spending hours on Facebook, those hours are not being spent bettering the self, learning, discovering, improving abilities, creating, parenting, or becoming a productive individual.

With the foregoing in mind, it is obvious that I would not be on Facebook.  Those who know me should realize that Facebook is not the type of place where I would want to spend my time.  (A)social networking is, in the end, a waste of my time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A New Year Without Facebook.

It's a new year, time to slay Facebook once and for all.

I have talked to many people who state that they want to make a sweeping change to their life this year.  That is great, I say.  One should always try to better themselves and their lives.  There is always room for improvement in everyone's life, no matter what.  I know that there are some changes that I want to make in my own life. 

One way in which people want to change their life is by not spending so much time on the internet.
  I, too, have battled internet addiction at times.  It is too easy to start your modem up sit down in front of the computer or turn on your cell phone and aimlessly surf the internet.  Time goes by remarkably fast when one is sitting in front of a computer screen like Jabba the Hut.  In fact, I have noticed that the relationship between using the computer and weight gain is directly related.  The more time I spend on the internet, the bigger and nastier I become.  When I do step away from the computer, I find that sometimes I feel quite nasty.

If you are still hopelessly addicted to (a)social networking, log into Facebook and take a look at some of your pictures.  Now go to the mirror and see if you look like you did in those pictures.  Do you?  If not, do you wish you did?  Have you improved in looks since starting your use of Facebook, or do you feel repulsed by what you see?

The holidays are generally a time in which people put on a boatload of weight.  Every year after drinking gallons of egg nog and eating bowls of cookies and crackers I notice that I literally put on pounds so I resemble a walrus.  I am never happy with how I look once the new year rolls around.  In fact, I often find myself jogging in place for about 20 seconds on New Year's day and making all sorts of resolutions.  Granted, since I do walk around a lot and exercise, I lose some of the weight during the year.  However, I gain it all back again during the winter months.  Christmas time is just too delicious.

However, I have noticed that the weight gain goes up even faster the more I sit in front of the computer.  Basking in the Facebook sun is going to do nothing for your body (or your mind).  While your friends are posting the same ol' junk that they posted a year ago, you may be risking breaking the chair you are sitting on.  While you are spying on your second cousin or your high school adversary, you are not doing anything to impress those around you.  Sure, you may have come up with something snarky to say or something that could impress an internet acquaintance, but what is the real life cost of that?  Who cares what people on Facebook think of you anyway?  The truth is most people are concerned about themselves.  Most people on Facebook are spending their time competing with their perception of others and not paying attention to anyone in particular other than themselves.  Why are you even on there?  Are you still getting anything off of that site?

Each year we get a little older and some of us wish we did something more with our lives.  Some of us wish we could turn back the clock and take all that time that we wasted and have it to do something worthwhile with.  Do you wish the same thing?  Chances are if not, you will.  There is no reason why you can not stop wasting your life on (a)social networking right now and make some goals.  Create a list of the things that you really want to achieve this year. 

Some of the things I want to do include:

1.  Visit Egypt.
2.  Graduate law school.
3.  Write a book.
4.  Go back home and see my family.
5.  Eat healthier. 
6.  Be more active.

Of course, those goals should be fine tuned (they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted).  For example, goal 5 should have some specific ways in which I want to eat healthier.  However, that is just an example of the things I want to do this year.  Do you have any goals?  Will Facebook get in the way of those goals?  I know that it would get in the way of mine.  The more you set out to do, the less you will want to use Facebook.  Life is really worth so much more than merely being wasted on (a)social networking.