Seven years ago I innocently started using a service that required personal information to be submitted in order for it to function properly. Stories, photos, and comments – to name a few – were submitted in order to make this system understand what I liked, who were my friends were, the relationship with my family and so on. All of this with the sole purpose of selling something to the highest bidder, and that something was me.
After years of working with this system, it suddenly struck me that Facebook can quickly turn into an addiction, hindering your attention span and eventually turning you into a selfish, narcissistic dick. I wish I were joking but I have seen this behavior repeat itself time and time again with various “friends” with incredibly different backgrounds, including myself.
Facebook also turns you into an information junkie, which would be great if this information was valuable and assisted you in becoming a better human being. Unfortunately, we spend countless hours scrolling through this never-ending feed of bullshit from people we don’t give a rat’s ass about. This does not mean I am making the assumption that you never see in real life some of your Facebook friends, I am sure you do. But I am positive that the vast majority of people in everyone’s Facebook wall are people whom they barely have any contact with; and yet here we are listening on what they did on their summer holidays or watching photos of their spoiled brat’s sweet sixteen. To put it into Passenger’s words:
Well, I hate pointless status updates on Facebook. FYI we were never “m8”s. We pretend to be friends on the internet when in real life, we have nothing to say
I do understand that some Facebook users might think it works for them for legitimate purposes, such as finding out what their friends are doing. But seriously, if you cared that much about that person, wouldn’t he/she tell you by a more personal delivery system? If the only way you can find out about what a person is doing is by being the recipient of a broadcast, then I hate to tell you this but that person should not be categorized as a friend. An acquaintance at most, but not a friend.
It’s been more than a month since I have stopped looking at my Facebook wall and I feel like a great weight was lifted off of me. Like any addiction, this was not easy to begin with. I felt the urge to slide open my iPhone and tap on that white F on the blue background as soon as I was waiting at at bus stop : “gee – I wonder what some people who have no importance in my life are doing right now”. It got to the point to where I deleted the app from the phone to prevent me from looking at it every 15 minutes.
The consequences of such actions have been quite striking. I actually talk, call, or chat with people I care about instead of assuming how they are by looking at their statuses. My mood has been a lot better by avoiding the poisonous comments internet trolls flood news sites with. Yes, I know I did not have to look at them but it was the same effect as not looking at a car accident as you are driving by. I feel at peace with myself and I feel as good as when I stopped smoking. Detoxication at its best!
“All very nice, grumpy, but why have you not deleted your Facebook account, you big hypocrite?” Ah, interesting question. The main reason why my account hasn’t been deactivated is because I use Facebook for business purposes to assist some clients I do web work to reach their target audience. So yes, I am the biggest hypocrite for monetizing on a system I am currently criticizing. Do I feel guilty? Not in the very least – I am using Facebook for what it was meant to be used: to target clueless people who constantly provide information that makes them prime candidates in marketing campaigns. You did not think you were getting all that stuff for free, did you?
This is not a call-to-action in any way. If you are happy using Facebook, then by all means please use it. As I would tell anyone who is a user of any drug and denies they have a problem with it: can you go through your life without using it for a month? If you are sure you can go about without it but see no need in proving it, I remind you: acceptance is the first step when dealing with an addiction.
Feel free to comment in the newly designed comment section below, which allows you to use your Facebook login to comment so that your friends know what you have been up to. IT IS AWESOME!!!!