Mark Zuckerberg is a genius! He came up with one of the most successful social networking websites, Facebook. Facebook pretty much defines what many of people presume of social media. It started out as a simplistic, innocent way to connect with people that attended a major university and now has blasted the entire world so that everybody as well as businesses and groups can use the power of Facebook. I had a 7 year run with Facebook!
As of 2 weeks ago, I decided to go against the norm and delete my Facebook account. I analyzed this for a few weeks before I did it and weighed the same pros and cons that I’m about to outline in this blog post. I think the mission of Facebook is a wonderful purpose that goes with the advancements of our society, but with every good thing, there are also undesirable effects created. The following are only my opinion and I’m not asking anyone else to share them with me, but I’ve been asked several times why I left Facebook, so I thought I’d share a composite of my reasons.
1. Facebook creates fabricated relationships. This is really the major reason why I left. I have been doing a lot of self-reflecting lately, and realized that among my hundreds of friends, there really were only a handful that I actually could consider “friends.” It is certainly interesting to know what is going on in people’s lives that you haven’t seen in years (or decades), but that really doesn’t have any true bearing on my life now. If I do sincerely care what was going on in their lives, there is email, text messaging and phones still available for contact. I don’t believe that true friendships survive purely off of Facebook. I think that Facebook is a great way to complement friendships, but should not be the primary means of keeping a friendship alive. There is this safety blanket with Facebook that is, in my opinion, detrimental to “true” relationships.
2. Facebook creates a myriad of comparison schemes. Let’s face it, people primarily post on Facebook for only a couple of reasons and bragging is probably the biggest one. I think it’s great that people do great things in life, travel, have kids, get promotions, etc. but when those things are the only things that people post, it gets to be very superficial. This sets this “fake” bar really high for others to be happy with their life. There are always people that have bigger houses, nicer cars, longer vacations, etc. than you and it just makes you feel bad about your own life. The truth of the matter is that even the people that only post about how wonderful their life is aren’t happy all the time. “The grass is always greener on the other side.” I believe that when people are constantly bragging about themselves or what they have, there is a lack of substance there and they are trying to make up for what is missing. I think we can only compete with ourselves in all honestly, and we should just focus on trying to make ourselves better instead of feeling like failures because we don’t have as much as the next person.
3. Facebook literally sucks time away. I didn’t realize how much I would unconsciously “check” Facebook. When I would get on my computer, I would (without thought) just go the homepage and browse there for a few minutes, which tallied a significant amount of time by the end of the day. Facebook was on my phone also, so I would check there a few times daily also. I feel that I’m getting much more accomplished both on the blog and in school work now that that’s gone.
4. I am focusing more on the relationships in my life. This goes with #1, but I no longer can post a quick Facebook message that I’m thinking about someone and hope that that is a sufficient action to keep the fire in my relationships going. I am talking to people more and working on those relationships that I want to keep. It’s a breath of fresh air. Let’s face it, it’s weird to know nearly everything that is going on in someone’s life when you haven’t seen or talked to them in person in months (or years). This is what ends real relationships and starts the “fake” ones.
5. There is no drama. Facebook is drama. People un-friending people. People posting controversial messages. People feeling left out of events that they only knew about due to Facebook. Pictures (enough said). Facebook is a big black hole that sucks you in to feeling these things. I pulled myself out and don’t have to know about things unless I choose to!
There are pros of Facebook. It’s purpose is to do good things in the world and those things still exist under all the other clutter of it.
1. You can keep your friends/family updated about your life. When people have kids or take trips, etc. Facebook is a great way to show your family and friends pictures and information without having to individually send everyone the information via email. I miss keeping up with some of the people on there that really were “friends.” Like I said earlier, it’s a great way to complement relationships!
2. You can find old friends and re-connect with them. There are many people that I used to be friends with from high school and other periods of my life that we went separate ways. It was cool to see what they are up to now and how they are doing.
3. You can promote yourself and your work. Facebook is becoming one of the primary marketing tools in the world now. You have a mass audience right at your fingertips!
This is the decision that I have made for the time being. I might change my mind down the road when I have a business or when David and I have kids. These are good uses for Facebook. I will, however, use it much differently than I did in the past. It will be used on a smaller scale to just keep friends and family updated on our lives. I like to keep my site as a harmonious place, so this post isn’t intended to be controversial, rather just another opinion.