To Facebook, or not to Facebook, that is the question I have been hearing a LOT lately!
People are mad. Understandably so. They are upset their data has been shared, harvested, exposed, and that their privacy has not been protected and has been exploited. I get it.
However, I have my own personal issues with the social media giants and it has nothing to do with the morals of the companies. It has to do with how addictive these “communication” tools are, how distracting they are, and how much easier it is to just scroll, scroll, scroll through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter than it is to stop and feel my own feelings.
I keep asking myself, how much is enough? Can any avid social media user answer that question? How many ‘likes’ are enough ‘likes’? How many comments, shares, views do we need to feel satisfied?
Back to my original question, to Facebook, or not to Facebook? I’ve noticed when someone announces they are quitting Facebook or deleting their account others plead, “No, please don’t go, don’t leave me, please stay.” It kind of reminds of my coke addict friends from the 80s, they always wanted someone going down with them, and were never supportive of the people who were trying to get clean and sober.
I have a few friends who completely quit social media over the last few years. When they were active on social media they had a lot of “friends”. They got invited to parties and events and were regularly included in social gatherings. When they left social media, they pretty much got forgotten about by those “friends”. Common “friends” sometimes ask me “oh, how is so and so doing?” But they never reach out and text, call, or write them a letter. Basically, if the person is not on social media they are not there anymore. I think this is what many of us are afraid of. We are afraid of being invisible, of being forgotten, or realizing all those “friends” aren’t actually our friends. The world can be a lonely place.
My friends who left social media actually seem happier now. I talk with them regularly. I ask what they do with their time now that they are not on social media 24/7. They respond with things like work, garden, visit friends and neighbors, relax, read, travel, you know, they do life.
The real question is, does social media connect us or disconnect us? I think it has the potential to do both and that is what we need to pay attention to.
As for me, in answering the question to Facebook or not. For the time being, I plan to keep my account but moderate my use. I removed the app from my phone and am now only checking Facebook from my laptop and am pretty much unplugging during the weekends. For me, the benefits still outweigh the negatives.
***Updated to add this article a friend shared with me after reading this post. Something to think about!
- #MeToo I’m Angry, Disappointed, and Hopeful
- Looking down on the ferry