Bye, Bye, Facebook!
Just like any ordinary person, I spend a lot of my free time scanning Facebook and browsing. And lately, I've started researching more about the reasons to be rid of it.
One issue that comes up a lot is how Facebook is a data sharer, basically meaning big companies pay Facebook big money to be sold a heap of individual identities. In normal words, all of my statuses, pictures, names, friends and check-ins are sold to product companies who aim their products at me to increase the chances of me buying them. Here's Facebook's fine print:
And to make it sound a little more weirder, that'd be like a friend of yours who secretly records all of your conversations, takes pictures of you 24/7 and sells these to random strangers. Facebook seems a bit Big Brotherish now doesn't it?!
But the thing is, Facebook can do this because we openly share our entire lives on Facebook. From how we're feeling to what we ate for breakfast, to who we're flirting with and who we're blocking. So Facebook isn't the problem. It's us and our comfortability with making everything public.
Other than the data sharing aspect of it, Facebook is a soul sucking demon. Instead of making people communicate more, it's actually making our relationships shittier. A lot of people say, myself included, "the only reason I keep Facebook is to stay in contact with people." But out of your 500+ friends, how many proper conversations do you have with them?
We're all beginning to believe by us 'liking' or 'commenting' on another person's post or status, that automatically means we are 'in contact' with them. But that's bullshit. That's like when you're in a queue and someone comments on the wait taking forever and you half laugh and agree. That's what a 'like' is in real life. That's it!! A Facebook like is a half laugh.
We are spending our time half laughing at things other people say because they want to get as many people as possible to half laugh with them for a brief moment of acceptance and the feeling of being 'social'.
So the way it portrays itself as allowing people to keep in better contact is stupid really, because I know that the majority of people I talk to on a regular basis, I text, call or talk to in person. The reason for having Facebook is like having a phone book of all the people you've ever met in your life "just incase" there's a day you need to contact them. Otherwise, you don't communicate and they just sit there, streaming through your business like you do with them. It's a vicious cycle that results in people knowing so much about others that it means no one has anything to talk about face to face. That's why it's so common to see a room full of people scrolling like zombies on their phones to see what everyone's doing, instead of absorbing the moment they're in and making connections with the people currently around them.
The big aspect of Facebook is literally the amount of time wasted throughout the day that is filled by uninterested scrolling of my newsfeed. Check out this site Time Wasted On Facebook Generator where for fun it gives you an estimated amount of time you've wasted on Facebook by asking you roughly how much time you spend on it and uses your log in to calculate. I wanted my results to be fairly accurate and said I would spend atleast 3 hours a day on Facebook between scrolling for 5 minutes now and again, to sitting on the bus up and back home, relaxing in the evening, checking it in the morning, etc. So 3 hours is probably under what it actually is, but anyways. This was my result:
202 Days 12 Hours 18 Minutes
That is a fucking prison sentence!
I have NO idea what I spent on Facebook all that time and it all accumulates to nearly a year of time sat like a zombie!! I do it all the time and could pass an entire afternoon just blankly staring at the screen. It's the first thing I check in the morning, the last thing I check at night, it's always there! And we feel a shred of excitement if we ever do get that one inbox message or those few notification because we feel like someone is noticing us and that we're 'in the know'.
Yet the feeling of being noticed is closed linked to FOMO = The Fear Of Missing Out. This is the name given to people who feel they couldn't be without Facebook as a result of thinking they won't know what's going on. Going from absorbing tonnes of other people's information to just talking to a few close friends about what's going on can be daunting.
But this is what life was like before 2004 when Facebook was invented. People had Bebo and Myspace, but we checked it maybe once a day at most. It wasn't on our Nokia phones to see 24/7 what was going on, and we would of spent more time outside in the summer instead of inside taking selfies.
The one thing I know I'd regret is knowing I lived my life just to promote it on Facebook. Even I'll admit any pictures or statuses I put up are to boast about what I'm doing or who I'm with, but that's what everyone does. It's socially acceptable. And this is why people feel more depressed the more time they spend scrolling Facebook and being in contact with over 500 people. They see people who are doing great money-wise, relationship-wise, career-wise, seeing people transform their looks in model material while you continue browsing and feeding your sadness that your life isn't as great.
But guess what. NO Facebook life is as it seems. People post up what they want people to believe, yet think about it. If they were really having that much fun, the last thing on their mind would be "I want to put this on Facebook!". However, that's the time we live in now. Everything we do must be published on Facebook and some people can't imagine life without it. It's making us all more narcissistic (basically the more selfies you take, the more up yourself you are and the more approval you need from everyone else!)
I don't want that. I want to be able to enjoy days and nights out properly, not being glued to my phone to update my every move or see who else is out. I want to live in the moment where any free time is spent going for a walk, making a phone call, writing or reading. I want to put effort into all of my relationships by communicating with those who matter properly through Skype, Snapchat or texting/calling. Liking and commenting on things gives us a false reality of having so many friends. But that's not reality, and the sad truth is that many of the people on our Facebook would easily pass us on the street and/or have an awkward small talk conversation if in our presence because they'd feel rude if they didn't.
Facebook make sure it's really hard for you to leave too by saying you can come back within 2 weeks by logging back in and your account won't be deleted. That's why so many go back. It's because they suddenly feel "Shit, no! I made a mistake!" *logs back in* "Ahh, I made it :)" #BackInMyComfortZone! And I'm not the only one who wants to leave.
"Earlier this year, reports suggested that Facebook lost nine million active monthly users in the U.S and two million in Britain." (Daily Mail, 2013) Their reasons were because of privacy, "shallow conversations" and the "social pleasure of adding friends."
It's not unknown how difficult Facebook makes it if you want to leave. Firstly it shows pictures of your friend's profiles saying they don't want you to go. Then it asks for your reason which Facebook then tries to persuade you with other options. For example, if you selted privacy issues, it would give you advice on changing your settings. Then it informs you that you can take a break from it by deactivating your account and coming back later until finally it says your account will be deleted within 2 weeks of your request.
That is so much shit just to get off a social media website!! They use 4 persuasive techniques to keep you there and make it as difficult as possible for you to leave, because Facebook relies on it's users to make money through selling your identity. But if your identity isn't online, then they can't share or sell your information.
The benefits are having the freedom to put that spare time into actually looking at what's happening around you. We've grown up with it in our early teens and have slowly formed this shape of looking down at a screen.
But by deleting my Facebook, I want to rise my head up and use my senses to appreciate everything around me. I won't appreciate it all by checking it in on a status update, oh no. But I'll be more in tune with life's opportunities and this will result in me enjoying my life better without submerging myself in all of the drama, isolation, fake friendships and ex stalking that causes so many of us to feel empty when logging into that big, blue screen. Yes, I won't be 'in the know' 24/7, but everything I need to know will find it's way to me, and knowing everyone's business isn't something I need to know any more. I've grown from that.
We don't need Facebook in our lives. All we need is to make an effort in life again, and stop allowing Facebook to take over all of our free time we have from work, school, college and put it into good uses such as our hobbies: writing, music, reading, painting, running and walking.
Stop using Facebook as an excuse to fill insecurities with selfies and likes, to make you feel that you're making an effort with your friends and family just because they're in your friends list and forget the fear of not being able to promote the good things happening in your life because those who are happy for you will tell you instead of 'liking' it.
Life is full of simple pleasures, all that can be missed when scrolling, but all can be re-lived when we look up from our screens.
Bye bye Facebook :)