Facebook is the cigarette of my generation
What you are about to read is not well researched and not to be taken as a generalized opinion. But in this world crazy about data and numbers, if you do seem to be in a mood to diverge and just hear a personal story, welcome and read on!
I am no one to predict the future but I strongly feel we are going to look back and feel pretty bad when we realize that we were the generation that not only permitted but actually made a culture destroyer like Facebook thrive.
In my own small little world, Facebook has single handedly eroded so much cultural and social capital that its unfathomable. The way I look at it, Facebook is an absolute raging financial success but also a giant cultural failure. Looking back, I am not proud of spending my personal time on it and I am constantly trying to change my habits around my usage and consumption of it. I use the word ‘consumption’ as I feel like a friend of mine, who is trying to fight smoking.
I have been on Facebook for about 8 years now. I cant really recollect how I felt when I joined but as far back as memory serves, I recollect being mostly bitter and in a bad mood while and after using it.
It slowly started making me more envious of others lives, by pushing fabricated “happy” content from seemingly random people. Only after someone coined it for me as FOMO, I started wrapping my head around the deadly psychological concept and how Facebook might be a cultivator of that.
Personally, I have tried like hell to make peace with the tool. Over these years, I have religiously tuned my news feed to an extremely minimal set. I have went on personal facebook-detox sessions for long periods of time where I have deactivated my account or blocked myself access to it. But every once in a while, I still catch myself burning valuable minutes on Facebook, out of the 1,440 that I get in my day.
Its funny that my friend has gone ahead and is very close to conquering smoking. He can now go up to 4 months without it and he has intentionally build enough friction in his life to prevent it. In my case, Its been harder. Facebook is omnipresent. Even after removing it from my phone, blocking it on my desktop and suspending Instagram, I still feel trapped. I use WhatsApp liberally and fear an incarnation of facebook feed will show up there some day too. Early enough I committed the blunder of using Facebook Connect to sign-in to several services and I am now realizing the leash Facebook has around my neck with that.
Growing up, I had several moments where picking up the cigarette was the cool thing to do. Somehow, I dodged that bullet. Now I wish I would’ve dodged the Facebook bullet more than the cigarette. Oddly enough, It is only now that I am coming across people within my social circle who realize that it is more than a nagging bad habit and trying their best to quit it. The struggle is absolutely real.
If you have your own personal story in trying to quit the Facebook ecosystem, let me know in the comments.