…even though you don’t want to.
Facebook. It’s become so ingrained in our society that many of my friends find the idea of quitting unthinkable. I’ve gone facebook cold turkey for a while myself and although it was hard, I felt all the better for it.
I’m still a part of the big blue sea for now because of a couple of valuable groups and the fact that I run my own photography business but I’m planning to get out as soon as I can. Let me tell you why:
Facebook is a procrastinator’s nightmare.
Let’s face it, we all have those days. You have important shit to do and you end up wasting a few hours doing some other entirely unproductive thing instead. But if you actually want to get shit done in your life then procrastination is your enemy and Facebook is one of its agents.
Try timing yourself the next time you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed or just randomly clicking on shit. Do it for a week and see how much time you actually wasted doing nothing in particular. It may frighten you.
Facebook has way too much information about you, and it isn’t afraid to use it.
Yeah, privacy, blah, blah, facebook, blah, blah. We’ve all heard the complaints about Facebook privacy and changes it has made to it over the years but are you really aware of exactly what Facebook does with your data?
It’s no secret that Facebook is now a money-making machine that uses your data for profit but most people probably don’t think about exactly what this could mean for them as an individual.
Here is a link to an article published in Time magazine in 2014 that detailed some of the ways Facebook had used users data up until that time. And here is a link to a BBC news article published in 2015 about the fact that Facebook was even tracking internet users who were not members of the social media network. Information is power and facebook has a mountain of it. Scary, right?
Related to the above: Facebook has a memory like an elephant.
You know those cute memories that Facebook likes to post on your page? Or those little videos of how long you’ve been friends with someone? Well, it turns out facebook remembers EVERYTHING. And is it possible to erase any of that shit I hear you ask? Apparently, it is possible but it isn’t that easy. At all. Read this article by Jennifer Golbeck from slate.com for an idea.
Facebook has changed. It’s not about connecting anymore. It’s about making money advertising at you.
If you’re a long time user of Facebook, have you noticed the difference in your feed lately? It’s kind of got a bit advert heavy, right? Also, have you noticed how those ads are targeted at you? Aha, so, that’s one of the things they are using that data for. Some people might like being advertised at every time they go on there, I guess? I don’t know. Not me.
Facebook genuinely makes people feel crappy and inadequate.
Yep. Actual science has linked Facebook with depressive symptoms. It’s all about social comparison. People check out their friends’ Facebook profiles and compare their wonderful lives with their own drab, dull, normal life and subsequently feel pretty shit about it.
What people seem to forget is that what they see on Facebook is like the PR version of others’ lives. It’s like comparing yourself all the time to celebrities in magazines but with fewer stylists and less money. Still makes you feel crappy though.
Facebook can be genuinely horrific.
For some reason, the people in charge of the great blue mist don’t seem to want to get really good at stopping people posting videos of people getting actually murdered. There are also a fair few videos available of animal cruelty and people being abused.
Sometimes it’s really difficult to actually avoid seeing these things as they pop up in your news feed.
They have been under fire lately for reacting too slowly to the video of the murder of Robert Godwin Sr. and just last week they were under fire yet again for allowing a video of a Thai man who hanged his 11-month daughter to remain on the site for 24 hours.
And yet they will ban a photo of a breastfeeding mother as quickly as you can say ‘misogyny’. Priorities guys. Priorities.
This shit just isn’t good enough. For a multi-billion dollar company to be failing the public in this way is just not acceptable.
There are dead people on Facebook.
It seems that Facebook doesn’t really have a policy when it comes to the profiles of people who have actually passed away. I have several friends or family on my list who have died and still have Facebook profiles live on the site.
Facebook will kindly remind you of their birthday when the time comes but it all feels a little disrespectful to me. There is definitely something I find a little unsettling about seeing profiles of the dead online with people occasionally posting to their walls.
Facebook is divisive.
Nobody can deny that the last year or so has been interesting in terms of political debate. And a lot of people carried out their debating on Facebook in comment streams under posts.
Facebook even created temporary profile picture frames where you can choose to promote a cause, support a team or let everyone know who you are voting for.
The problem with debating politics or sensitive issues on Facebook is that the mode of communication is flawed. Messaging and commenting lead to misunderstandings because of the inability to use the voice and body to add to the communication. No subtle nuances, no tone of voice, no body language, just words on the page. I witnessed numerous ‘debates’ getting out of hand and saw friendships and family relationships suffer as a consequence.
Just yesterday I witnessed one of these divisive conversations happening in a group I happen to be a member of. I commented a little, but didn’t add any controversial opinions, just asked a question or two.
Many people jumped on to the post, some got angry and left the group entirely, including the original poster. Afterwards, I felt like I wanted to wash the sludge from my body for even spending the time reading it or taking the time to comment. It felt almost poisonous to my system.
If you want to change the world, Facebook is not the place to debate. I have yet to see a happy, balanced, mature ending to one of these kinds of public debates. It’s more like car crash reality TV in the end. People relate to people much better in person. Which leads me to the next point:
Facebook ruins relationships.
I’m not talking about couples breaking up here, I am talking about simple communication skills. Nowadays a lot of people are far too busy looking down at their smartphones at social media to actually talk to one another and engage in real life. We’re losing the ability to relate. We even rely on Facebook to organise our social lives and events. Let’s ditch the network and actually start talking to one another again.
You probably don’t know half the people on your friends list really.
Who are they? Have you met them all? I used to pride myself on the fact that all my facebook friends were people that I actually had met or knew.
I once sat for around 45 minutes looking through the profile pictures of someone on my friends list trying to figure out who the hell they were. I still don’t know. Forty-five minutes. I’ll never get that time back.
So I’m basically broadcasting shit to a bunch of people I barely know who really don’t care that much about me. But I have no idea which of them I am actually broadcasting to because I don’t understand facebook algorithms.
I used to find it useful that I could broadcast stuff to the people who had liked my business page on facebook but even that has changed lately. Now Facebook allows about 30 people to see my business posts and asks me for money if I want to reach the rest of my followers.
So have I quit facebook yet?
Short answer: no. I can’t kick the habit just yet. For one, it’s the place where I get to chat to, learn from, support and generally hang out with the #ninjawriters. Secondly, it’s where I can find some of my clients for my photography business. But you can bet your bottom dollar that I am looking for other ways to promote my business and the minute my writing groups move to another location I will be outta that big blue sea of despair!
Lisa is a writer and photographer who lives with her son, five pets and occasional husband in Northern Ireland. If you want to get more news from Lisa click here.