Let me begin with one simple question. How much time do you spend on Facebook each day?
No really, how much time? Write it down, then multiple the amount by seven days of the week. Now how much time it is?
It seems that everywhere I go these days people are on Facebook. And it doesn’t matter which country, what time of day, or whether people are at work or home – they’re on Facebook.
I had a very bizarre experience of the Facebook epidemic in December last year. I was in Africa for work, and while traveling between two African nations, and at border control, I was able to see all the customs staff (there were only about six of them) at their workstations through a glass window. The first thing I noticed was that all the computers were showing Facebook Pages. They weren’t checking passports or doing customs administration, they were all on Facebook. It was quite surreal.
I do wonder if some of us are using Facebook as an escape from our lives, our work, and possibly from even from having to think at all. As if we’re not living in enough confusion already, we’re now adding another layer of unreality.
Some things to consider:
1. The fakeness factor
Have you noticed that posts on Facebook are almost always positive. Some people are so positive that you have to wonder what drugs they’re taking. No one ever shares when they are having a bad day. It’s all good news. This is not real life.
2. The time factor
How much time are you spending on Facebook each week? What other things could you be doing with that time? You want more free time – cut out some Facebook time.
3. The connection factor
A lot of people feel connected by being on Facebook. They like one of their friends’ post or write a brief comment. This is not much of a connection. How much genuine connection are you having with other people? How often are you meeting people face to face? How long has it been since you sent a decent length email to a friend overseas or a family member. And yes, you can use Facebook to do this. I am all for using the messaging service as an alternative to email.
4. The comparison factor
Facebook has become just another means for people to compare themselves to their ‘neighbours’. The meaning of the phrase ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ has recently risen to new heights. We are now able to compare ourselves to others on a daily basis. And it’s not just a comparison of the house and the car. It’s now in relation to travel, eating out, babies, work success, etc. This is not a good thing.
A recent article in the economist tells how Facebook is bad for you. The article covers a study published by the Public Library of Science that has shown that the more someone uses Facebook, the less satisfied he is with life. Have a read:
Look, I’ll be honest. I’m not expecting you to stop using Facebook. I use it, and there are some genuine positives to this social media tool.
I guess the best question is – are you in control of Facebook or is Facebook in control of you?
And here is another recently published article on the subject:
How Facebook Makes Us Unhappy