When Facebook came out, I avoided it for a long time until all of my friends and family were on it. I was disappointed with it as it really did absolutely nothing more than pull feeds of people and places together into one neat little stream. Myself and many others had already done this for many years. Now anyone could do it. That was neat it was just the aura of Facebook and their attitude. It was really nothing more than the natural evolution of the BBS. It is strikingly similar- people play silly games, message each other, and share in groups- the same thing was going on back in the 80s before we even had the World Wide Web.
A point came where I felt like I had to join, so, I did, kicking and screaming the whole way. I immediately started posting silly articles and links to articles about their actions and privacy violations, but I soon realized my IRL friends just didn’t care, or valued whatever the feeling was they were getting from this network over their own privacy.
Over time I realized Facebook was more of Fakebook. The most miserable individuals I knew were on there posting positive, happy, sunshine thoughts to improve their image or ego in front of their old friends, or family, or colleagues, or whoever they were “friends” with. They could genuinely hate you and yet be “friends” with you. I’ve even seen people who are still friends with their X’s, and then their new partner becomes friends with the X. Really? First of all, why the heck are you friends with your X, and oh my, I would crawl into a hole and die if my X’s and significant other were friends with each other. These are classic signs of a Fakebook user. Why even bother? Now that I’ve typed this out I am thinking of about 24 people I know that have done this, so if any of my IRL friends happen to read this article, please note, I am not taking aim at you (another issue on FB is just this, people posting cryptic posts with hidden messages in them, or maybe they are posting something completely innocent, and their friends start reading between the lines for no apparent reason- way too much drama for this guy!) Even the people who are genuinely kind and happy people have a whole Facebook personality where they remain politically correct and afraid to post any real opinions that would normally come up within 5 minutes of a natural face to face conversation with them. That, or the opposite happens and they suddenly turn into a political expert. They may only watch the news once every 6 months but they suddenly know everything that there is to know- they are an economist, a political scientist, know absolutely everything about the war on drugs, why the military is involved in other countries, how immigration reform should go, why the education system is where it is, how the federal reserve should be printing more, or less, money, or why we should start to change the Constitution, or why it should be upheld, and how to reduce healthcare costs. Oh my. In the event you actually understand some of these subjects your mind will be blown if you try to engage with anyone else with an opposing opinion, as they start rattling off twisted numbers or whatever nonsense it is that they picked up from their favorite biased news station. It can be polarizing and you can start arguing with people. For example, I once entered into one of these conversations just to clear up all of the incorrect facts being spewed and it resulted in me being blocked by a Fakebooker for calling them out on some of their asinine remarks. So what does that mean? Are we not friends any more? They still put on a silly grin and shake my hand when I see them- they do not know that I now they blocked me. I don’t know if I am supposed to be shocked and offended and have a dramatic conversation with them of why this happened or not. But honestly I just don’t give a bleep. I know people on Facebook who post 90% about politics yet politics really make up about 0.01% of their life, that are misrepresenting what is important to them by 9,000%.
I am happier without it. As goofy as it sounds the thing I miss the most about Facebook are the kid pictures. I have many friends and family members in their 20s that have wonderful toddlers and kids growing up. But even then I felt obligated to go back into my stream and make sure I liked every single one so that I did not piss anyone off. Then you have the people who “like” one kid better than the other and I happen to take note of such miniscule behaviors and I really just don’t need to know these things about some people. Also I am on Google+. If I were presented a choice of a Yugo or a BMW I would choose the BMW. If my 50 closest friends were presented the same decision and they all opted for the Yugo and they were all going to have Yugo get-togethers every weekend and you had to have a Yugo to talk to them, I would still opt for the BMW. I ues my car for many many things, not just shooting the wind with some pals. If they want to drive the Yugo they can, I just won’t hear from them nearly as much. And you know what, maybe that is fine. Some of them I haven’t had a phone conversation with in 10 or 15 years anyways. Do I suddenly need to know what they put in their meatballs every, single, night?
Photos. This brings me to the photos section. My only likable part about Facebook was the photos. And Facebook OWNS them. I certainly can not use the product at all. To me, this makes Facebook totally useless. That image you put up of your baby eating Cheerios for the first time belongs to them now. Good job. It is funny for me to observe this as I get paid to create content, yet so many people just do it for free for Facebook. Google+ has the most advanced image sharing available at this time. This is not Yugo vs BMW this is Yugo vs MARS ROVER. If you want to learn more about Facebook and their image policy, check out this article since you never read the terms of service.
Speaking of Terms of Service, this made me unable to use the app on my phone. For a while I used “Fast” which is an alternative to the Facebook provided app.
The privacy violations are the icing on the cake. I am convinced FB thinks that it’s users are stupid donkeys. I mean if everyone loves the place, sure, I have no problem with them making money. This is not about that. They are downright abusive. In all my years on the Internet I haven’t seen anything like it. Data mining, government search requests, facial recognition, and security issues are just the start. There is the time they exposed user information, the time they lied about who “likes” what misleading everyone, etc, the list is like 4 miles long and you can read about it on Wikipedia.
Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, reach decreases. Not just for business, but for people, too. This defeats the entire purpose which I talked about in the first paragraph. Facebook then hides the numbers from you so that you don’t know your followers are not seeing that they throttled down what people can see of yours.
It is terrible for business. Right now many businesses are seeing a 8-15% reach. Nobody gets this. That means if 200 people are following your bakery online and you’re planning on selling pink donuts on Valentine’s Day and you post the huge news on your wall, almost nobody is seeing it, maybe 10 or 15, etc. Unless you pay FB… This would be a fine business model, but again, it’s the way they went about it. They told business owners “Hey, get people to follow your page” and then once the businesses helped spring Facebook to popularity they turn around and ask for $10, $20, $100, $200 PER POST. Or else! Pay up, or else your followers you worked hard to obtain will not see your posts! One benefit to this- IF you have the money to blow you can actually reach quite a few people. Then again, people don’t come to Facebook to shop, they come here to see what grandma is cooking, and sometimes they can’t even see that.
Depression. I almost forgot to cover this, so I’ll just toss it in here at the bottom. I’ve been Facebook free for 1 month now and I am genuinely a happier person. Everyone on Facebook is guilty of this, even if they didn’t realize it, myself included, of just posting happy stuff. When I say “Oh darn I got a flat tire” the response was pretty bad, but if I say “I am enjoying this beautiful Monday morning on the beach with a Mai Tai” it creates envy in people. Soon, you’re sitting at home in your pajamas while it is raining out, and you inevitably look down at your phone and open up the Facebook ap and what do you see? George who is really hungover and eating pizza is pretending he loves church. Len is at the beach drinking Mai Tais and posting fish pictures while the sun burns him. Your brother is out on a date. Your cousin is posting pictures of his brand new monster truck which he drives around the city in. And, it is depressing, even if you are 10 times as successful as some of these other people, as you sit their in your pajamas a lot of people start to think “gee my life isn’t nearly as cool as the Jones’s” and you get depressed. So anyways, I am not an emotional person and 99% of the time I am happy with other people’s success but I believe staring at people’s stream is depressing. I just noticed on the Wikipedia page here they talk about envy and stress caused by Facebook.
This other guy has a great 7 minute video on his thoughts on what is wrong with Facebook as well:
No longer using Facebook has been a weight lifted from my shoulders. I didn’t quit them, they quit me. Is it weighing you down, too?
Note: I still use Facebook to log in and manage businesses. I manage the online presence of several small business brands, and some of them do use Facebook.
Image: striatic under CC BY 2.0
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