By Tom Cicero
With the increasing popularity of the use of smartphones, tablets and other devices the ability to access Facebook is easier now more than ever. When I’m in class, I see people on their phones scrolling through Facebook. When I’m waiting for the train, I see people on their phones scrolling through Facebook. When I go out to dinner, I see couples eat their entire meal without saying a word to each other, both on Facebook. It is almost everywhere at this point, and it’s not going away.
I believe this raises cause for concern.
I was recently talking with one of my co-workers, and he made a really good point about Facebook. He said the social networking site is geared towards people who don’t have the best social skills, and I agree with him.
Facebook is a way for those who find difficulties in real life to create another life online. Think about it for a second. You can literally edit your profile to look exactly the way you want yourself to be perceived. When you are using Facebook to talk to someone, you can hit the backspace key an infinite number of times until what you want to say and how you want to say it is perfect.
Real life doesn’t offer that kind of forgiveness. Once you call someone an idiot, no matter how much you want to reach out and grab those words and put them back in your mouth, you can’t.
On the flipside, there are people who use the social media site and are social butterflies in real life. The problem is, Facebook tricks people who aren’t social into thinking that they are.
There is something strangely satisfying about getting a “like” on Facebook. It gives you a feeling of excitement. It makes you feel like you’re liked by your friends and family. This is all well and good, but like any addictive substance, this leads people to crave more of that attention.
Have you ever had a friend post a picture of their dinner? How about of their animals? It is that striving for attention and being liked that leads to an increase of these posts, and that’s when the addiction to Facebook kicks in.
I know people who are addicted to Facebook to the point where they are checking it when I am with them. I think this is the biggest problem. When you are with someone and you are checking Facebook on your phone, it takes away the human interaction. Yet, it makes people feel like they are socializing with others.
I think a lot of it comes down to control. Having the ability to shape yourself, your likes, your face, your sense of humor, your perceived coolness, your friends and your hobbies at the tip of your fingers gives people a sense of control that life lacks.
Life can be hard. You can try your hardest to be the nicest person in the world, and still people will be mean to you. Facebook lets us retreat from this life and streamline just the good things. Someone mean to you on Facebook? Block them, and they can’t be mean to you anymore. Someone mean to you in real life? You have to find a way to deal with it. That might involve going up to them and confronting them, and it could turn into a whole ordeal. Which sounds easier to you?
I am not saying I am above any of this. I have succumbed to all of this. When I feel lonely, I go on Facebook, and it does make me feel better. But nothing makes me feel better than when I accomplish things in real life.
Facebook helps you feel content, but it can never offer the highs that real life can. Next time you go out with your friends, put Facebook down, and talk to them. You’re free to live your life any way, and if you want to spend the majority of it online, that’s cool. As for me, I’m deleting my Facebook and sobering up.