Well, this will probably get me unfriended. How mortifying. 🙂
My reasons for quitting Facebook are numerous.
It’s a distracting time suck.
I am far more productive when I am not using it. I am a professional and published author who writes basically NOTHING when Facebook is available to me but who rather spends large amounts of people who will never agree with me anyway. And I need to write. It’s my after school job and my primary form of stress relief.
I did a social media free month not long ago and made huge leaps in my photography courses, student studies, writing, and physical health.
I don’t like how easily my emotions are manipulated on Facebook either.
And I loathe the built in bias – you tend to only see posts you’d like or agree with.
That said, here are another dozen reason to consider.
- Censorship. Facebook is heavily censored. Facebook censors posts, people on Facebook censor posts -theirs and other peoples, and on two occasions I have had people who are posting their posts PUBLICLY ask that I not respond to their posts publicly if I do not agree with them. They both have asked me to message them privately.
Look, if you are ashamed of your post or do not want to risk people arguing with your post, then don’t post!
Easy enough. A certain amount of disagreement is a) impossible to avoid and b) healthy. Not everyone thinks the way you think and rather than having a hissy fit you should be glad that people respect you enough and care about you enough to offer you new thoughts and opinions. Discuss things, rather than shutting down. You might learn something!
- As two recent experiments (that I am aware of) have proven, people often share posts without reading them, much less fact checking them.
- Fact checking simply does not occur – or if it does it occurs too rarely. Also for some reason, fact checkers often get flamed, insulted, or have their sources impugned.
(P.S. Wikipedia and Snopes are not fact checking sources. Neither is Google as it is designed to put results you will like at the top of the page.) Try books, peer-reviewed journals, and trusted and legitimate news sources. If your source is a blog, read the bloggers bio and credentials, and be aware of any pre-built biases.
- Advocacy for any cause on Facebook does not work. There have been dozens of studies on this. Most social media users suffer from confirmation biases and their search engines reinforce that. But this does not stop people from trying to advocate and from becoming more and more frustrated by the lack of results.
- Sharing awareness posts does not equal support for a cause despite what people think. You can fly a French flag or the pride rainbow but other than letting people know your opinion this is basically a worthless act.
If you want to support a cause, support them. Find a website, group, or institution near you and donate tangible goods – time, your hands, money, needed goods. Prayer is awesome but the Bible says support people in prayer, word, and deed. Give up a latte – send the local Autism group $5, volunteer at an AIDS clinic or soup kitchen, give to a legitimate charity. If a Facebook friend tells you they are being evicted, don’t post a sad face and “prayers”. Post the sad face, prayers, and ask them how you can actually help. A little money? Some help moving?
- Shaming does not work but people keep doing it. And very aggressively in ways they’d never indulge in a face to face situation. You call someone an idiot and they call you an idiot. You offer someone a source and they’ll offer you an opposing source. You call someone who is fat, depressed, gay, prejudiced, whatever by a label and they are just going to offer you one.
Choose your friends by what they do and who they are. Not by their labels. And this goes both ways. There are good cops and bad blacks, wonderful fat people and really mean supermodels. As the Jesuits would note it’s all about who you are and what your intentions are. If you are a good, fat, Black cop you are my friend. If you are a rich, White, vandal hiding behind an activist label you are not. Minority status does not protect you from being an jerk. Majority status does not either. Jerkdom is universal and that is something it would help to recognize.
- Media coverage of an evil plays into the hands of those who committed the evil. It gets their word out. It gets their “brand out” . No such thing as negative coverage. So if you post a picture of a dead person even to say that that person’s death was wrong, you are still sharing the fact of their death.
Terrorists love the news. The more coverage they get the more important they are. Wifebeaters love to see themselves on TV. Coverage of lone wolf school shooters breeds coverage of lone wolf school shooters. There is nothing better to feed the anger and audacity of an insecure bullying thug be it Billy in the schoolyard or ISIS in the Middle East than attention – any attention. You pay attention to them and you make them stronger…you also force them to outperform the previous guy. They think “Billy beat someone up, well, I’ll kill someone. > Well, I’ll kill more than one person.” And so on.
So if you see something wrong on Facebook and you share it, even with a condemning text, well, congrats you are supporting the bad guys.
- Passive aggressive postings allow cowards and weasels to damage the reputations of, or hurt the feelings of others, without any risk of repercussion or any feelings of guilt or responsibility.
You can slam your boss, your boyfriend, your school with a minimum of fears as long as you word things right. And this is a) totally chicken shit, and b) more damaging than an outright confrontation might be.
Confrontations can sometimes be resolved, concessions and compromises can be made, and the relationship thus altered and possibly saved. But a passive aggressive attack has no counter, leads to increased frustrations, and guarantees that no one – not even the attacker – can ever be helped or healed. If you have something to say on Facebook, say it. Be brave and make a stand. Take responsibility for your words or actions.
- It allows you to image craft yourself into anything from a superhuman to a martyr and then it allows others to reinforce those images of you as well.
Most of what you see posted on Facebook is not true. There is something about the anonymity of keyboards that makes all of us into creative fiction writers. And don’t say you don’t do this. We all do. Even I do, which is one of the reasons I’ve begun avoiding Facebook of late. See, the problem here is that image crafting is dangerous.
There will come a day when you have to be who you are of Facebook and that will do you irreparable harm. Maybe you don’t weigh 120 and look like a weightlifter. Maybe you are not rich or powerful. Maybe you don’t have the college degrees you claimed. Maybe you are not even the religion, color, or gender you have in your bio, and maybe your pic came from a magazine of someone far “more successful” than you are.
Living in a fantasy is fine short term but there will always come a day when some awkward truth leaks through. It’s not fair to others and it’s not fair to yourself. Can you live your dream? Many can’t.
Studies show that the most egregious FB liars are often very depressed or disheartened by their actual lives and feeding their fantasies can often make these feelings of inadequacy worse. And for what? A few likes or comments from people you have never met and who think of you only for a few seconds when they see you on their feeds as they go through to check their own likes? Not worth it.
- Trigger warnings. If there was ever a more pernicious piece of psychological idiocy than this I am unaware of it. The whole trigger warning culture is based on the theory that people with triggers are further harmed by exposures to those triggers – despite a century of clinical evidence that proves that this is not the case.
Individuals who relive traumatic events or take part in other exposure therapies ranging from pure“exposure therapy” used to treat phobias at one end of the spectrum to , Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at the other tend to be more integrated, more resilient, and more capable of dealing with future stressers than those who practice avoidance.
In fact, avoidance is considered a symptom of the majority of emotional and mental illnesses, not a cure for them.
And what people claim as triggers these days is absurd. It seems that if someone disagrees with you over the chemical composition of iron this can serve as an emotional trigger. If so it is an ignorance-based trigger and ignorance is a disease that we should really seriously be working on curing. Ignorance is not something to be proud of, you are not entitled to your opinion, and open discussion is the only cure for any of this.
- Entitlement issues – Facebook posts show how the other half lives or pretends to live, and thus engenders jealousy on the part of the have nots who seem to feel that the Universe owes them a living.
The fact that the Universe, God, The Great God Spaghetti Monster, or even Donald Trump does not owe you bloody diddly squat is something that seems to escape peoples notice.
No, you are not entitled to a good job, a good education, a romantic partner. You earn those things.
But if “everybody” else has those things it’s easy to begin to wonder “Why not me?” and easier to believe that it is because some external force – government, boss, parents, discrimination are holding you back. Do those things exist? ABSOLUTELY. But how you react to those things and how you plan for them is entirely your responsibility.
So grow up, pull up you big kid pants, and stop assuming that you should have something just because someone else does. Life is many things, but fair is not one of them.
- Conspiracy Theorists and Conspiracy Websites. Yes, you have the right to believe that JFK was shot by a lone woman, or an MKULTRA victim, or twenty three time travelers, or what have you. You actually even do have a right to discuss that with me and to use rational discourse and evidence to prove to me that you are right.
You don’t however have the right to have zero proof or to write your own proof and cite that as evidence. You do not have the right to resort to ad hominom attacks when I disagree with you.
If you believe in chemtrails that is fine. If you tell the pilot of the firefighting aircraft he flies that his tanks are full of mind control chemicals, he has the right to tell you that it’s just CO2 foam and he watched it loaded that morning. If you show then show him evidence in the form of video on your cellphone that you shot that very day where people in hazmat suits and government insignia swapped out his CO2 canisters with Agent X, then you can expect to be taken a bit more seriously, but if you show him a Facebook picture of his plane that has been shared seven zillion times and captioned “chemtrail plane” and nothing else, he has the right to assume you are gibbering and have you removed from his aircraft.
While absence of proof is not proof of absence and the truth may be out there, the fact is that you do have to prove your statements. And with more than just a few webshared pictures and self-created blogs. Same goes for 9-11 people, JFK assassination people, people who believe in the Illuminati. And please note I am not attacking anyone here, I believe some odd things myself, but please please please realize that a blurry photo of Nessie does not a Nessie make.
And here endeth the lesson.
Good luck to you, on or offline.