Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Facebook Trap

One of my young friend disappeared from facebook...
Oh well, I wonder what was going on as I always liked to watch his photographs: he travels a lot and loves to take picture in all those countries he visits. So I called him and asked him what happen to his facebook account?

He terminated it! As he felt becoming totally addicted to it, he decided that he was better for him to stop it completely. He explained to me that he was feeling like an alcoholic feels with alcohol, he could not control his desire to watch and read more and more, his FB friends were posting more and more every days and he realized the amount of time he was spending hooked on his computer or even on his smartphone. He realized that life was not, at least for him, reading and watching what other people were doing as they were doing it and that he wanted to take more time to actually live his own life in the real world instead of following their life via the virtual one.

I found his experience interesting and listen to other people experience with Facebook. Why do they get hooked or why do they escape the addiction?

Let's face it, many facebooker are hooked on their smartphone enjoying sharing many moments of their day, including what they just ate or cooked or how beautiful the sunset is tonight. Many are posting pictures of their children so their friends and family can share the joy of seeing the little ones growing up, and this is true, we are sincerely enjoying those.

There are also those who are networking, speaking about themselves and their work, showing off how "good" they are doing or which "new friend" they made, what great party they just attended...

And in the teenage world, those posts can get nasty, teenager tend to use social network to gossip and in so, hurting the feeling of their target... oh well, we all read about cyber-bullying isn't it?

Adult are bullying and gossiping too but in a different way. First they accept anyone who want to be friend with them, even those they do not appreciate in real life and those they do not even know, for them what is important is to have a lot of "friends". Then, they start to post information that seems totally casual but are hurtful for certain. It could be the office's party where one coworker was not aware of (not invited), it could be the get away week-end of a few girlfriends while one of them was totally left out, it could be a mom posting the picture of a birthday's party or a sleep-over where one of her kid's friend was not invited, or the picture of a friend's husband in a pretty good company (not his wife for sure)... In all those post, only the target understand and get hurt, and those type of behavior are encouraged by some TV shows or movies, like "Revenge" on ABC feeds on gossip and bullying, manipulation and destruction.

Another temptation of Facebook: Voyeurism! This one can become addictive too. Exactly like the neighbor buying a telescope to spy on people around him, or like those old people in small villages in Europe who sit most of the day on the bench in the center square to see what is happening and what others are doing. The same way, some facebooker just want to know what their "friends" are doing, they want to be informed at all time even if none of those of their information are of their concern.

So I told my young friend that as much as I miss seeing his beautiful pictures, I totally understood his choice. Personally I did open a facebook page because one of my friend refused to post picture of her son anywhere else :-) She is a really close friend of mine and I really enjoy seeing her little one growing up. It actually happens that another on of my close friend do exactly like her and here again I do enjoy seeing pictures of her 4 girls so my facebook account is useful.  But I do not have much friend on it, only a few who, like those two, are mostly using it to give news from time to time.

I would not want to let Facebook or any other social network pollute my life or the one of my children. We already have so little free time to enjoy, I would not like to see them wasted it in the virtual world.

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