Weighing the pros and cons

There’s been a lot of talk lately, regarding Facebook’s worth in our lives. This conversation has been going on ever since social networking has been a thing, but lately the arguments against Facebook have picked up speed. (Type “delete” into Google and it will automatically provide “Facebook” as the next suggestion.) Countless posts have been shared all over the site advocating its termination from your life. How ironic.

Unless these posts somehow direct me to Buzzfeed, I normally wouldn’t bother reading them, however, having spent hours online this week and nothing to show for it, my interest was piqued, and so I read them. On the whole, I have to say I agree with a lot of the cases put against Facebook, much as I also see the benefits too. So what to do now?

Well, I thought I would have a social network detox. I’m aiming for week, possibly even a month. I won’t delete my account, but I will deactivate it. I’d like to say I could be incredibly cool and do without Facebook for the rest of my life, but that would be lying (I know as part of a university committee, I’m going to need access to the site). I am, however, very interested to see if I’ll get more things done without it.

Hence why I’ve set up this blog. What a great way to document life without Facebook, and the things I do on a day-to-day basis. Before I do , it may be worth going over the pros and cons of deleting Facebook (or temporarily deactivating). Inspired and confirmed by the articles I have read this week, here is a list for and against my Facebook detox:

Pros

  • One less distraction = more time on my hands

Facebook is constantly on, in the background, and I hardly ever close the tab. It’s the second thing I check when I come online (I’ve learnt to prioritise my emails first, or else they may not get checked at all!). Then I spend a while going through all the important things I missed in my sleep. If I’m lucky (or went to bed really late!), this will take me about five or ten minutes, but sometimes I’ve spent over an hour on my news feed (obviously, I have time to kill). There’s also the endless amount of time I put into stalking people, usually when I’m trying to avoid work, so in that way, at least deleting Facebook will be one less thing to divert my attention from more pressing matters.

Though I’m sure I’ll find something to replace it.

  • No more dispiriting comparisons

You know what I mean. The people to whom you weigh, measure and hold yourself up against, only to find that you are wanting. I do it all the time. Someone is always more intelligent, prettier, doing cooler things with their life, or going somewhere, whilst you are staring at a computer screen, eating cereal, still in your pyjamas at two in the afternoon. There’s also the more narcissistic side of this too, where I commend myself against others doing less well than I, and that’s something I don’t like about myself, and I’m not proud to admit.

It would be really easy to put this down to a lack of self-confidence on my part, but there are many more areas than on my shoulders to lay the blame. One of them being other people’s self-confidence. Surely, if we were oh-so-happy with our own lives, we wouldn’t feel the need to beg for attention with snapshots of them, no matter how life feels.

Thankfully, my life has been pretty awesome lately, but I hate to think that anyone would look at the things I’ve done lately and feel bad.

  • Privacy

This is a big topic for a lot of people. There are a lot of intrusions of privacy, and I’ll be totally honest, I don’t really understand all of them , and certainly haven’t read anything on Facebook to make sure I’m aware of it all.

… Actually, I’ve done just that. Nothing that looks too harmful, but what can you expect from the horse’s mouth? I’m sure there are plenty of things I’m still unaware of, it’s a big topic and one I’m not particularly bothered about. I’m not stupid, I haven’t uploaded a lot of silly things, and not a lot of silly things have been uploaded about me.

Cons

  • Communication

The reason anyone joins Facebook, or any other social network. It’s the reason my mum joined (yes, I did cringe at the idea of this initially [sorry mum!], but it’s not been so bad). Now, I’m not up for sharing all the intimate details of my life with all of my 200+ best friends, but I do like to share successes and minor failures with them. It means I can keep up to date with friends I would have long forgotten about: it means not having to say to goodbye to anyone. It negates any sense of nostalgia I have for old school friends, because I know I can always drop them a line or just check out what they’re up to nowadays.

Getting back to my mum’s reasons for joining Facebook, well, just the one reason really: me. This time last year I was extolling its virtues, telling her how difficult it would be for me to share with her the adventures of my year abroad, whilst my dad looked on disapprovingly. In this case, Facebook has been fantastic. Pictures of the places I’ve been and anecdotes that I may have had to put more effort into sharing with her, have been uploaded with incredible ease and minimum effort on my part. What more could I ask for?

  • Memories

One of the beauties (some of the time) of social networking, or indeed the internet, is that all those posts, conversations and photos are saved! Joy! I’d put this under pros of leaving, if it weren’t for that fact that as soon as you upload anything onto the internet it becomes indelible, and it’s too late for that now.

But back to the point! Like I said above, nostalgia is a sensation I no longer undergo, because a lot of the souvenirs that would make me feel nostalgic are accessible within moments. When I feel like I miss old friends and flames I can very quickly spy into their lives, inform myself of what they’re up to and feel connected with them, without actually having to begin one of those slightly awkward conversations. Of course, it’s also a possibility that I might not feel nostalgic because this was only five-or-so years ago.

  • Events & Invitations

The reason I know that I’ll be coming back to Facebook. Organising an event is so much simpler online. I really have no idea how people organised socials and what-not without it. I imagine it meant a lot more planning, weeks or months in advance with the little invitation forms you gave out for your fifth birthday. Possibly still in pink (or blue, respectively).

And last but not least…

  • I’m about to fall off the edge of the world, never to be seen or heard from again!

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But seriously! I must say I’m a little concerned about missing out on invitations to things, or gossip from home that I might not be privy to without Facebook, though I’d like to think if its anything major, my friends and family will use other ways of letting me know.

I’ve also just realised that during the time I hope to be off Facebook will be my birthday… I wonder how many of my Facebook friends will notice that I’m not there and take the time to congratulate me via alternate means.

I haven’t actually deactivated it yet, but I plan to… Tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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