I am one of the few people that I know who will absolutely and under no circumstances at all have anything to do with Facebook.
So, in writing this inflammatory article I risk offending even those who are close to me.
Oops – sorry.
For those who are not close to me I couldn’t give a damn.
I just read a great article about Facebook.
It opened with the sentence – ‘Think of Facebook as your own life going down the drain while you casually stalk others’.
For me, never before has Facebook been summed up so perfectly. These were words I’d been trying to come up with for a long time and I can’t wait to use them the next time someone urges me to sign up and sell my soul to Satan.
Sure there are the obvious (to some at least) privacy issues, and I’ll admit I certainly have issues with privacy.
I do feel that people don’t take their privacy seriously enough (yes I know that Facebook has privacy settings but don’t pretend like you use them) and I do think that this – “big deal I’ve got nothing to hide” – attitude is short-sighted, ignorant and will one day turn around and bite you on the ass.
But my major issues with Facebook have more to do with the real reasons why most subscribers use it and also the loss of the good things that we could achieve or better devote our time to if we weren’t sitting in front of a computer, glaring at photographs of someone we haven’t spoken to for twelve years and whom we probably didn’t like much anyway.
Or even worse, sitting in front of a computer and using Facebook to bitch and gossip through a series of remote remarks about someone when it’s none of your business anyway.
You know who you are.
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. Facebook’s primary function is not to serve your social life in any way.
Facebook is a profit making company (who’s shares I’m pleased to announce have halved since they floated only months ago) and it’s primary function is to gather and sell information. It is the worlds greatest data mine.
And yes – that means YOUR information. YOUR data.
Facebook uses your social life to gather mounds upon heaps of personal information and sell it to the highest bidder.
Did you know, that any photographs that you download onto Facebook are automatically and legally signed over to Facebook’s ownership?
So if you’ve just put a photograph of you and your newborn baby on Facebook, you have just given your baby’s picture to a multi-billion dollar, global corporation and given them full and legal right to use that picture as they see fit.
Nice one. Great start.
And if you can’t see the problem or the potential danger of that, then Facebook away because I really can’t help you.
But my most grave concern about social networking in general and Facebook in particular is about how much we’ve lost since it’s advent. And continue to lose! True socialising skills are an endangered species.
We used to visit. We used to make telephone calls. We used to write real letters. We used to gather in wonderfully cheery groups and laugh (audibly), touch for real and give gifts that actually existed.
Now we skulk behind our computers, plotting our strategy about how best to convince all our ‘friends’ that we’re doing great and that really we’re so happy. We bully, bitch and spite.
We stalk distant acquaintances, ex partners, business rivals and even family and real friends.
It’s pathetic and its cowardice.
Here’s what to do.
Get off Facebook today. Much damage has been done but all is not lost if you make the right decision now. Those social skills that you have lost? You can pick them up again.
To help you get over your de-humanising, pseudo, cyber social life, I have listed ten activities that I guarantee will reward you with true, human and rewarding social experiences filled with love, joy and honesty that you could NEVER experience on a ‘social networking site’
1) Get off your backside and visit a true friend in the flesh. Just turn up and say ‘Hi, thought I’d pop by’.
2) Bake a cake and take it to your neighbor. You know, the one you’ve been bumping into for 3 years but still don’t know his name. Just knock on the door, hand over the cake and say something like…”my name’s …(your name) and I baked you a cake”
3) Go to a nice café and have a coffee. Smile at the waitress and say “Hello”.
4) Learn to play a musical instrument. Start now. Then find fellow musicians and have jam sessions. This is probably the hardest one but also ultimately the most rewarding.
5) Help someone you hardly know. Give generously of whatever you can. You’ll probably make a real friend for life.
6) Serial killers are rare. Pick up that hitch hiker.
7) Don’t shop at supermarkets. Do your food shopping at small, local, privately owned stores where the person who sits behind the counter every day actually owns the store. Get to know that person. Yes these stores are more expensive.
Get over it and eat less.
8) Have friends around for dinner often. It doesn’t have to be a party or a late night. It can just be food. It’s healthy to eat with people. Don’t eat alone if you can help it. Learn to cook if you haven’t already.
9) Join a dance class.
10) Write a letter to someone you genuinely care for. On paper. Enclose it in an envelope. Write the address on it and send a real letter for the first time in years.