Facebook Moratorium

I’m going to conduct an experiment for 3 months and if it’s successful it will continue.  I’m going to test whether being on Facebook is a useful addition to my life.  Are the problems I mention just pitfalls that can be managed by disciplined use of the service.

I’ve been on since 2007 and have been a heavy user even up to this week, yet I have friends and family who’ve never been on.  They haven’t had their life experiences decreased for not being on it.  In fact they may be richer for not being on it.  Here are some concerns I think they are avoiding and stuff we’ve all been guilty of doing.

  • snoopers
    • looking at updates but not contributing
      • you wouldn’t ignore someone ordinarily if you were interacting face to face or on the phone
    • looking about other’s profiles for a thrill or to fill in time but never intending to interact with that person
  • replacement for real human contact
    • no need to talk directly I can use Facebook
      • texting and the like draw reactions not conversations
    • too easy to ignore
  • competitive behaviour
    • getting likes
    • friend collecting
  • context void
    • people can make assumptions without the full range of information
      • easy to jump to the wrong conclusion
    • people without other cues like tone of voice and body language miss vital information
      • again making the wrong conclusion that is often unresolved
  • Triviality
    • getting sucked into banal and uninteresting updates
  • Venting Behaviour / (fake) Bravado
    • the nonconstructive attacks, jibes against people and organisations
    • also called trolling – I think ?
  •   Time Wasting
    • too easy to be sucked into Facebook when other things are more important
  • Crutch to fill in time
    • when we have time regress to Facebook
  • Diversions whilst conducting real human contact
    • someone updates their Facebook timeline during the course of conversation

Ok, it’s not been all the bad.  I’ve been able to reconnect with people from the past through Facebook – that might be a bad thing as well.  Sometimes I do think a nice bit of information – for me this has been the saving grace for the last few years and a reason I give why I’m on Facebook.  Information could be interesting events, news items and yes some pleasant human items like a marriage (err – why didn’t I get invited?) and births.

Is social media all bad?  Maybe not.  Ironically I use blogging and twitter to supply information.  I could be splitting hairs but I’m finding these mediums more useful.  I intend to keep using them.  What about email?  Yes but only to follow up or setup meetings and not a replacement for because of similar problems mentioned above.  Skype? Yes but only for voice and video chat because of the voice and body language cues make it a richer experience.  LinkedIn? yes serves a great purpose of sharing professional information and the quality of information is much better.

Paradoxically I’m utilising Facebook for this update and other social media to publicize.  Ok it’s hypocritical if you like and I could just go cold turkey.  I thought about that as well but in this instance it’s useful to communicate reasons.

I will start with trying to limit my trips to Facebook (one a week on the weekends) to find out about the interesting things after sifting through the uninteresting stuff.  So far so good.  Two days and not a single peek.

However, I will deactivate the account if I find myself being tempted too much.  After the 3 months I’ll reassess and decide whether to remain on Facebook.

If you want to be in contact you shouldn’t use Facebook and those who know me how to be in touch with me.

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2 responses to “Facebook Moratorium

  • Richi

    Very well written Nick, i have had some similar thoughts. The thing i don’t like with FB is you have to dig thru a lot of “crap” posts to get to the “intelligent” ones, with a bit of substance and thought put behind it (like this one) and there seems to be an “obligatory” culture where if you like my post I will like your post which almost defeats the purpose…

    • Nick

      Thanks for the comment Richi and the thought behind it. I agree with the obligatory culture, it’s self serving and achieves nothing. So much self indulgence involved that I was also a party to as well.

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