Monday, December 9, 2013

Why I Never Went Back to Facebook

If I wrote this blog two years ago, it would be called “Why I left facebook” but since I never went back, I have titled it, “why I never went back to facebook.” I dropped my facebook account during a time when many other people fell off the facebook bandwagon. Many of my friends followed suit but just about all of them went back. Why didn’t I go back? I saw many issues with the forum so I weighed my options and decided it wasn’t worth my time. Others didn’t like facebook, but decided that the problems they had were small compared to the positives, so they went back.

Well, we are all different. We are all wired differently and my reasons for leaving may not be the same for others but since I’m constantly being asked to go back, I feel obligated to state my reasons for why I don’t want to. Please keep in mind that I am a writer. I am very introverted and private so keep this in mind as I explain why facebook is not for me. Also, facebook has created a new culture which is changing how we treat each other and ourselves and I feel obligated to share my observations on how this will affect us as human beings.

I decided not to go back to facebook for many reasons:

1) They do not care for the privacy or rights of any of their members. They have made my private profile public without warning due to their updates and they took away the ability for me to keep the comments I put on other people's statuses private. They seem to be hell bent on taking your privacy for granted. Of course we live in a time where nobody cares about their privacy. Still, privacy is important to me. It creeps me out that people can spy on you through skype and that we have given up our privacy rights to the government. It gives me the creeps that our fourth amendment rights are being taken away and that anyone can accuse me of being a terrorist. There is so much more to this that people are not aware of but that’s another blog, I guess.

2) I don’t trust them. When my private profile has been made public without warning so many times, how can I trust facebook at all? They will change their settings at a drop of a hat. Many people say to me, there is a way to change your privacy settings but that doesn’t matter because facebook messes them up all the time. When I become a member of a social networking forum or do any kind of business with anyone, I have to trust the entity I am engaging with. Otherwise, I live in a state of paranoia, constantly having to keep track of updates and personal settings in case of gliches. When I dropped facebook, I became markedly less stressed.

3) People don't communicate the way they used to because of facebook. I was once at a party and people started showing us things that were on their facebook page. Next thing I know, the whole room was silent and everyone was in their own world, forgetting that a social gathering was going on around them. People who have facebook have no idea what they look like to those of us who stopped using it. Is this where the world is going? There was a time when ignoring the person who is right in front of you was considered rude, but it has become the status quo.

4) I have an addictive personality. Facebook uses the psychology of reward to get you to go to their site. Reward causes dopamine to be released into your system giving you the sensation of temporary pleasure. You write something and you look forward to someone liking it or commenting on it. When someone does, you feel rewarded. You want to keep going back to see how anyone else reacts. Facebook uses optimal conditioning and trains us like dogs to keep going back. If you have an addictive personality, this can really take over your life.

5) It was a huge time waster and when I think of the hours I spent on facebook, it is depressing to realize those were days of my life I can never get back. One day I looked at the time and realized that I had spent three hours on facebook, posting pictures and responding to comments. When I told a friend of mine that I dropped facebook because I saw I had spent that much mindless time on it, she said that three hours a day on facebook is normal. What? With three hours a day I could finish writing a novel, take on a part time job, look for a job, learn a new hobby, and spend time with my family. Ironically, the same people who spend three hours a day on facebook are the same people who complain that they don't have time or money. Is facebook really where I want to be spending that time?

6) I wrote a novel. I had to make time to finish writing a novel and could only do that if I cut out distractions like facebook. Maybe I’ll go back but then again, I’d like to write another novel and work on other projects that help me grow as a person.

7) It made me a bad mother. I was being rude to my son, ignoring what he was saying so I could read a comment someone made on my status. Then, I have the nerve to try to control his computer addiction. I just heard someone say that the cynicism of teens is due to the hypocrisy of their parents. Why are children addicted to electronics and social media? Because their parents are.

8) I’m protesting free speech. I got kicked off of facebook for writing a political blog on why gay marriage is a civil right. This post was flagged by those who were trying to keep Prop 8 passed during a time when it was going to court. Facebook never considered my side of the story.  I have seen this happen with many other people. Misogynistic comments are spared while feminist comments are deleted. There seems to be a very biased moderation group that does not allow free speech. Yeah yeah, free speech is not an issue because facebook is a private company and can allow what they want. Truth is, we don’t have free speech at all. If I wanted to protest anything on the streets, I have to register with the government to rent out the public streets. The government has to approve it. People have gone to jail for speaking their mind and if you think we have free speech, it’s because you have never really tried to use it. We are becoming a country where everything you say is being policed. How do people react? They decide to never talk about politics. In a democratic nation where we vote for our own laws and leaders, this is very dangerous. If we don’t discuss important issues, we lose what is important to us. People need to wake up and start fighting for what they believe in. Social networking has empowered people to vote for who they want on American Idol but it has made them more timid when it comes to fighting for their rights.

9) It bombards me with advertising. When I left facebook, I could see the sky, trees and mountains again. I could hear the birds chirping. It felt good to leave the matrix. Now I can focus on what I want to focus on.

10) I was getting stressed out by the fact that anything I said could be taken the wrong way and often was. Most things are not to be said in a public wall, but directly to the people who want to hear it. Seeing how cranky facebook made people due to misunderstandings made me just want to go back to emails and phone calls.

11) I was getting bored by people talking about “fake friends.” It’s sad that no one on facebook seems to know who their real friends are. If you leave facebook, your real friends will email you, hang out with you and talk to you on the phone. The fake friends will still be wasting their time on facebook.

12) Do I really need to stay in touch with people I dropped as friends and lovers years ago? If I'm not your friend now, there's a reason for that.

13) I had been annoyed by so many of facebooks policies and the way they handled their business but I stayed a member due to peer pressure. I will never do something that I do not agree with again. I would rather give my time other websites who use practices that harmonize with my sense of the greater good.

14) It didn't help my business. Everything they say about facebook helping your business is bull. My numbers didn't go up after spending mind numbing time on facebook. You get more clients and buyers by contacting people and being good at what you do, not for getting likes on facebook. Since I left facebook, my business has gotten better because I started focusing on what I really needed to do to make it work.

15) It didn’t help me sell more books. I am better off finding forums and websites that specifically target readers and the type of readers who read my kind of books.

What have I been doing since I left facebook?

I’ve been exercising and taking care of my body.

I’ve been a better mother to my son

I’ve gone back to reading books and periodicals that are well researched and that come from reputable sources. This has made me much more intelligent and knowledgeable about what is really going on in the world, which sure beats reading someone complain about who their “fake” friends are.

I finally finished writing “Enlightened Ones”

I’m having more sex. Why did I spend mindless time sitting in front of a screen when I could have been spending quality time making love to my man? I must say, sex is much better for your skin than screen time.

I’ve been getting enough sleep, which is also much better for your skin.

Well, there you go. Again, if facebook is your thing, I totally understand. I just hope everyone understands why it isn’t my thing. We all have different interests and different lifestyles and staying off facebook really works for me.

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