I’ve been using Facebook for 12 years. When I was making my profile I remember being unsure about the utility of adding people I already knew on a new platform. At the time it seemed like a trivial thing. Years later, I’ve experienced the benefits and been weight down by the consequences of relying on Facebook for my social interactions.
It was good while it lasted
Facebook allowed seamless sharing of any aspect of your life with your friends and the world. You were able to easily organize events, share your thoughts, post your pictures, and keep up with an ever expanding social circle. It was easy to connect with people you met at a party or saw doing something that interested you. In sharing with the world you were able to quickly make connections and find like minded people.
The event planning ability of Facebook was always what I enjoyed the most. You could promote an event to your friend group and beyond. You could see what your friends were up to and join in. You could browse events happening around you and find new friends. Being able to share photos of the event after allowed everyone to hold on to the memories longer and stronger.
It was a fanatics tool. But there is a price to pay for a free service that knows all us better than we know ourselves.
The users are the product
In 2012, Facebook became a publicly traded company. The IPO put the valuation of Facebook at over $100 billion dollars. At the time, I couldn’t imagine what would make Facebook that valuable. Today it’s worth over $500 billion. They have made their money in selling the private details of their users. Facebook is a propaganda juggernaut that has been involved in scandal after scandal.
Facebook is still a meeting place, but it’s using everything to say for their own profit. They are selling the sociological model of you to the highest bidder. Personal data gathered over decades is being used to manipulate us to act against our own interests. We are the product Facebook is selling, and they are selling our free will.
Social media: the chore
Social media has become a necessity of modern life. No longer is it a fun way to stay connected, rather it’s a personal brand that needs to be maintained. Your peers, co-workers, clients, and finical institutions use your social media to judge you. In China they have gone full blown 1984 and created Social Credit System. Science fiction from 2016 is now a real.
The effort of maintaining an online presences while balancing work and play means that you can never be switched off. I came across an article that explains the emotional labour and burnout facing Millennials. I highly recommend reading it in it’s entirety.
It’s not a temporary affliction: It’s the millennial condition. It’s our base temperature. It’s our background music. It’s the way things are. It’s our lives.
We are constantly working, being watched, and being judged on what we do. It’s absolutely exhausting. The effort of maintaining a presence on Facebook is no longer worth all the drawbacks. It’s a chore that I no longer want.
Facebook allowed us to extend our social circle far and wide. I’ve directly benefited from that. I’ve connected with people around the world and had experiences that would have never happened without social media. Although my relationships have gone wide, they have not gone deep. In this vast world of infinite possibilities, we are more disconnected than ever.
Going wide isn’t making me happy. Facebook wasn’t improving my life, it was just taking up brain space. After 12 years it had become second nature to me to always be on it. I’m braking that habit. I’m going to focus on going deep.
I have deleted my Facebook profile.