Facebook is like that bad boy you meet as a teenager. The one who you know is bad for you; The one your mother tells you to stay away from as it “will only end in tears;” The one you just can’t seem to get enough of.
You keep going back even though you often end up jealous, anxious or dissatisfied by the experience. You think about cutting him off and never looking back but you just can’t take the step for fear of “missing out” on something.
According to a study carried out in the US: “Vacation photos caused the highest level of resentment among Facebook users who reported to experience a high amount of envy”. Read more of the study here.
I myself have toyed with the idea of deleting my Facebook account. However, although some aspects of it are annoying I personally still enjoy the experience and find it beneficial to interact with a large amount of people quickly.
Having said that I did conduct a little experiment recently. I went on a week-long holiday to Fiji and left my phone at home – meaning no social media or any online activity for the whole week!
I have to admit it was a little weird at first and took some getting used to:
When I took a great holiday selfie with cocktail in hand, it was strange not posting it on Facebook with the tag: “Life is sweet” and when I shot a video of the kids “cannon-balling” into the pool, I once again automatically went to reach for my phone to share it with the world.
I also am embarrassed to admit that although I was having a great holiday there where definitely times I felt the urge to jump into the social media world and find out what everybody else was up to.
So, when we arrived back in Australia, at midnight, the first thing I did was locate my phone and hungrily race to log in to my Facebook account.
And this is what I missed:
– A handful of pictures of my friends’ children receiving awards at school
– You Tube videos of a dad dancing with his daughter when returning from work and a dog who can supposedly talk
– At least 20 videos of people completing their “Ice Challenge”
And this is what I gained:
– Being totally present in the moment. Experiencing something and just letting it be that – an experience. Not something to broadcast to everybody else but something special just for me.
– Actual real interaction. Remember that? Talking and laughing with friends and family instead of liking and commenting on their life from behind a screen.
– Memories. Ones that are stored in my mind not on my news feed.
Looking back I am so glad that I made the decision to take a holiday from social media.
As with everything in life I believe there has to be a balance and I worry about the people who are out of balance with the impact social media is having on them: Those who feel lonely, worthless and envious after the Facebook experience; Those who are losing the ability to have real experiences and proper conversations; Those who believe that the one-sided story of a person’s life displayed on Facebook is actual reality.
I think we need to keep discussing this issue and I highly recommend that everybody takes a holiday from social media once in a while.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you deleted your Facebook account? Are you concerned people are becoming addicted to social media? Do you have positive or negative experiences with Facebook?