Guest Post: 7 Reasons Why Facebook Is The Worst Thing To Happen To You
Today’s 7 Reasons guest post is brought to you by Jon Potter who works for Anicca Solutions, an online marketing agency. There are, according to Facebook, over 500 million people in the world with a Facebook account. That’s rather a lot. So many, in fact, you’d struggle to fit them in…anywhere. Even a Death Star or Tardis may have to admit defeat to that kind of number. So, you might say, a stupidly large number of people use Facebook, it must be pretty good, right? Wrong. Here are seven reasons why Facebook is the worst thing to ever happen to 500 million people.
1. Facebook Means Everyone Can See You. In A Creepy Way. Remember that weirdo you went on one date with and then never saw again? The one who kept a bottle of chloroform in their car and you assumed went to prison? Well, unless you’ve trawled through the complicated privacy settings on your Facebook account, they’re probably stalking you right now from their prison cell. Not a pleasant thought. But wait, it gets worse. Not only can they stalk you, but they can probably stalk your friends too. And your family. Yes folks, Facebook makes horror movies look more like documentary footage. Sure, everyone thinks they’re the plucky one who survives the entire film, but with 500 million other contenders out there, you’re almost certainly that nameless extra who dies at the beginning before the titles.
2. Facebook Sells Your Data. This has been said before and it might be a bit of a cheap shot. But, when it boils down to it, Facebook only exists in order to sell advertising based on the data you put in. They tell users ‘Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.’ But you can detect a bit of sarcasm in that when you read their message to advertisers: ‘People treat Facebook as an authentic part of their lives, so you can be sure you are connecting with real people with real interest in your products.’
3. Facebook Does Not Obey The King. In 1968, the wise shaman of popular music, Elvis Presley, issued a stirring call for ‘a little less conversation, a little more action please’. The people ignored his call (though they dug his funky music) and he issued it again, from beyond the grave, in 2001. Facebook would do well to listen. By providing a stream of news items, wall posts, status updates and comments, Facebook gives users conversations in a way never seen before. Facebook demands conversation above all else. Facebook does not want you going outside, it does not want you going to see your friends, it does not want you talking to them on the phone. Facebook wants you at home, alone, ‘chatting’ over its instant messaging service, commenting on your friends’ updates, writing on their walls. This way lies idle madness. Listen to the King, go out and see your friends. Add some action to your conversation and talk over a game of soccer or a trip to the cinema.* Go forth and be social in a way which Facebook cannot comprehend. Stick it to the machine.
4. Facebook Is Like A Horrible Drug Addiction That Steals Your Face. No, not because it sucks up your time (which it does), or because you can’t stop checking your newsfeed (which you can’t), or because you find yourself still logging on at 3 in the morning the night before your big job interview (which you do). No, Facebook is like a horrible drug addiction because, no matter how hard you try, you can never leave. You may think you have left Facebook. You may not have gone near the site in years. But somewhere, deep within the Facebook system, there is your face. And next to your face is your name. And next to that, are all the thousands of other details you put on your profile in the first place. Y’see, like Hotel California, you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave. Facebook will horde your details and won’t let you delete them. Even if you ask really nicely. No, really. You’re in there forever, baby.
5. Facebook Takes The Fun Out Of Having Friends. Imagine you didn’t know every microscopic detail of your friends’ lives. Imagine you didn’t know, for example, that Kevin ate noodles for lunch, Sandra watched the entire Godfather trilogy back to back last night, and Michael thinks Woody Allen is the best director since Edison built the first film studio. Imagine that you then go out for dinner with Kevin, Sandra, and Michael and you say ‘hey, what have you guys been up to?’ Imagine the surprise and delight you experience when you hear about their lives and you don’t know it already. This is the surprise and delight that Facebook is stealing from you. Shame on you, Facebook, shame on you.
6. Facebook Is Going To Lose Your Identity. Earlier this year, the Sony Playstation Network was hacked and lots of customers’ details stolen. Facebook is, to hackers after personal information, the mother ship. How much do you trust Facebook’s security? More or less than you trusted Sony’s? Yeah, thought so.
7. Facebook Causes Anxiety. Yes, it’s true. A recent report from psychologists at Edinburgh Napier University found that ‘there is a significant minority of users who experience considerable Facebook-related anxiety, with only very modest or tenuous rewards.’ Pressure stems from deleting unwanted contacts, pressure to be entertaining and inventive, or fears over using the correct etiquette for different ‘friends’. The question is, though, can you leave the site? Not only do Facebook keep your details, but according to the study, ‘Like gambling, Facebook keeps users in a neurotic limbo, not knowing whether they should hang on in there just in case they miss out on something good.’
*Don’t talk over the film. No one likes that.