It promotes a certain dependence on getting others to “like” you. And they don’t even see the real you. They just see what you type on screen. The side of you that you want people to see.
In real life, these same people would not even like you that much. They won’t call you up to meet or even chat, won’t correspond with you over email or snail mail to have more heart-to-heart contact rather than seeing short snippets of you on Facebook. And yet you might have reason to believe these people really do like you. Simply because they “like” your statuses on FB.
I realise I’ve been getting a certain sense of disappointment when I post a status and no one “likes” it. And a certain satisfaction when someone does. Especially if a lot of them do. I have enough problems in real life. Don’t need to add on to it with FB “likes” dependency.
Oh and I’ve been through the whole snooping through people’s profiles just to see what they look like or are associated with type thing. I always feel like I’m doing something really sleazy and wrong whenever I do that. I feel like I am going against all my principles when I do that. Why should what other people look like or associate themselves with matter to me? Can’t I just take them for who they are? Apparently not on FB. Because there’s so little of them you see from a post or comment. You have no way of sizing up a person until you find out more info about them. It’s unlike real-life encounters, when a person’s body language and tone of voice give off so many clues to me that I can size them up better that way upon meeting. But on FB, I can’t. And it makes me feel uncomfortable not being able to tell from a person’s post whether what they said was a joke, a dig, an assertion, or a lie.
Facebook promotes paranoia. You say something, yet people take it the wrong way. You update your status to reflect something you see or feel in your own life, yet people think you are really covertly referring to them. Sometimes I self-censor what I say on FB. Sometimes I delete things I’ve posted, because I realise afterwards that it might come across as offensive to some people even though I did not mean to offend them in particular. So FB becomes this very restrictive, narrow space in which only some aspects of our thoughts are “safe” to divulge. If not, feel the wrath or angst from those who took it the wrong way. And if you’re sensitive enough, like me, you get yourself emotionally drawn into this, having to explain yourself endlessly to these people, and maybe end up just wasting your time and effort because these people don’t accept whatever you say after you inadvertently offended them with what you’ve said in the beginning, anyway.
And after all’s been said and done, you realise that these people whom you’ve been arguing with are not worth your time because they were never your real friends, were never a part of your life （except for that short period when the argument ensued）, were arguing with you over something that is of little to zero importance in your daily life, and the entire fiasco could have been avoided if you had just kept your fingers away from FB in the first place and just not post at all.
In FB, everyone who sees and is able to reply to your posts are almost like Thought Police. I eventually stopped posting so many personal statuses because I couldn’t be bothered to deal with any possible repercussions afterwards. I eventually started posting lots of memes, posters and articles instead. But even that doesn’t keep trouble at bay. Someone in my contacts list just might take offence at something I’ve posted, even if it wasn’t a status update but a meme/poster/article I shared from someone else’s page… and then the same old problem happens again.
FB is great for keeping in touch, you say? Fair enough. But I find that the people who matter most to me don’t even like FB that much and hardly ever post on it. Nor do they respond to private messages promptly, because maybe they just don’t check FB at all much, and they have set it such that it doesn’t sync or produce notifications. Or maybe… they just don’t like me enough to want to check into FB often enough （there’s that paranoia rearing it’s ugly head again… me thinking that my friends don’t like me that much because they don’t check their FB often enough to respond to my pm’s）. The real truth is borne out when I get off FB. I went to catch up with these friends in real life. Even going as far as jumping on a plane just to meet them. And every one of them has been a heartwarming meeting. A meeting of old friends, who can just pick up from where we left it years ago and start talking again like no tomorrow.
Alright maybe FB isn’t that bad. I arranged almost every single one of our real-life meets via FB private messaging, because it has become the most reliable and free-of-charge method to reach them. Most of my friends don’t use Whatsapp or any of the other internet communication app, calling by phone is expensive and most of the time they don’t even pick up or they are even worse at responding to email or their emails change without warning. But if I FB private message them a request to meet up in real life, they respond pretty promptly.
Why the discrepancy?
I can only conclude (rightly or wrongly) that people have different needs. Maybe they are not fond of writing long replies or reading long catch-up messages I send on FB. Or maybe I’m just boring on paper.
I guess all I’m trying to say is that I have a love-hate relationship with FB and I’m almost on the verge of cutting FB out of my life, save the FB messaging app, for arranging meet ups and things like that.
I am already on that route. I have started using this app called Scope a few months ago. It is better than FB because it syncs all my online accounts together into one News Feed. I find that I log into FB these days mainly to catch up on news or other interesting articles. I do the same on my Twitter. With Scope, I get all of it on one feed. I actually don’t use Twitter much for communication, but to find interesting articles to read, as I follow a lot of really brilliant intellectuals on Twitter and get my fix of politics/sociology/psychology articles through them via Twitter. Best thing is, on Scope, I can really see just how pointless a lot of my FB News Feed items are when they sit alongside my Twitter News Feed. The only bad thing about Scope is that it is a bit buggy. Once Scope was down for several days, and I reverted back to the FB app and suddenly found myself drawn into the whole FB thing again. Why is it so hard? It’s like an addiction.
And so, the weaning begins.