Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Facebook: A Part of Living In This Generation

Based on my nephew's cover photo

Facebook was good... More than seven years ago I opened an account on Facebook. Reluctantly.  I was very excited to find people I once knew and have lost contact with. It was even more encouraging to be able to revisit the past with them and get a glimpse of where they are now. Consider Facebook as your glorified Address Book.  No question about that. But it seems like it is beginning to loose its benefits in favor of the negative effects on our individual lives.  This technology somehow came into our world and we embraced it.  The sad truth is that we were not prepared for it. It is like having a pet rabbit live in the house without making the necessary adjustments.  The bunny may be very cute and cuddly but if left alone, soon the carpet will be ruined, the computer cables and electric will be chewed and the chair cushions will have holes everywhere. It is a good idea to bunny-proof the house before letting the bunny out, so it is to Facebook-proof our lives to prevent further ruin.

Currently this is how I see Facebook...

Snooping place - Humans are social beings.  We were created to be so.  It used to be that physical proximity was mostly the way to be social.  Nowadays, Facebook (and other social media platforms) creates a virtual proximity between us and the "friends".  So now people get up in the morning and log on Facebook see what's going on.  Not that we want to see world news  - because we would be watching the CNN or KCRA instead.  Seeing what others are posting became entertainment.   Snooping became a pastime that is so addictive.  One problem: While we may be able to glean some beneficial bits, a large proportion of the information we get there are not worth anything. Like physical snooping, Facebook gives one an excuse to stare at someone's picture in full screen - but do you think your conscience, parents, children or spouse feel comfortable seeing what's blown up on your screen?  As I said in an earlier post - a powerful screening system is apropos.

A Venue to Show off -  People need to show off and we need a platform to do it. That is the reason County Fairs are held- so that we can exhibit our prized produce and livestock annually.  But at the Facebook Fair, people can display their goods everyday or every hour.  Sometimes three post in an hour.  On Facebook people are selling or convincing others of something.  And we want people to buy them.  In my case if I post pictures of flowers and birds from my garden, it's because I think they are beautiful and that you should also think the same way.  If I share an article about the seed vault in Norway it's because I think you would appreciate it as much as I do. Sadly, that is not the case at all.  People post what they think are beautiful, helpful, informative and worthy cause - worth sharing to the world.  Of course, the criteria differ from person to person.  Unlike in the County Fair, there is no set standard in evaluating these posts for their significance or worthiness.  Our preferences and inclinations will be manifested on what we sell (as in our political views).  In my case, for example, plants and my family are what I post a lot of.  People who do not know me well will soon find out that I like plants and my life revolves around my family. I'm pretty sure some of my friends are annoyed at my predictable pattern. Sometimes we do some merchandising to manage the impression we get.  We all do that one time or another  some more than others.  There is one problem.  There is an addiction to the positive reaction from our audience. While I might get the admiration of some, I may also make others feel inadequate or feel annoyed. You can say it is their problem but we also can definitely help in this department.

Time Sucking Machine - Facebook is like a television.  It feeds us information, mostly unnecessary and trivial, and we react even without planning to do so.  We like and like and like - sometimes not what people post but the people posting.  Make sure that by spending time "liking" you are not forgetting to give attention or approval allowance to the people who are physically close to you - like the people at your house or at work. Every activity requires time but would it not be better if we decide on where our minds/time be spent?  I used to say to my kids that if they do not have a plan that I have a plan for them.. If we are not decided on how we spend our time then others will do that for us.  So what's wrong with that?   You might say that you scroll only when you are off work and during your free time.  But that free time might be the only time you could talk to your kids or hear about what your spouse is thinking. Or is your mind already filled up with the thoughts of someone from the people you so avidly follow?  Limit your time and set your priorities straight.  It's okay if you missed someone's post.  You'll live. Time is a precious resource. Once it is gone we cannot recover it anymore.

 Facebook can still be good.  There are more things in life where we can spend our 24-hour quota of the day.  Each moment I spend on Facebook - looking at what others are doing is a time not spent on doing something.   I will use that time to be creative.  Facebook is a platform to display one's self.   But there are many other canvases to display our gifts and talents.  Engage in more creative rather than consumptive activities. Spend more time reflecting on wisdom-building thoughts than scrolling for nothing.  Be original.  Mark a verse or quote that touches you from your own readings.  Read what you plan to read.  Add to the vast information to the world

 I wrote this to convince myself to limit my Facebook time.  I have been working on it but this time I will put a definite time limit and test my self control.  Therefore, if you will not see me reacting to your posts, it's probably because I missed its passing through my timeline because I was doing something else.  😊

It is very interesting to see  the other articles I've written about Facebook over the years (see below). They reflect my changing thoughts about the effects of this social media platform that has become part of life.  

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