I still can’t quit Facebook, despite being aware of its harmful effect

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The mass exodus from Facebook is real. It is obvious that people don’t log in, share or comment as much as they used to. Facebook  has become uncool.

Cambridge Analytica was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Even celebrities like Elon Musk  and Will Ferell have hit the delete button. But this isn’t what made Facebook unpopular. As any avid Facebook user will tell you, it was evident to everyone that Facebook was spying on us even before the evidence became public.

Though Mark Zuckerberg has apologised to  Facebook users, it still feels like the social platform is playing psychological games on its users. I get all tensed and reluctant  before logging in. People and pages I have unfollowed show up on my feed, and it feels like information I’m not interested in is constantly being shoved down my throat. Why? The Facebook algorithm is clearly taking the piss out of its users.

Facebook has become like the nasty next-door neighbour that you don’t like, but are obliged to greet on a daily basis.

Still I have no plans to delete my Facebook account. Why?

I am not ready to give up on the Facebook groups

Throughout the years I have joined a number of common interest groups, that I am honestly not willing to give up . They are not just information gold mines, but genuinely great digital communities for sharing your passions, thoughts and insights.

Back in 2015 during a dark phase in my life I deleted my Facebook account. My life immediately transformed for the better. My stress levels dropped, I made new friends and focused on myself. It was like a huge weight was suddenly lifted off my chest.

It was also like the ‘virtual reality’ lens was finally switched off and I could see the real world around me. I felt liberated.

However after three great months of abstinence I decided to join Facebook again because I missed those online communities (especially my Hong Kong photography groups). But most importantly, as soon as I started taking freelance writing work, sharing my work on Facebook was seen as crucial. I simply couldn’t afford staying off Facebook.

I use Messenger- a lot

Having made friends and acquaintances from around the world, I never use people’s phone numbers to contact them. It just has to be online.

You are right thinking this sounds lazy AF. Surely there’s Skype, Viber, Whatsapp… and what happened to e-mail…?

Facebook has dampen my social skills.

The thing is that until now everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, had Facebook, whereas not everyone used the same messaging platform. It takes time and energy to trace down people digitally, and Facebook made that so much easier. (The downside being,of course, that you waste so much time wishing people you don’t really care about happy birthday, instead of contacting those that you do care about.)

Now that this is changing, I am willing to explore new platforms as my primary messaging platform. I suspect that as soon as I do that, I will communicate in a much healthier way with others, and give priority to people I genuinely care to contact.

Fear of Missing Out

Even though FOMO is clearly the reason why everyone should quit Facebook right now and never look back, it is also the reason why some of us stay.

And by FOMO I don’t mean browsing other people’s carefree look-at-me pictures but rather knowing that the mommy group from your child’s school is having all the important conversations on their Facebook group page.

That’s right, Facebook still has me by the balls.

In any case, Facebook is bad for your mental health

I often have vivid flashbacks of life before Facebook. I am so amazed at how simpler things were before this social media craze.  I realize that insidious platforms like Facebook and Instagram completely changed every aspect of how I saw myself and how I saw others.

Joining Facebook was like putting on goggles-I started seeing life through a blurry lens. What’s more, when I signed up I didn’t realise I was giving up something I wouldn’t be able to get easily back (despite being ‘free’ to do so): my freedom.

There’s no doubt that Facebook is damaging our mental health, as social media addiction pushes us on the brink of a mental health crisis.

But when push comes to shove, it’s up to us to fight back and just say no. It’s not easy. You don’t ask an alcoholic to give up addiction by drinking less.

But I hope that I manage to take longer mental strides away from Facebook’s mind control practices, at least until a less domineering substitute becomes available.

Freedom is a state of mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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