When I had my first Facebook account in 2006, Friendster was still the ‘in’ thing within the Southeast Asia region and not many were aware of Facebook, frankly speaking.
However, since its inception in 2004, Facebook has become an integral part of many people across the globe, penetrating deep into our social lives both offline and online. This has caused me to wonder, “What will happen to me, a not-so-tech-savvy Gen-Y, when Facebook is not part of my social equation”?
After getting myself off Facebook for a week, these are what I’ve found out:
1. If you feel anxious about not logging into Facebook, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship with it.
For once, I feel that being separated from Facebook means that I am no longer connected to my friends as well as latest local and international trends. If you’re like me, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate how Facebook is influencing your REAL life.
For instance, do you only stay connected to other people by pressing that ‘like’ button on your friends’ posts, photos, and links without real life catching-up sessions? Do you only chat using Facebook messenger or the comment box, not meeting the people in person? If you answer ‘yes’ to these two questions, then Facebook is a major part of your social life and, in fact, may have well substituted the need for physical connection and interaction with the society.
As for me in that one week without Facebook, I actually talked to more people who I hadn’t talked to in ages. I nudged my university roommate and learnt that she had just landed on her ideal working location. We had a good long chat of life after graduation as well. Then, there is another friend who will be getting married early next year (and I’m already thinking about choosing the right gift for the newly weds). These happenings, I must say, are some that I will not know if I don’t approach them personally.
It felt more intimate and satisfying than just hitting ‘like’ on their posts. Moreover, it made me realise how much of a ‘stranger’ my Facebook contacts areactually to me in real life.
2. Facebook is not the only way to boost self-esteem.
Famous people with thousands and millions of followers, photographers who have every single posted photo hitting at least 1,000 likes, socialites who seem to be always partying. When I’m on Facebook, I tend to click on their profile pages, browse through their recent happenings, and look at what others are commenting even when I’m not commenting on anything.
“I wish I could be like them, or at least somewhat like them.” Does this line sound familiar to you? Has it been growing in your mind to a stage where you’re posting selfies and photos with unrelated captions just to see how many ‘likes’ you can fetch? Do you feel the urge to share your food, the place you’re in, and everything that is awesome to you on Facebook?
Facebook isn’t the only way to tell yourself that you are worthy of attention and is no lesser than other people. Join that class to learn that skill or new language you’ve always wanted to try out and see yourself improving from reading “Japanese for Dummies” to “Yomiuri Shinbun” Japanese news portal. Your self-esteem will be more long-lasting with the solid skill that you’ve acquired. At least, you won’t get depressed as in when that latest photo can’t fetch as much ‘like’ as the previous one.
3. If your friends are really concerned about you not appearing on Facebook, they will ask you directly.
Some Facebook users find pleasure in browsing through news feed without hitting ‘like’ or commenting, but some prefer to post regularly. I belong to the latter. Sometimes, I do that to literally shout to people that: “Hey, I’m here and alive!” And that explains the random muses and incomprehensible status updates.
However, no one asked about what I was doing when I didn’t post anything for a week. No one called the police to lodge a missing case. What I’d gotten were friends who poked me in Whatsapp or Google talk for random chats and called up to arrange our next date. In fact, they are my friends who I’ve kept all these while even without Facebook. True friends and even people who sincerely want to know about you will call, not just follow you on Facebook.
Getting off Facebook for a week had indeed done some good to my real life, though I must admit as well that I was clueless when someone talked about something that I didn’t know, and thus fetching the “How come you’re not aware of it? It’s in Facebook!” look. Facebook is a social tool to stay connected, but it is not a substitute for physical connections with our loved ones, society, and the world.
This post is written by Connie Tang. “Connie Tang is your average joe in technology, but is trying to keep her fingers of the Facebook app as much as possible to smell fresh flowers, not that flower posted by National Geography in their Facebook fan page.”