March 16, 2015
Why Facebook Is A Bad Habit For Designers
I did it. This week I deactivated my Facebook account. Yay for me right? Nope, screw that. I'm excited that I will no longer be participating in the highly successful and highly habitual website. Sense my sarcasm? Apologies for my bitterness but I'm pissed at myself for getting hooked on Facebook and sadly I can guarantee you I'm not the only one. Have you ever been in a public place or event and saw someone pull out their phone to check the next post or status from one of their friends? Stupid right? Why the hell are we addicted to doing this? Does any of it really matter? Don’t get me wrong Facebook is a great way to communicate with people you know or people you want to know but there’s a point to where you feel connected even though in reality you’re growing further apart. This post is a personal take on what Facebook is to me and how it and many sites like it have become habit-forming nightmares.
Why quit? Everyone's doing it
Why not? I joined Facebook many moons ago and off the bat, I remember not liking the website at all. Myspace was still a thing and I was into customization over being social. Myspace allowed you to do what you wanted with your profile whereas Facebook forced its own hand on how you interacted with your specific user base. Both platforms allowed you to send messages, add friends, join groups and more but something about Facebook just seemed to powerful and controlling. To my dismay, my switch to Facebook was inevitable and my theory became a reality.
Today, you can find nearly anyone on Facebook. It’s a great way to keep in touch with people you haven’t seen or are too far away to see in person. The website is super powerful and helps many people connect the way they have always wanted. In retrospect, I consider Facebook to be an imaginary boundary between people.
In retrospect, I consider Facebook to be an imaginary boundary between people.
Let me explain. Over the years I have noticed there is a less physical interaction between people now that they have everyone they need to communicate with on Facebook. No longer do you need to call someone, meet up for drinks or just hang. I think people including myself, just figure that’s a waste of time when they can just as easily do as they please and still be connected. Why put in the effort when so much is already done for us?
As technology becomes smarter and faster, we use it to essentially do our dirty work for us. Breakthroughs in technology have made us all become very lazy. We turn off to the outside world so we can connect to our digital world because we view it as a higher priority. Facebook is a digital world. If you overuse it you develop a habit. Habits, as you probably know, are tough to break. Doing so takes a commitment between you and yourself. Breaking any habit is tough but this one is easy if you eliminate the ways in which you can access the website. Deleting your account is a great step for starters (duh!). From there delete any apps you use on your phone or tablet so you're not tempted to login. I've even gone as far as blacklisting the website so my browsers can't visit it.
Facebook Is A Habit, Not A Drug
I realize I may be overreaching the concept of Facebook and it's similarities to drugs but it's more than just one website contributing to our bad habits and this is a scary thing. Not only because fewer and fewer people physically communicate as I explained before, but the fact that it is now almost expected of our society to "get in touch" on Facebook. This leads me to believe that we are in for a rude awakening and soon.
To put it in perspective, imagine tomorrow there is some weird data or cellular glitch worldwide or within your nation. What do you do? Your typical reaction would likely be to reach for your cell phone and try to connect with someone right? What if you can’t? Then what? Not ten years ago social interaction still existed. You couldn't just reach for a small device in your pocket and contact someone clear across the world. If you needed to make a call you had to use a landline somewhere. If you run out of gas, guess what? you get to walk to the closest gas station. Cell phones are the nature of the beast. A cell phone's first primary use was to make calls, now it’s probably used less than half the time to actually talk to another human.
It's not just Facebook
We as a society are stuck. Technology is great and helpful but I think there comes a point to where you have to choose between living and absorbing. Living means getting out and away from your screen, much like I want to right now :). Absorbing means sitting in front of any device and waiting for the next post, tweet, status update, message, and more.
All people are creatures of habit.
There are things we do that we can't explain why or how we do them. Until you take a step back and realize what's more important in your time alive will you do yourself the favor of spending each day, each moment, each breath the absolute fullest? I've been hard on Facebook and other sites like it in this post. But I'm trying to kill a habit. Doing so with something like this seems completely dumb but I feel strongly that there are greater things in life and I hope more people begin to realize this.
Have a bad habit with a social platform or website like me? Share with us so I know I'm not the only one! :)