Picture a world where you can’t just reach in to your pocket and see what everyone is doing all the time. Yeah, that’s a world I don’t ever want to be a part of. I can’t even remember what I used to do before Facebook; it’s like a black hole of nothingness and then all of a sudden everyday just became FACEBOOK. Some may argue that this is a good thing, that it’s excellent we can all have a voice, or that we can communicate with all our friends all the time, and that as a species Facebook has made us more social. Others have said that Facebook has made us all more isolated and actually lonelier. No matter what you believe, we all have to accept the fact that Facebook has changed the dynamic of what it means to be a human in the modern world. According to zdnet.com everyday we spend 10.5 billion minutes on Facebook (and that’s excluding mobile devices). Let me repeat 10.5 BILLION MINUTES A DAY ARE SPENT ON FACEBOOK from computers only worldwide. That means everyday 19,977.17 years are spent just browsing Facebook, getting nothing accomplished. Valuable time is gone, dumped down a tube of comments, and likes, and shitty pictures of food, and everyone’s thoughts on everything, and a constant stream of mostly things you never really needed to know (I say mostly because occasionally you get those gems that you’re actually glad you read). Below are 7 ways Facebook is rapidly making humans worse.
Shortening Our Attention Spans
Our attention spans now last as long as it takes from a post to go from the top of our computer screen to the “More Stories” tab at the bottom. Information moves so fast and there’s such an abundance of it, that once you’ve found something interesting almost immediately there’s something newer, better, more interesting, funnier and the cycle continues 24/7 all the time. Nothing can capture our full attention for more than an instant because there’s always going to be something else. Facebook is an endless stream of stuff; it’s literally built for people who can’t pay attention to something for more than a few seconds. It was designed by the impulses of our entire generation.
We Need Constant Validation
I’m glad that everyone has an opinion and as a matter of fact, it’s your right as a human to have one, but that doesn’t mean people need to actually hear it. I have read status updates from people and felt myself losing a measurable amount respect for that person after each word that I read. The status update has given everyone an unwarranted ego. It’s the, “I’m doing this right now and you should acknowledge it” mentality. Every single status update should just read, “VALIDATE ME” because that’s what people are asking for. Facebook is capitalizing on our sense of entitlement and the fact that we think people should care about us all the time. For example, we’ve all heard someone say, “Did you see that thing I posted on Facebook? Oh, you did? How come you didn’t like it?” Because I don’t have to acknowledge every little thing you do! Now I’m the asshole for not clicking the ‘LIKE’ button to validate them and I’m feeling the consequences in real life. Not cool.
Creating a New Addiction
There is such thing as Facebook addiction and I know this because I saw an ad for it while I was on Facebook. People are actually addicted to the site, whether it be the thrill of getting likes, or the thrill of anonymously stalking your ex, or just the need for the endless stream of stimulation that Facebook provides. It’s weird to think that we live in a world where people could be addicted to the virtual realities of other people. Twenty years ago that concept would be absolutely preposterous, but now it’s actually a thing. It is, the constant need to know what other people are doing all the time. And it’s called…
"Fuck marijuana and cocaine, Facebook was my gateway drug..."
F.O.M.O. stands for, The Fear Of Missing Out. According to Social Psychologist Deana Julka from the University of Portland, this is a real disorder and it was caused by social media. "Facebook is the new, ultimate, 'keeping up with the Joneses,'" she says. "And it's actually more detrimental, because people can post only what they want others to see, so they can choose the best pictures of themselves, discuss the most interesting events of their travels, jobs, etc., and most importantly, carefully choose exactly how they will be perceived. It's impression management to the extreme." Facebook has the potential to make people feel like they're being left out, she says, because viewers can only see the events people choose to post. The one good thing about this disorder is you can say things like, “I don’t miss anything on Facebook, no FOMO.”
There Are More Hermits Than Ever Before
Text has almost made talking to people unnecessary. So often, I hear people say that they hate talking to people on the phone, so they just text all the time. With Facebook, you don’t really need to talk to anyone anymore. You can chat, you can post on people’s walls, you can send emails and you never once have to actually interact in person. You don’t even need pants to be considered social anymore, you just need to be in people’s news feeds, your existence will probably be acknowledged and thus you will be validated. People are becoming awkward because they don’t know how to interact in person. They’re stuck in their little virtual world and they can’t really connect with anyone, it’s like they’re constantly doing an impression of how they think a human would act around another human. It’s weird and it’s only going to get worse for future generations the less and less we physically interact with each other.
Everyone is Becoming a Critic
You can comment on anything and say whatever you want and no one can really stop you. If there were a real video of a Jesus descending upon the earth to impart wisdom on humanity that went viral (I know it’s a stretch but stay with me), thousands of people would say horrible things like, “He’s a faggot” and “That’s not real” or, “I fucked his mom!” Facebook isn’t anonymous, but it gives you the ability to have a voice while shielding you from any real life repercussions. No one can punch you in the face through Facebook, but they can find out where you live.
We Have No Privacy
Remember when people you didn’t know have unfettered access to most of your personal information 24/7? I don’t. You’re information is out there and you were the one who provided it. Who knows what they (The almighty powers of Facebook) do with it, or who really has access to it, but it’s scary to think that through a series of algorithms, they know basically everything there is to know about you. I don’t want this to sound like Facebook was developed by the illuminati (because that’s just absurd), but it’s amazing that the developers were able to make us volunteer our personal information to be a part of the community and as the website develops it becomes “cooler” to provide even more information, via Tags, check-ins, likes, places, life events, etc… Plus, unless you have your privacy settings turned up, anyone can just come stalk you without your knowledge. You pretty much have 0 privacy anymore, but hey, at least you have like 1000 ‘friends!’
As future generations come along and people begin to use Facebook at younger and younger ages, the above problems will become more prevalent and widespread and I’m sure new psychological disorders will develop. The Internet has changed the world immensely, but Facebook has changed the human condition. No one really has 1000 ‘friends’ in real life and your profile is just illusion and a projection of who you want people to believe you are. A good way to tell how many friends you really have is to post a status saying that you need help moving, however many people are willing to help is your actual amount of friends.
Aristotle is a Florida based comedian who thinks that people who say they’re bored with Facebook, are just bored with the 1000 shitty people they call “friends.” You can follow him on Twitter @STOTLE.