I want to deactivate my Facebook account.
I would, but I can’t.
The reason why I can’t is because I have to use it for my job and deactivating would make me lose admin status on all the groups I have control of. And while leaving the network would be temporary, I just know this is just one of Mark Zuckerberg’s annoying yet incredibly smart ploys to keep me connected to his creation.
I’ve recently finished reading Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook which inspired David Fincher’s recent and critically acclaimed film The Social Network. Anyone who has read or seen the movie will probably know about all the drama, frustration and life-changing events that happened while Facebook was conceived.
But while this social network was created to help people stay connected, meet other people and feel closer to one another through a digital outlet, I can’t help but find this idea incredibly frightening. Just logging on to my Facebook, I am bombarded with people seeking validation for their statuses and links. Pointless things like Instagrammed pictures of their daily meal to statuses about how someone can’t sleep are all seeking ‘likes’ and comments from fellow Facebook friends and acquaintances.
It scares me how simple, average things like these are now considered worthy to be shared on the world wide web. It scares me that I have fallen into this trap.
I often find myself logging into my various social media accounts looking for notifications and ‘likes’ for things I have posted. And when someone does reply, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride that someone has made the time to look at what I’ve decided to share.
I know for a fact I am not alone here. Because in all honesty, why else would people continue to post up pictures of their meals, their hangouts and links to their blog posts? IT’S BECAUSE THEY WANT OTHER PEOPLE TO SEE IT.
Why has this become the norm for our generation? Why have things such as breakfast and pictures of your puppy become so noteworthy that it has to be shared with the world?
While I’m not qualified to give a correct answer to this, I do have a guess. Seeking validation is part of human nature. As people, we are always looking for things in common with others and the internet is just another platform for us to find it.
I have a lot of accounts on the internet from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, YouTube to most recently, Vine. Having all these accounts are fun and all, but for me, they’re all beginning to look like vanity projects. We’ve become obsessed with posting about ourselves that it almost seems like many of us would rather live inside a bubble instead of trying to create a positive influence in the world.
Now I’m not saying that having accounts on social networks are a particularly bad thing. I just think people are sort of abusing social networks’ purposes and have decided to let them become part of their lives.
Everything about this scares me because I know we’re letting the internet consume our lives. I think what I originally liked about the internet was how much power it makes me feel. The power to share, the power to write, the power to influence.
But like all powers, there is a downfall. And that downfall is that I’m abusing it and using it too much.
I’m trying hard to realize that life isn’t about the amount of ‘likes’, ‘comments’ or ‘follows’ you get. Like instead of wasting my time writing this, I should probably be going out for a run like I promised myself to do three to four times a week.
Like a drug, these social networks have made me feel good about myself and I think it’s slowly but surely beginning to destroy me.
I love how they make me feel powerful. But I also hate how they make me feel like I have no life.
And while I know it seems hard to cure this, the solution is as easy as getting your ass off the chair and going out for a walk.
(P.S. And the sad thing is, I’ll probably be tweeting and Facebooking this post.)