Tag Archive: Facebook

What Can Facebook Do For Me?

Last week, Tim wrote an excellent post about the problems that Facebook can cause in our lives.  If you feel that Facebook is too much a part of your daily life, his suggestion of what I call a “Facebook fast” is an excellent one.   However, as with any behavior, you need a plan for change.  If you want to cut back your Facebook usage but don’t know where to start or what responsible Facebooking looks like, the odds of being sucked right back in to the Facebook vortex are much higher.  This post, intended to be a companion to Tim’s, will describe some of the great things that Facebook can do for us and why, despite its problems, I believe it can be a tremendous gift to us.

You might ask, “How?  My news feed is filled with ‘So-and so found a pink cow in Farmville!’ and ‘Eating a sandwich.'”  If the games, quizzes, and questions annoy you, hide them (my news feed is much improved by blocking almost every one of these notifications that comes my way).  You might then be tempted to hide the person who posts about their lunch every day, or the person who is endlessly posting depressing song lyrics, or tHE pErsOn wHo TyPeS LIkE tHiS.  I wonder, though, if being able to easily hide things that disturb us, or annoy us, or frustrate us, contribute to the feelings of loneliness and isolation so common in our generation?  I had hidden several of these friends for months, but then I realized something.  Those friends, because they are so far removed from my daily experiences, keep me aware that the world does not consist of people like me – people who like the same things, feel the same way about things, respond the same way to life’s circumstances.  I unhid everyone from my news feed about six months ago; since then, those reminders have been invaluable in my consideration of how best to show love and compassion to the surrounding world.

As my friends finish college, get jobs, and get married, they are scattering all over the country.  While I keep in touch with some of them via phone or e-mail, it is Facebook for most of them.  Because many of my scattered friends are on Facebook fairly often, it is easy to keep up with what is going on in their lives.  This serves two benefits: it helps to at least maintain the friendship – in the days before Facebook, it was too easy to let a friendship slide due to difficulty of keeping in contact – and because the friend and I are up to speed on the basics, when we do talk on the phone or in person it eliminates the hours upon hours of reciting everything that has happened in our lives since we last saw each other and enables deeper, more fulfilling conversation.

After keeping in touch with distant friends, the way I use Facebook the most is simply as a social version of Google Reader.  Many of my friends have similar interests as me, so when they post an article about something, odds are it is something I will be interested in.  For instance, when Osama bin Laden died, my Facebook feed contained links to speeches, patriotic songs, famous quotes, news articles, blog posts, etc. all in one convenient location.  In addition, as an atmospheric scientist, it fascinates me to see the posts and photos about weather occurring all over the world.  During hazardous weather such as tornado outbreaks, my news feed becomes a weather news reader containing radar images, satellite images, videos, storm reports, photos, and much more.  Without Facebook, I would have to hunt down all this information, which would take much longer than scrolling through my news feed.

I realize that everyone reading this has a different experience of Facebook.  If you’re reading this and you have Facebook, you’ve probably complained about the contents of your news feed before.  I’ve given some examples of what I think are healthy, responsible ways to view and use Facebook; hopefully, these perspectives will make Facebook less of a time-sucking enemy and more of a useful relationship tool and/or knowledge base.


America’s New Pastime: FACEBOOK

America’s new pastime:  FACEBOOK

“As of 2011, there are 500,000,000 active Facebook users. Approximately 1 in EVERY 13 people on EARTH.”

Over 700 billion minutes every month are spent on Facebook! If I calculated the math correctly, that accounts to 79,863,091 years spent on Facebook every month. If you currently have a Facebook account, how much time do you spend monthly, weekly, or even daily on the website? Of the 500,000,000 users, over 250,000,000 log in every day to access their accounts. 28% of Facebook users check their Facebook before even getting out of bed! In fact, 57% of people talk to people more online than they do in real life!

While reading through all of these statistics, I was thinking to myself, “How did I become involved in Facebook and social interaction online?” Ironically, I still remember the day I entered the online social world. My experience began at my 6th grade birthday party when one of my friends downloaded AOL Instant Messenger on my computer. Back then (2003), AOL could be considered the MySpace or Facebook of its day.  Little did I know, my life would be changed forever. Whenever I logged on to the computer, I would always sign into AOL to see if any of my friends were online to chat while I worked on homework or surfed the web. For me, these were the days when social interaction online increased between my friends. Two years later, a new social website named MySpace started to emerge. As more and more of my friends transitioned to MySpace, I followed the trend. Toward the end of my 8th grade year and beginning of my freshmen year, Facebook become popular and once again, my friends began transitioning to this new website. I always wondered what caused these transitions. What were people my age looking for in online interaction?

If you remember how you transitioned into the social world, please e-mail me your story. (DrBrown2346@gmail.com). I am interested to see if anyone had a similar experience to mine with different online transitions starting with AOL and moving through other websites with friends until they found today’s social networking powers such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace.

Before posting this blog, I did some research on Facebook statistics and why so many people let Facebook be a part of their daily life. I came across an interesting article on CNN Health entitled, “Five clues that you are addicted to Facebook.” The list includes:

  1. You lose sleep over Facebook
    1. How many times at night do you find yourself procrastinating on Facebook when you have homework that needs to be completed? Do you stay up late in the evening to get that one last poke in before bed?
  2. You spend more than an hour a day on Facebook
    1. Does your daily routine include Facebook? Is it something you check in the morning (before you get out of bed?) or the last thing you check before sleeping?
  3. You become obsessed with old loves
    1. Do not let friending an old boyfriend/girlfriend turn into something it shouldn’t. Catch yourself before you find yourself creeping on their pictures, information, wall, etc.
  4. You ignore the important things in life in favor of Facebook ( I tweaked number 4)
    1. Does Facebook come before your children, family, schoolwork, and career? Facebook can be a great tool for reconnecting with family and friends, but do not let it turn into a dangerous time consuming habit.
  5. The thought of getting off Facebook leaves you in a cold sweat
    1. According to Pile, “Try going a day without Facebook. If you find it causes you a lot of stress and anxiety, you really need to get some help.”

The FACEBOOK Challenge, are YOU ready?!
(And no, this does not have anything to do with the 30 day Facebook Picture Challenge)

                One evening two months ago, I was talking to a close friend of mine on the phone. I was telling him about my daily Facebook habit and how I needed to invest my time in something more valuable. He told me if I sent him my Facebook password, he would change it and not allow me to log in for 30 days, yes 30 days! At first, I thought he was crazy. The following morning, without even thinking about it, I woke up and checked my Facebook. One minute later, I sent him my account password. I knew it was time for change and for 30 days, I lived without Facebook. Within those 30 days, I learned a great deal about myself, my time, and how I interacted with friends and family.

Could you go without Facebook for 30 days? If you accept the challenge, find a trusted friend/family member to change your account password. Then, for 30 days experience life with the 43% of people who talk to more people in real life than they do online. After 30 days, you may have a new outlook on life, social interaction, and how you spend your time…

This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind… let it be something good.” -Anonymous