on media, technology & digital culture
(Image taken from: http://monkeyworksmovies.blogspot.com/2011/01/you-need-to-get-off-facebook.html)
“Ordinary people fill their heads with all kinds of rubbish. And that makes it hard to get at the stuff that matters. Do you see?” – Sherlock Holmes.
It was never hard to measure popularity. Back in the day, people that determined your level of popularity were your peers, classmates, colleagues, school buddies, etc. If you were to move out of your usual social setting into a new one, you would have to start all over again because nobody has ever heard of you and you had to establish some kind of identity or people would keep looking at you as „that weird guy“. Technology made us inevitably cool; it made us build our characters and wannabe attitudes online. If anyone wants to take a good look at you, they could just google you. Your online profile has become an extension of your real world profile. In that sense, we just might be on our way to become cyborgs.
What I personally never liked about Facebook is their constant desire to change on an almost monthly basis. Seriously, how many times can you change banner size, news feeds, profile layout, page rules, etc. before it becomes annoying? I’m all for innovation but FB never seemed to quite escape the „one hit wonder“ routine, which is why Facebook use is on the decline. Teenagers are spread around Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. because they dont like companies like Facebook constantly shoving new features down their throats. I wanted to write an article on how many social networks do we really need? Well, to sum it up in a sentence: the more, the merrier.
Unfortunately, I’m not 13 anymore but I empathize, which is why I decided to quit Facebook for a couple of months and see where that gets me. Don’t get me wrong, FB has a myriad of advantages and without it, I would lose touch with a lot of people I hold dear. However, the negatives seem to outweigh the positives in my case. After I started getting headaches from mindlessly scrolling that news feed, gathering no useful information whatsoever, I realized my productivity level was down to zero and my brain felt like mashed potatoes. The digital extension of my own “self” seemed to be useless and as a result – everything I did felt like a complete waste of time, like sending comments off into a cloud of nothingness. Eventually, logging into Facebook turned into this really mindless habit that seemed to chew away huge chunks of my time, time that could have been better spent doing anything else. I could have shuffled manure and felt more gratifying.
Deactivating your Facebook account seems like committing digital suicide. But if you cant control a habit, best thing to do is go cold turkey for a while, see where that gets you. On the upside, all of a sudden, you have these huge gaps of time that could be put to good use, you’re not viewing your life through someone else’s experiences and, according to research, you will care less what anyone thinks of you. The best thing about it is: if you don’t gather enough likes, comments or visits, you just might avoid blowing your brains out.
While you’re offline, take the time to fill your head with the right kind of information, information that might be useful to you at a certain point in your life. Your brain is like a hard drive, use it to store stuff you really need, not information you gather because of lack of filter failure. However, if there is absolutely no way you could escape Facebook’s claws yet you still need some time management skills, try out the Pomodoro Technique.
Have you ever tried quitting Facebook? How long did it last? Did you feel better after you did it? What aspects of your life changed? What other time management techniques are using?