More Facebook?

Posted on February 8, 2012
Filed under Columns & essays, Events & news | 10 Comments | Email This Post

Facebook’s initial public offering of stock is likely to make a lot of developers and designers of the site very wealthy. But for many users, frequent Facebooking may not be so beneficial.” — Stephanie Pappas

The Facebook debates are heating up this week, thanks, in part, to the announcement that Mark Zuckerberg filed an IPO for the world’s largest social network. Some are peeved by Zuck’s greed; others are justifiably worried about some thorny new privacy issues.

My own post about quitting Facebook (Jan.24) had nothing to do with the IPO. It was, essentially, about my efforts to spend fewer hours online and to reclaim some quiet space in my overbooked life. (Part of my New Year’s resolution was to live a more “examined” life, which also meant I had to start questioning my online habits and routines.) In other words, my FB piece really wasn’t “anti-Facebook” — nor was it a criticism of the wonderful people on my Facebook friend list.

In any event, the piece was syndicated on BlogHer.com. As of today, it earned close to 23,000 “reads,” which is a lot more traffic than I’m used to — at least for a blog post. On Monday, I was quoted in “Now is the Time to Quit Facebook,” by Chicago journalist Alicia Eller.

Readers’ comments following Eler’s post are fascinating. Among my favorites: “I wasn’t on Facebook before it was cool to not be on Facebook.”

Apparently the topic is so hot that Eler posted another piece on ReadWriteWeb titled “It’s True: You Have Too Many Facebook Friends.”  This article offers some fresh analysis on why it’s probably not healthy to spend too much time on Facebook — and why it’s really not cool to have too many Facebook friends. (Hint: It makes you appear insecure.)

In another interesting post, LiveScience journalist Stephanie Pappas discusses new studies on our emotional reactions to Facebook. Check out “Facebook Takes a Toll on Your Mental Health.”

If you’re fascinated by the culture of narcissism and social media addictions, don’t miss these thought-provoking pieces. — CL

Comments

10 Responses to “More Facebook?”

  1. Leslie Wyman on February 8th, 2012 2:21 pm

    The more I read about FB the less attractive it is to me. For all of the reasons noted above and in your original article~ It gets me down. (Especially in a political year…)

    Are you familiar with Pinterest? Not that you need another online timesuck, but it is much more fun – less self-centered – more about visual sharing and LOTS of artistic, design, crafting stuff, homemaking ideas…

  2. Cindy on February 8th, 2012 3:45 pm

    Yes — I’ve heard about Pinterest and have seen some sample pages. Sounds like I’d be hooked on it!! :-)

  3. joanna jenkins on February 9th, 2012 12:25 am

    I was on Facebook but it would drive me crazy when I’d see the stuff my family members posted (despite me going on and on about ALL the things they should keep private) so I deactivated my account and plan to stay that way.

    Congrats on all the “reads” you received. Well deserved!

    And beware– Pinterest is addicting :-)

    xo jj

  4. Cindy on February 9th, 2012 7:52 am

    JJ, I just starting exploring Pinterest — and I can see what you mean. It’s not real easy to navigate — it’s very rich and complex, albeit interesting. But alas, I don’t have time for another social media addiction, as I am still involved with Mom-care issues and am really trying to get my own life back….Just trying to come up for air.

  5. Cheryl Wright on February 9th, 2012 11:31 am

    Facebook has become an octopus. Every time I think I’ve eased off, something pulls me in again. Recently I’ve started dropping little posts on Twitter a couple times a week or so – just to keep my friends in the loop of my life and my writing.

    I clean-up my Friends list every few months, un-friending those who never post anything at all, never interact with me or contribute nothing positive/inspiring to my life. So my Friends list is relatively short.

  6. Cindy on February 9th, 2012 11:39 am

    Cheryl, good points about cleaning up the friend list. But I have to say, I never felt comfortable un-friending anyone, except for a creep who routinely tried to engage me in political “fights” and kept making horrific, racist remarks against our president. But I heard that un-friending often sends a very negative message, and I hate to hurt people’s feelings.

    In several articles I’ve read recently on this topic, some FB users quit for a few months, then start a whole new account with fewer friends. I might do that.

  7. Sharon on February 9th, 2012 10:21 pm

    Interesting articles, Cindy. I just heard a report on NPR about a new way to use Facebook as a dating service. There will always be something new – we have to decide what works fits our needs.

  8. Cindy on February 10th, 2012 9:21 am

    Sharon, you’re so right about “deciding what works to fit our needs” when it comes to Facebook. There are so many good things about it, no arguing that. For me, it became such a time-sucker, or an addiction, on top of Web surfing and reading email every morning. And that’s MY problem, not Facebook’s.

    In any event, I loosely calculated the “fun time” I spend per week online. (Obviously, I am not counting time for writing and research. ) Sometimes it would amount to over 15 hours per week! Then I made a list of all the other things I kept wishing I had “more time” to do. There’s a list of novels I want to read …. art projects I never get around to …. articles I could write and sell. So far, I’ve been making some progress — and it feels wonderful, healthier.

  9. Ian on February 12th, 2012 9:43 am

    I like it for the games and I can keep in touch with friends in other parts of the country. Facebook is basically a tool like a hammer. It’s how you use it that makes it good or bad.

  10. Cindy on February 12th, 2012 9:51 am

    I totally agree with you, Ian.

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