You probably use Facebook, I’m sure I could do a quick Google and pull some grotesque number where half the world’s population is spending 90 trillion years on Facebook every month or something else equally hyperbolic. This has little to no bearing on why I dislike it, and I’m not even going to check if I just used the right spelling for bearing, because if I’m wrong at least I can imagine this is about an Cocaine loving Kodiak.
Shakespeare is quoted as saying that all the world is a stage and we are actors, I’m paraphrasing poorly and really butchering his oft loved writing but back to the point this saying is no more true anywhere else than it is on Facebook.
Facebook is truly the paragon of faking it, the pinnacle point of staging our lives to alter the perception of our “friends and family”. It’s a nexus of vapid updates and passive aggressiveness. But even most of this is not why I dislike it, though it is what is ruining the happiness of its most devoted users. I dislike Facebook because it has single handedly removed a very healthy part of life, moving on.
We all make mistakes, we grow and we move on. We gain friends, we lose friends, we find love and we lose those we love. Life is like a forest many times growing and spreading but sometimes burning. That burning is essential and paves the way for more diversity in the forest and an ultimately stronger ecosystem. Your emotions and your life are no different, that ability to let the forest burn and to then grow new connections in its place is what builds the essential thing that is you and it is essential to optimum happiness.
As the days, months, or years pass on we begin to relate less and less to our old friends or family. Those people who have moved away or in some cases those who stayed behind, they become nostalgic memories that you remember fondly or perhaps scorn. Regardless they become vestiges in your mind and leave your emotions towards their existence consistently decaying each year, the energy that was spent on emotions towards them gets redirected to new acquaintances and you continue to perform at peak emotional performance.
You might think you don’t have a maximum allotment for emotion, perhaps you might feel like you could know a million people and would still do fine trying to keep them all separate. That the time and energy spent relating and discussing with them would not drain you like a smoking habit. You’d be wrong, save for a few super human exceptions, you will become drained and you will become less and less happy.
It’s a multifaceted problem, the first is that people lie on Facebook constantly. The updates are tailor made to get the desired response from their ‘community’ or perhaps out of fear of repercussion from their close family. So what you are left with (as above links mention) is a disproportionately high amount of updates about how great life is for literally everyone but you.
But take it a step further and you get to what bugs me. That forest fire I mentioned earlier, Facebook makes it nearly impossible for that to happen. Lets say you only keep in touch with 2 of your 10 friends from High School, if those 2 friends are friends with any combination of the other 8 you will be reminded of them often because they will comment on the 2 friends pages. This will spark memories, good or bad, from these people and keep them fresh in your mind. This is a mentally tiring thing, you might not notice it if your Facebook is lightly used or low on friend count but as your Facebook grows or your use accelerates you will find yourself drained.
That above all else is why I loathe Facebook, my past is filled with good memories and bad but I have mostly forgotten all of them. Tiny fragments of charcoal flutter in the wind after the grand fire of forgetting. I appreciate it more now than I once did, but I’ll be damned if I can’t login to Facebook without being reminded of person X or Y. If it weren’t for the fact that I need an account for work I’d probably close it up.
Facebook never lets you let go, it creates a bad habit that drains people emotionally. I once thought it was “just me” but the more studies that are done the more it is seeming like Facebook is not something people do because they want to they do it because they feel stuck.