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You Don’t Need To Get Off Facebook

In “You Need To Get Off Facebook”, Ross Gardiner presents what appears at first glance to be a convincing case for you to delete your Facebook account. However, like most that have followed before him he chooses to focus on some of the worst possible cases, suggesting that a “cold turkey” style approach is going to be most beneficial to your life.

I disagree.

As with most advances in technology, the product is only as dangerous (or as useful) as you allow it to be. All of Gardiner’s complaints about the medium can be avoided with little effort required on your part – either through creative use of friends filters if you’re one of those people that simply must approve every friend request that comes your way, or through the easier act of limiting the people you accept as friends on Facebook.

Issues with tagging in photos? Again – pick your friends carefully. Only people who you have as friends can tag you. Make it clear you don’t want to be tagged, and if someone isn’t respecting those wishes, the defriend button is a single click away. “Friends” looking at your photos and judging you? I hate to point out the obvious, but if they’re doing this on Facebook, they’re doing it via other “real life” mediums too.

This brings us to the touchy subject of addiction. Gardiner claims he’s been “clean for 5 months and 17 days” – implying that he considers use of the medium an addiction. This may be true for some – but Internet Addiction Disorder isn’t exactly a new thing, (before Facebook’s screaming rise to popularity, Blizzard Entertainment’s “World of Warcraft” online game was a popular target for the “this technology is ruining your life” crowd) and it’s only ever as problematic to the extent that these activities interfere with an individuals normal life.

I would argue that it is possible to have a Facebook account and use it sensibly – that it can in fact enhance that “normal life”. A number of my Facebook friends are musicians, DJ’s or promoters and the medium provides a convenient way of tracking when their gigs are on and whether it conflicts with anything else I have going on at the time. Through choosing my friends carefully, my “links” filter on Facebook is a collection of some of the web’s most hilarious, informative and controversial content – including this video. I’ve had some deeply thought provoking debate and discussion via Facebook on everything ranging from philosophy to politics.

I’ve been able to help no less than five of my friends in their search for employment through their announcement of intentions via Facebook. To anyone climbing a career ladder, the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is especially true. Social networking doesn’t form a replacement for existing methods of networking (going to the pub with coworkers, attending industry functions, etc.) but it compliments it extremely well.

To summarize – if you’re doing anything too much, it’s a problem. This isn’t rocket science. Moderate your use of everything in your life. Don’t blame the technology for “evil”, examine whether or not you’re using it correctly. The content is only ever going to be as good as those providing it – so choose your friends wisely. If Gardiner’s video makes you consider that balance (and maybe cull a couple of hundred of “friends” you don’t really need), it’s doing a good thing. If it makes you quit the medium entirely, I think you’re giving up something incredibly useful and taking the easy way out.

If that makes me a “dribbling turbospaz”, so be it.

6 comments

  1. Natalie says:

    I have a really strange urge to go rent Terminator 2 after that video…while repeating the saying “drugs are bad mmkay”…

    I agree with your sentiments, especially the comparison to WOW (wew, maxed cooking last night). Everything has its pro’s and con’s. WOW is an awesomely cheap hobby to have and you can speak to a whole range of morons (I mean people). Facebook is good for seeing what your old primary school mates look like now. Or for sharing news to your family who live interstate.

    Your Facebook image needs to be actively managed. I wrote a thesis on alternative sexuality and I would not be ‘friending’ random people I met while researching.

    Just another person not taking responsibility for themselves. (He really needs to work on his image–he looks like a dribbling turbospaz).

  2. Sarah Thomas says:

    Firstly, all of those complaining about yet another amazing technology you take completely for granted, Watch this and be quiet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk

    This is getting annoying now. Yet another gen Y hipster kid taking aboslutely no personal responsibility for their social ineptitude, Looking for a product or a disorder to blame for their lack of self control. At the same time, being completely oblivious and ungrateful, to just how lucky we are to have this incredible technology at our disposal. Facebook is miraculous.

    It’s free, it allows you to share your life with anyone, anywhere in the world, instantly. If you are an antisocial emo kid you may not appreciate the wonder of this. But for those of us who value social interaction, and are busy and isolated due to work or family commitments, Facebook is a godsend. It allowed me to have social life despite being stuck at home with a baby. I am eternally grateful for that, being a mom is hard enough, but not being able to catch up with friends because your schedules are so out of synch makes it terribly lonely as well – unless of course, you are lucky enough to have something like facebook to allow you to still communicate with the rest of the world. <3

  3. Fiona says:

    @ Natalie: Maybe his dreadful affected heroin chic is intended to add weight to his facebook/addiction correlation?

  4. Matt Finish says:

    “To summarize – if you’re doing anything too much, it’s a problem. This isn’t rocket science. Moderate your use of everything in your life.”

    With respect, this is not an answer. An article detailing how facebook works comfortably for you and your habits does not explain the problem away.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Iinet would have to b the worst Internet provider around. Their modems are constantly dropping out leaving u offline for days. Staff aren’t equipped to help u back online and don’t seem to care. This latest drop out with a brand new iinet modem which does not work is the last straw.

    • Leo Yarnold says:

      Hi!

      We’re certainly sorry to hear this. If multiple modems have been tried, with dropouts still occurring, then its highly likely that you have a dropout fault occurring on your service. Our trubleshooting would change focus to take care of the dropout issue and we’d be able to lodge a fault for this via Support.

      We also have comprehensive guides on how to troubleshoot dropout issues via our iiHelp pages, here:

      https://iihelp.iinet.net.au/

      – Leo

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