If someday you discover that you often check Facebook every 15 minutes, spend hours per day to look at the news feed, or worry about missing some seemingly important things without checking your notifications, then you might be considered a “social network addict." Some people want to get rid of this symptom immediately by deleting their Facebook accounts. Meanwhile, others try to limit the usage by tracking the time spent for Facebook. My question is: why don’t we try to understand both good sides and bad sides of Facebook before making a final decision about it?
On one hand, what is not so pleasurable with Facebook?
- Subconsciously comparing: Facebook satisfies human needs to speak to and be listened by others. In other words, many people want to be respected or to feel that their lives, career, or relationship is better than it actually is. That’s why people tend to exaggerate a little while they are using social networks. And unfortunately, a so-called subconscious system in our mind usually identifies successful moments, luxury accessories or expensive dinner in our friend’s post with reality. At the same time, that system compares our situation with our friend’s desired image on Facebook. And of course, many of us, most of the time, will finally be losers in such unfair comparisons. As a result, we might feel unhappy, unlucky and unsuccessful when unconsciously comparing to our friends.
- Pessimistic friends often update their status in negative language, which unintentionally might impact your feeling and thinking. For example, a friend who had just broken up with his partner won't be likely to share a positive thought about loving relationships. If you are about to date your potential partner, and at the same time you see such a destructive status every half of an hour, your viewpoint might be affected somehow.
- To capture your attention and make a post viral, many Facebook users try to deliver meaningful, and interesting content, but many others prefer to activate negative feelings of readers, such as fear, anger, jealousy and so on. Unhealthy information should include shocking news about accidents, rare diseases, crimes or any misbehavior from anyone in this world. You could say that this was our reality. I agree that this is just part of our reality. The real life is not that bad. When exposing too much to such a kind of information, we might unintentionally deduce that the world is very dark and heartless.
- Another source of useless information is the endless stream of news about celebrities. From a practical view, the benefit of following celebrities' stories and scandals is quite limited. To illustrate this point, please think about the Tom Cruise divorce news last year (if you had followed it). Until now, most of the people had paid attention to that event (including me) have earned nothing for themselves.
On the other hand, Facebook could enrich our life if we know how to take advantage of it:
Social network helps us to stay connected with our beloved. It is very easy to tell others that we are still following them just by clicking the "Like" button or giving a short comment. The tricky part is to limit your attention to the most important group of your friends and family members. Not following unimportant or problematic people is very crucial to free you from the huge mass of unneeded info. To make it simple, we could choose not to follow everyone on the Facebook, except your core group. We can visit our normal friend’s pages once a month or every two months. Gradually, you will find out that no one is hurt at all.
The next step is to screen out useless information from the Fan Pages in your news feed. I hope that this simple question could be helpful for you to assort unnecessary information: how would my life be if I don’t get this kind of information? If I don’t know much about a certain celebrity (for example, example Jennifer Lawrence or Kate Winslet), what would happen to my life? In my case, the downside is that I might not have a sufficient background to join a chat with my college during a break. However, benefits could be much more: I could save a lot of time (up to hours) from not reading stories about them, have a good reason not to join every chit chat and reserve my brainpower for more important tasks.
Last but not least, please consider following beautiful minds, which could help you to build a better view of this world or give you great ideas to build up yourself. To follow a friend who often gives or shares helpful advices or constructive views will make your social network experience much more meaningful. You can also choose to follow a professional or an expert in your favorite industry to learn every time you log into your account. For most of the people, advices from soft skill trainers, like Brian Tracy, and inspirational talks from great speakers, like Anthony Robins, will never be useless.
In short, information from social network is alike to our daily mental food. If you want to be well, you need to choose healthy food and stay away from fast food - very addictive but probably poisonous. So, screening out anything unhelpful and creating a purposeful news feed is the key to make Facebook your real friend.