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What would life be like without Facebook? No status updates, photo uploads or ‘frapes’; it’s hard to imagine how life was before the days of social networking. The idea of Facebook with friends you hardly know and updates on people’s lives you really do not care about seems completely unappealing in theory. So why then do I find myself scrawling through peoples’ photos and taking an interest in peoples’ lives I have no close friendship with. It’s embarrassing to admit, but really we all do it.
When on the Facebook statistics webpage I saw a number that made me stop in shock at the huge influence Facebook now has on our society. With more than 750 million users on the social networking site we are spending a huge grand total of 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. So is this what our lives have come to? Is there nothing more productive we can do with our time?
This, then, is my challenge. A week without Facebook. How hard can it be? Am I really that reliant on the social networking world that I cannot manage a mere seven days without it? I would like to think my life is far more interesting than this.
I met my first hurdle a couple of days in after a big night out. Having memories of many photos being taken the urge to recall the night overcame me. The social networking world has led to us dreading the camera. We all have that friend who takes the most unflattering photos and then posts them for the world to see; and most likely laugh at. Apart from this though I was not missing the social world; I didn’t want to check out Facebook status’ and peoples’ photos; though I did feel slightly out the loop on what was happening.
I started to realise throughout the week that Facebook is more of a thing we need than we necessarily want. Facebook with all its downfalls is still very useful, especially in university. We rely on Facebook to keep up with events happening, to keep updated on society news and to remind us of birthdays coming up. It can also be very useful for making friends before Freshers’. Due to Facebook, I went to university already knowing some faces of people on my course and having spoken to a few of them who remain good friends as I enter my third year.
Facebook I therefore realised is not the problem with our society. Facebook has many advantages and there is nothing wrong with keeping in touch with your friends, planning events (real social events, not online ones), and sharing photos from nights out. The problem with our social networking reliant society therefore comes from the hours wasted Facebook stalking and scrawling in a bored trance through updates irrelevant to our lives.
We have the choice whether we use Facebook for hours on end or not. I have therefore decided that as I enter my busy third year; where time is very precious; that Facebook shall no longer be a regular part of my day. At the end of my challenge I have therefore set myself a new one. It won’t be as drastic as removing Facebook from my life completely but using it sparingly and only for communication with friends; real friends; because it is far more interesting to live in the real world than in cyber space.