Well the first step is admitting it. Unfortunately, it isn’t the last. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about the site that constantly draws me to it.
Needless to say of course, my last attempt at Facebook abstinence ended in disgrace. I would partly blame the new explosion of college memes, but mostly it’s my wandering attention span and lack of any commitment!
So that poses the question: what is it about those eight letters that holds so much appeal to people? Well from personal experience there’s one factor that stands out – social interaction. Like the dolphins we’re naturally social creatures, and this opportunity to share stories and receive information in return seems too great to resist.
On a typical visit to Facebook I can expect about 10-20% of my friends to be online (this drops during holidays and increases during exams). Although they’re unlikely to be posting any groundbreaking new comments; they, like me, are online just in case anything should happen. Of course, this is generalising hugely, and there are probably other reasons for most of them being on; here’re some of the main reasons that I’ve come up with:
- The ‘need to know’ factor is one of the strongest draws to the site for me. Whilst there’s most likely nothing new of interest, I still log on to see if there are any exciting stories posted by my friends.
- The expected excitement of people ‘like’-ing my witty posts.
- Having friends online with whom you can ‘chat’.
- A small reason is finding out new educational information.
- In some cases Facebook is great for advertising events etc…
I think if I didn’t use Facebook at all my main concern would be missing out on relevant information about my classes. Which is why when my friend said he wouldn’t be using Facebook before exams, I felt that it was only fair to let him know about any relevant material that popped up on the class page.
It’s not all bad news though, my brief aversion of Facebook did change a few things in my approach:
- I regularly check to see who can see which comments.
- I’ve been posting far less trivial comments to my news feed. I save those for Twitter.
- I frequently remove tags. Not that I really mind friends knowing what I was up to, but I wouldn’t like some acquaintance seeing posts on my page to the effect of: Had a good time with Me, Jack and Jill last night; only to follow that to my friend’s page to view pictures of that particular night.
- I’ve been ‘like’-ing things a lot less. I guess I save them for posts that really deserve them 🙂
- I haven’t wished someone a happy birthday through Facebook yet. I’ve emailed them, texted them, and told them in person. I really don’t know why I feel compelled to, perhaps it just feels more personal…
So in summary, I don’t know if it’s just the exam-effect, or if Facebook is really becoming too precious to me, but if this goes on much longer, I’ll have to ban myself!