Is Facebook a serial time-waster or a invaluable tool to stay connected?
Apart from clogging up my brain with useless information and advertising, it is a serial time-waster. A quick check of newsfeed and 5 youtube videos, 2 wellbeing blog posts and the reason why Trump JR is such a nob later, and there is 30 minutes of my life gone. Wow my life has been enriched. I now know I should be spending more time doing yoga than on social media, that Kendal Jenner got a boob job and cob-loaf is apparently the bees knees of social gatherings.
Back to the part where its clogging up my brain with useless information.
When I was in my early 20’s I used to check Facebook for notifications and get a tiny rush of endorphins when I had lots of notifications. Fast forward 5 years and I simply check it so my brain is occupied. I don’t even care if I have notifications or how many likes my picture got. What happened to enjoying the peace and quiet of sitting, waiting, wishing.
Checking social media is the new ‘get a ciggie out and look cool’. What would you do if I sat in the waiting room silent and just looked around. Didn’t talk. Ignored my phone. Didn’t even pick up a magazine. You’d probably look at me side-ways all while watching your handbag closely half-thinking I was a thief.
Its not acceptable in society to just sit and be. Our brains are so tamed by social media that we crave stimulation. I even use Facebook to wake me up in the morning. 10 mins of newsfeed and I’m ready to wake up. Yesterday I deleted the app cos it kept telling me that my phone was encrypted with viruses. So I deleted it. Today when I tried to wake up solely with an alarm clock, there was no hope I was getting out of bed on time. Snooze snooze and back to deep sleep. No stimulation and my brain was non-compliant and kept falling back asleep.
By now you’re probably thinking my life revolves around my time spent scrolling through newsfeed, but actually I’m a busy gal I promise. I work on the yachts. I work 16hrs a day sailing, cooking, cleaning, snorkelling, making drinks and attending to our guests every need. I use Facebook as a reason to sit down, an escape from reality and a chance to give my brain a rest. But that feeling of freedom from my reality is addictive. Time stops still as I scroll through numerous posts without even reading any of them. Killing dolphins in Japan, the polar ice-caps are melting, Trump managed to out stupido himself once more and the white men in Australian parliament still can’t accept that people can love whoever the hell they want to love. All while North Korea threaten to release nuclear furry on the rest of the world.
Social media, the vast online world and technology is supposed to give us freedom and more free-time in a time-scare society. But what if it is technology that is hand-cuffing us as slaves to the internet. We are becoming zombies, predictable and easily manipulated with a click of a button. There’s one quote that sticks out in my mind:
《 Imagine if trees gave free WiFi. We'd all be planting like crazy. It's a pity they only give us the oxygen we breathe 》
All in all, I’m not saying that social media is a bad resource ruining our lives subliminally. But over-using it is a dangerous habit. Social media has distinct benefits and if you keep focused on the positives then you go-glen-co-co! Apart from 50% of the time when I’m just mindlessly scrolling through newsfeed as an escape from reality, I wish to share some of my personal reasons for being connected through Facebook.
I’ve had no fixed address for the last 4 years and in this time I’ve lived in 8 different countries. To be able to connect so easily with my friends and family at home is invaluable! It puts a band-aid on the wound of isolation. And also, to be able to stay in touch with friends literally from across the world, is something that was never so easy before Facebook. I might post a picture from my current location and sometimes I’ll luck out with a flood of messages from friends in the same place at the same time.
As well as staying in touch with people who I know, I also use it to stay in touch with people who I don’t know. As a die-hard conservationist, I am a member of many groups; marine biology, sailing, zero-waste, traveling and even surfing. These private groups are places for people to share relevant topics, issues and questions of interest. These private groups even allow me to scout the job prospects across the world.
I don’t watch TV let alone the news, but I do find out about worldly issue of interest to me through pages that I follow and articles my friends share. These cover a wide demographic, socio-economic and various continents that are too broad and ruthless to be on any money-sponsored TV show. Through Facebook I even found out that Australia got a new Prime Minister, we finally legalised gay marriage and there hasn’t been a mass-shooting in Australia for 7827 consecutive days.
I know I need to cut back on the mindless scrolling because constant stimulation with an excess of useless information and cheap laughs isn’t making me any smarter; it’s also a valuable tool if used wisely.
Everyones Facebook’s are different depending on personal interests and preferences. Everyones method of use and reasons for Facebook are also varying. But if you can have control over the usage amount and not be controlled by the constant urge to check-in, then maybe Facebook is an invaluable resource.
**This post was written during my time working as crew about a Lagoon catamaran in the Bahamas.