Please remember Facebook exists for advertising and advertisers. It is a corporation no different than Coca-Cola or McDonalds. Like McDonalds, Facebook also creates a problem of “obesity” – but it is one of “data-obesity.”
Our physical bodies require specific amounts of nourishment to maintain good health. These needs are absolute and when we don’t meet them we feel the results: headache, dehydration, etc. People who routinely eat food without complete nutritional value will continue to feel “empty,” though they may consume a lot of food.
The same is true with our spiritual selves. Inside each of us lives a soul both fragile and resilient, with very absolute needs. When we don’t meet these needs we feel the results like loneliness and depression. Part of spiritual “food” is social interaction and positive social relationships. Facebook purports to provide this food as a service, but a Facebook “meal” is nutritionally deficient. Soon, like the physical body in the same predicament, the spirit reaches an unhealthy imbalance. If it continues looking for nourishment in the same place without intervention it becomes “data-obese.”
Facebook values self image, the visual over the physical, the prompted over the spontaneous, and the convenient over the well earned. For example, many Mills music students enjoy the easiness Facebook provides for promoting concerts. But which is more rewarding, a concert for five of your best friends or a concert for five hundred Facebook friends?
I highly encourage anybody using Facebook to question the necessity of its usage. In fact, I advocate for the absolute discontinuation of Facebook as soon as possible. Instead of relying on status updates, the next time you see your best friend or long-estranged sibling and ask them “what have you been up to?” you can do so honestly and with ears that are curious to listen because you honestly will not know. It is sometimes good not to know, and to be curious.
So in sum, stay curious, stay out of the loop, and stay off Facebook!
Graduate student, Music Program