I could just post this article as a status on Facebook, but if I do it might start an argument of justification why things are the way they are.
I’m trying to stay away from Facebook at the moment. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner, but I’m doing it now. I guess finally developed the ability to recognize how it has impacted my brain. It’s made me realize I should be doing something else with my time and here’s why.
1. It’s become the central online hub for whining about anything and everything
This is the big one, the moment you hit the “Like” button on something, you can see the comments and they can be chock-full of people whining about any little thing that is wrong with the picture. Hell, I can’t even look at cat videos without someone complaining that the floor Fluffy’s on looks like a cage and should be let out because it’s “animal abuse”, or that he shouldn’t be held in that particular way. A video or picture could have nothing but positive vibes to it, and yet someone will find something to get angry about.
As soon as people start to whine, others begin to provide them with attention at an attempt to make them go away or enforce it. Guys, if you really want this person to leave, don’t feed the troll, you have to let them starve.
Due to the significant amount of hatred, many people like myself have to go quiet because we’re afraid of being torn down. For example, the hate for Mass Effect: Andromeda is STILL going on, so the cult of players who enjoyed the game, like myself are forced to go underground because we’re tired of it dominating the community and we don’t want to be bullied.
It’s not just in comments, it’s also in posts too. Everyone complains about their jobs, insecurities, the weather, other people that give them trouble, tragedies and other things in the news (eg. car accident, mass shooting, or any sort of event that is considered a crime), politics, animal cruelty, etc.
Look, if you want to vent, why can’t you discuss it with someone in person who can actually help you? Even if you share it online and get tons of support, most of these people do not know you personally so they won’t be able to empathize as much as someone closer to you can.
I’ll admit I’ve been guilty in the past about venting my frustrations online or hating on something, but now I’m serious about breaking that habit because it’ll impact my personal and professional life too much. No matter how many problems I face on the road ahead of my professional life, I would rather vent to close friends and family.
I signed up for Facebook to connect with people, to laugh, swoon, and have fun. Not to be bombarded with complaints of everything wrong with the world.
2. I get easily agitated by anything I dislike/disagree with
There have been countless times where I have woken up to check Facebook, scroll my feed, and then as soon as I find something I don’t like, I feel the need to rant out loud or leave a comment that will do more harm than good.
For example, it annoys me when I see complaints about the weather or people being very materialistic, I’ve had those urges to say something and they’re unhealthy for me. If I want to go on social media for a bit, I don’t want to be agitated. I’ve learned that when you’re in a bad mood, you’re likely to respond the wrong way online the moment you see something that triggers you. I’ve dealt with this many times. I’ve fought the reactions to these triggers before and now it’s time to end this battle.
It seems like of all the social media websites, Facebook is the one where you’re certainly going to see something from friends, family, or whatever that you don’t want to see. The immediate response is to get angry and argue when this isn’t the best solution mentally. Arguing online is also a waste of time because you’re not going to change anything. What you should do is ignore it and keep scrolling, but it’s very easy to give into temptation.
Therefore, the best way to break this habit, is to cut back.
3. Nobody really cares about what I post unless it’s something negative
Like I said, it’s no secret that Facebook is now the hub for vague whining for whatever is wrong with the world. When I first joined the social network at the age of 17, all I did was just post things I love like Sangheili and Transformers. That didn’t get much attention but hey, not everyone knows what the Sangheili are. It’s one thing to not like everything someone posts if you don’t know what it’s about, but it’s another thing to feel like nobody cares at all what you say on Facebook, even if it’s something general…… unless it’s a rant.
You could proceed to post on Facebook your passion for something or a life milestone, but the only thing that will get people’s attention is if it’s something negative; and I’m talking a large amount of your online friends, not just the same group that likes the typical stuff you share that you love. There was the time I ranted about the results of this year’s provincial election and that certainly went viral.
Due to Facebook now a large hub for politics and memes, it’s like anything else that doesn’t fall under those two things is deemed unimportant. Nowadays, here on this blog and Instagram is where I can be myself. I just use Facebook now to post links here, maybe the occasional alien reference, and anything going on in my life. Nothing is bound to create a discussion unless it’s about some big accident on the highway or you have to share your belief on human rights.
4. I can’t state my opinion anywhere without being picked on and there’s no way to stop it
Welcome to the Internet you say? Vashedan! This blog is literally the only place left on the Internet where I can express myself freely. If I get trolls coming or just people who feel they need to lecture/argue, tell me how to run this blog, or encourage me to reconsider my opinion because they disagree, I can easily shut them down before their comments are even visible for public viewing. It’s not that I’m incapable of accepting feedback, but if that feedback is abusive or an attempt to lecture me how/what to write, I just can’t be bothered to put up with such garbage, hence delete.
You can’t do that on other social media platforms. All you can do is delete your own comment or block that person to put a bandage over the wound. But remember:
It seems that Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube comment threads are a toxic place where any different opinion is forbidden. I’ve received countless harassment for sharing my opinions and nothing is done to stop it. I feel like I have to delete my opinion from the thread before it gets worse.
I can’t even be negative respectfully, without receiving harassment. One time when Gamespot shared a teaser for the next Gears of War game. I wrote my opinion very briefly that the series should have ended at the third game. I added no hostile words or details to the content, I just left it as that. What did I get? A bunch of lecturers telling me to leave and not play the game if I didn’t like it and even a couple of them said I should kill myself.
But that’s just the most recent example, there have been many more before that that were even more horrifying with the responses. Even positive opinions too! Several years ago, I posted a comment how much I loved Optimus Prime’s voice and some creep said I was a delusional idiot with no life. (I got those remarks quite a lot while I was doing those tribute videos to him back in the day!)
What happened to freedom of speech? I shouldn’t have to receive death threats because I don’t like the new GOW game or I happen to love giant talking robots. But clearly with Facebook, your opinion is automatically tagged as a threat if it’s anything but a match. Let me remind you that it is NOT okay to make suicide jokes towards someone just because you happen to love Justin Bieber and they don’t.
5. It’s dominated by politics
The 2016 presidential election is to blame for this. Prior to that, Facebook became infested with countless memes centered around the candidates. People also look for any excuse to bring up politics to the conversation even if it had nothing to do with it.
I quickly grew sick of it and made the choice to keep all my political views private and only share it in person. Some of my friends were likely secretly annoyed that I was posting aliens and cat videos to keep away politics. It’s easy to get the impression that someone doesn’t care about that stuff when you think that they should. I can’t and won’t understand anyone who enjoys ranting about politics online or enjoys watching political stuff on TV with wine and popcorn. I’d rather have those refreshments with a Harry Potter marathon!
To clarify, of course I care, I just don’t want to share it. I just prefer it stays where it belongs: in person and on political blogs. Politics are a sensitive subject and the election has torn many people apart online and offline. Many friends and family have stopped keeping in touch because they each supported different candidate. It’s like a child asking “Mommy, why doesn’t auntie come over anymore?” and mom says, “Because I am a Democrat and she is a Republican.” instead of seeing reason between one another, we choose to cut people out of our lives because of differing views.
Facebook being infested with politics just ruins the experience for those like myself who don’t want to see it. It’s very easy for someone to make a Trump or Clinton reference on a video posted to Facebook that’s about, say, when the trailer for The Great Wall came out. Why can’t we just keep politics separate from these things? I don’t come online to see pictures and videos of something I love to be swarmed with political comments or turned into political memes! There’s enough politics in the media, let’s keep them where they belong.
6. It’s a bullies’ playground
It’s very easy to cower behind your computer screen and harass an innocent individual online because you had a bad day at work. I’d be a billionaire if I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve been bullied briefly on Facebook. Some of you may think it’s funny but it’s not, Internet trolls are bullies who will go after anyone who disagrees with their views, or they’re just looking for a target because they think it’s funny to send death threats to someone.
You know, when I was bullied in high school for being a passionate Pokemon fan; the bullying was never direct or online, but I still can’t help but wonder if today the people responsible look back with any regret for the way they treated me. They were all probably Pokemon fans too, but the peer pressure got to them because Pokemon was considered “uncool”, hence they were too scared to show it. Then, they look at me and my confidence to show it and instead of asking me for advice on how to get a confidence boost, they took out their insecurities on me so they could bring me down to the same level as them.
However, that was not the case. The main reason why I was bullied for my Pokemon passion was because it was different. I was different from everyone the way I dressed, behaved, and my personal interests. High school was full of people trying to become accepted, even if it meant blending in with others. They were all xenophobes, the moment they saw me doing my own thing, they decided to make themselves “cooler” and higher in social status by tearing me down because I chose not to follow the norms.
But, back to the point now, online harassment is real and a growing issue. Facebook is one of the primary places where it happens. The worst part is that nothing is done to stop it. You can report the abuse but the culprit doesn’t receive any punishment, you’re just told to block them once again putting a bandage over a wound that doesn’t heal.
I’ve received harassment on Facebook for many reasons and all I could do was block the bully. But I still remember most of those incidents, you don’t forget them that easily no matter how severe the damage was. Everyone has the right to feel safe online and nobody deserves to go through bullying. Many of these online bullies are cowards who wouldn’t dream of saying any of this to someone’s face, but if you’re so high and mighty and hate me to your heart’s content, then maybe you should say it to my face so I know you mean business. Just because you can bully someone, doesn’t mean you should. What did that person ever do to you? No, them having a different opinion or using words you don’t like does not count. You don’t know this person, they don’t know you, and they never did anything to you so leave them alone.
Therefore, since Facebook refuses to do anything about bullying, I guess my only option is to stay away from any public areas of the site or stay away completely because nothing is going to be done about this. I’ve faced enough harassment, I don’t want to face more if this issue is not addressed.
So yeah, that’s why I’m cutting back on Facebook. I’ve disabled the app from my phone many times, brought it back, and disabled again. To clarify, I’m not quitting the social network completely, I’ll still be on there to keep in touch with some people I can’t contact anywhere else, but here, and Instagram is where I can be myself and share my opinions without feeling like a hundred swords are pointed at me.
If you think I’m not on Facebook enough, feel free to get my Instagram name and sign up for it yourself. Instagram isn’t completely immune to these six problems but it’s a little less severe. In fact, ever since I started reducing my Facebook activity, I found myself less agitated in the morning because I didn’t have to look at it and get upset the moment I saw something I didn’t like. Whenever I have any complaints, I talk to my friends and family about it instead of ranting on Facebook.
Reducing my Facebook activity has also given me more time to focus on things I really enjoy, I’ve started new hobbies as well as pick up old ones. I’m baking cakes, enjoying adult colouring books, and I’ve started drawing and playing the piano again. I can check Instagram on my phone, but when I’m on my computer I prefer to write, watch videos or play games.
If you’ve reduced your Facebook activity too, that’s great, too much of it gets unhealthy don’t you think? I’ll still be there, just not as often as usual. You really miss me, well you know where else to find me.