I recently overheard two women having a heated discussion about whether or not Facebook has been a good addition to their lives. They noticed I was listening and asked me to join the conversation. I think they wanted a tie-breaking, black and white vote for “good” or “evil”; but I was more interested in learning how Facebook had not only impacted their lives but the lives of their children as well. The following is a basic summary of our discussion:
6 Reasons Facebook is Good
- You can watch children grow up. You don’t have to live near each other to watch how quickly the little ones change.
- You can rekindle relationships with friends you haven’t seen or spoken to in years.
- You can find out important news (weddings, pregnancies, illnesses and even deaths).
- You can be reminded of Birthdays.
- You can “go on vacation” with your friends and family.
- You can stay in touch with loved ones all over the world for free (of course, you can do this with email, Skype, and lots of other free methods of communication)
15 Reasons Facebook is Evil
- It gives bullies a platform to do just that—bully. Cyberbullying has caused a lot of heartache, including death. Bullies spread rumors and leave others out on purpose. They’re not nice and they love Facebook.
- All of your information is readily accessible to the public. Is there really such a thing as privacy anymore?
- “One way” friends are bad for you. You know who they are—you like their photos and make nice comments about their families and it’s never reciprocated. Well, guess what? They’re not really your friends so move on.
- It gives mean people a platform to spread their venom. And sadly, there are a lot of people listening.
- You can’t shred your photos. Luckily, I went to college back in the early 80’s so all the photos of crazy nights playing beer pong have either been shredded or are in a shoe box somewhere. Drunken photos today don’t disappear.
- A stalker could be watching your every move. Or worse, he could be watching your children.
- The non-stop requests to play stupid games. Enough said.
- Whining and complaining is rampant. And sadly, it’s contagious. Misery loves company.
- You don’t know who all your “friends” are. Every now and then, I get a message that someone has accepted my friend request. I often don’t know who that person is and how they got a friend request.
- Bad people know when you’re on vacation. If you’re posting during your holiday, it’s like sending bad guys a personal invitation to break into your house.
- It encourages narcissistic behavior. Facebook began as a platform to share photos. For some people, that means uploading a picture of themselves every single day so people can tell them how great they look. You know who these people are. Some of them even “photoshop” their pictures before posting so their teeth look whiter and their wrinkles are diminished. Really.
- It can cause jealousy. Some people feel bad about themselves when they see their friends getting promotions and going on vacations. The funny thing is that the “reality of life” that people see on Facebook is not very real.
- It wastes a huge amount of time. HUGE.
- It offers TMI. Some people feel the need to tell you every detail about their day, including what they’ve chosen to eat. This may not be classified as “evil” but do people really care about those things?
- It often takes the place of real, face-to-face friendships. There is nothing like sitting down to dinner with friends to enjoy a great conversation and a nice bottle of wine—without a phone in hand. We’ve become so tied to our phones that most people have difficulty doing this.
So, what do you think about Facebook? Does the GOOD outweigh the EVIL? Or should we all shut down our accounts? I would love to hear your thoughts.