Written by: Shani Fowler
The advent of social media has predominantly been a wonderful concept. There are so many good and positive points to it, so much so that it’s hard to imagine life without it. Facebook wears many hats, acting as a networking site, a reuniting site and an information providing site to name a few. But it has to be accepted that a rather dark side can lurk within its perimeters on occasion. Let’s have a look at the good, bad and the downright ugly of Facebook.
Friends – this is its crowning jewel and forms one of the bases of its inception. Facebook can act like a giant and interesting contacts book. Friends are only a click away, we don’t have to be in each other’s faces but it is wonderful that people are so contactable when you need them.
Reconnecting people – Friends from way back can get in touch allowing us to rekindle and retain the friendships of yesteryear; it engages people like nothing else. Many of us have had the delight being sought out or in turn finding someone and then catching up with all those missing years. Old friends, colleagues and old school buddies who we might otherwise have almost forgot existed make a welcome return to our lives. Friendships are important and Facebook has definitely blazed a trail.
Alerts – where in the good old days we used to have to wait for the news or watch an episode of Crimewatch to be informed of unsavoury activity, we can be updated with the latest happenings by simply going to our Facebook page. Many people alert each other to spates of local crime, helping us to be ever vigilant – that’s no bad thing!
Not just bad news alerts either, interesting events occurring locally can be shared or lost and found items can be swiftly posted and shared. Many of us have been reunited with something we thought had gone for ever.
Keep friends and family informed – previously it wasn’t until you saw family and friends at social events that you would be able catch up with what they have been up to. Now we can swipe our phones and be treated to Aunty Suzie’s fabulous holiday in Barbados or see cute pictures of little nephew James ready for his first day at school, awkwardly posing in his uniform that’s way too big (he’ll grow into it!). Facebook is great in enabling us to see what we are all getting up to.
Humour posts – sometimes (probably a Sunday night) we can get a little fed up. We have a browse on Facebook and see that someone has put a picture on with the funniest caption and it can really cheer you up – or a video that you must watch again and again it’s so hilarious!
Everything on there! A particularly unattractive side to Facebook is where people begin to live their entire life through it. We hear about almost everything from what they had for breakfast to the bath salts they used for their night time ablusions. It’s a little annoying to say the least when someone is clogging your news feed with irrelevances – hmmm… now where is the unfollow button!
Overly competitive – Now these can be super annoying – you know the ones who have managed to fit in 8 hours at work, a gruelling gym workout, spring cleaned their home and baked the most delicious batch of cakes you have clapped your eyes on – all in the space of a day!! You have to learn to take many of the posts with a pinch of salt!
Regurgitated – not only do we become swamped with many irrelevances, we are treated to the whole scenario again with good old time hop. We often didn’t want to see the post in the first place and so the second helping can be a bit much to bear!
Fake lifestyles – those who constantly say how wonderful their life is. I saw a post recently saying “I hope your life is half as interesting as you make it out to be on Facebook” – and there is truth in that. If people had such fun filled busy days isn’t it ironic that they have so much spare time to sit on Facebook and type it all up!
The attention seekers – everyone must have come across this. You scroll down to be met with a random post by someone saying something like “I won’t ever allow that again I’m so hurt.” Invariably intrigued fellow Facebookers want to know what this cryptic message is and ask “are you okay hun? Blah blah” – but hey – no response – WHY OH WHY put it on there? – Attention seeking much?!
Children are vulnerable – as our children get older and become interested in social media, there is the worry that they will make inappropriate friends, become bullied or other safety issues. Any child’s account needs overseeing and appropriate settings applied.
Lies – it’s horrid when facebookers put on dirty lies about others, or start arguing through Facebook, airing all their dirty laundry. Don’t be tempted, it’s undignified and cringey. If you have something to say to someone say it to them, we don’t all need to know! It’s harder to mend any rift that has become public knowledge and it’s all soooo Jeremy Kyle!
Out there – once you have posted something it is often out there forever. Post wisely as some things can come back to haunt you in the future.
Time – Facebook can be a time thief. Before you know it, you have spent hours wrapped up in what everyone else is doing instead of getting on with your own life.
Privacy – in the excitement and competitiveness of social media, Facebook can leave you exposing more of yourself than perhaps you ordinarily might have done.
Exposed to scams – even the most wary of us can leave ourselves exposed and vulnerable to those who are willing to prey on us. The more we divulge, the more someone can tailor a scam to our particular weaknesses.
Social media is an extremely powerful tool and treated properly can be fun, beneficial as well as practical. We need to make sure we avoid the temptation to use it for anything sinister. Remember to take somethings with a pinch of salt and always apply your moral coding. Keeping it light, limiting the time you spend on there and not saying unpleasant things is key to remaining a happy Facebooker.