Author Says Facebook Is Making Us Miserable

By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Facebook has changed the way many people communicate with family and friends — but some believe it’s not always for the better.

The social networking site’s recent changes — spotlighting what you’re hearing, watching, and reading — are geared to make users share more.

“Facebook is making us unhappy by making everyone else look really, really happy.”

Author Daniel Gulati blogs for Harvard Business Review. He says all that shared information is creating a subconscious “ranking” among friends as our curated selves broadcast online are compared in real life.

“Facebook is bringing down a lot of people’s daily sense of well-being.”

He says Facebook leads to a loss of productivity in work and play and can negatively affect close relationships.

“Meeting up in person, you get a much richer connection versus a video chat or a text-based chat.  It’s cannibalizing the offline interaction. That’s what’s worrying to me — the future prospect of Facebook conversations and video calls as opposed to meeting up at the local coffee shop.”

Gulati doesn’t advocate quitting the site, but suggests setting aside a daily time to visit with one day off Facebook each week. He also recommends deleting Facebook apps for mobile devices and pruning your list of friends — all, he says, to give you more time to “strengthen real-world relationships.”

More at http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/12/facebook_is_making_us_miserabl.html

Gulati is a coauthor of the ‘Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders.’  He tweets @danielgulati.

More from Ian Bush
Comments

One Comment

  1. Andi says:

    Why in the world does silly Facebook make so many people so angry? As a self-employed mom of 3 young boys, sometimes Facebook is my only link to the adult, outside world for the day. I feel less isolated since I found a convenient way to communicate with friends who live in a different city. What is so terrible about having a way to talk to many people at once? Of course face-to-face would be much better, but we all know that is just not possible a lot of times. Sometimes we just need a quick, 10-minute connection with the world and then we need to get back to our responsibilities. I have made so many new friends by getting to know my neighbors a little bit before I felt comfortable planning something with them face-to-face.

    You know, listening/reading others’ opinions is where you can learn the most. Maybe Facebook makes some people feel less important and so that’s why they hate it so bad? I have noticed that the popular crowd from high school does not participate in Facebook like the rest of us do. I guess it’s hard to suddenly be back on the same level as us and not have the advantage of your groupies standing next to you while you look down your noses at the ‘average’ ones. Or maybe it’s hard for some people to carry on an intellectual, interesting, and witty conversation using only your typed words. I guess they got offended when no one commented on their constant posts of which country their important job was sending them to next.

    In only a few minutes, I can reach out to many acquaintances/friends and get support and encouragement during a hard day. Before I would’ve had to work up the nerve to call someone (I hate talking on the phone) and then feel guilty for forcing them to stop their whole world and listen to me. Whether that support is real or perceived…does that really matter? My day was made better. I can in turn feel good about posting on a friend’s wall just to let them know that I thought of them today or share a funny picture to make their day better.

  2. Laura Winkelbauer says:

    Hahahahaha, how delightfully over simplified. Half the world hates what half the world does every day, that is fact. Myself, I am very happy that FB allows me to be in touch with friends from my youth. Social networking is a simple inexpensive way to share stories, photos, jokes and ideas with friends and family. It isn’t meant as replacement for interpersonal relationships. I wonder why weren’t people so outraged with MySpace?

  3. Andrew says:

    I’m sorry to say, but anyone who is against Facebook for whatever reason is going to find themselves irrelevant in a matter of years. Social networking websites are a major part of life today and they will be for the foreseeable future. Anyone who doesn’t want to use them, for whatever reason that come up with, is going to find themselves out of touch with reality. It’s on the same level of not using a telephone after it was invented. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t think that it was great. They probably said much of the same things people say about Facebook. It’s not the same as talking in person, it’s less intimate, etc. unfortunately, this is the way of the future. This is what your children are going to grow up with. Life isn’t the same as it was when you were growing up. Sorry to say, but today a 10 year difference in age is the equivalent to a 20 or 30 year difference 10 years ago. People need to keep up with technology or else they are going to find themselves irrelevant. Sorry.

    1. Tim says:

      Good job Andrew.
      Keep on using Facebook. Do report back after 10 years how you have progressed intellecetually and all those who don’t use facebook, if they have morphed in to now extinct dinos.

      1. Andrew says:

        I’ll be sure to do that. Just leave me your Facebook name and in 10 years I’ll find you and wow you with my intellect. Don’t have a Facebook account? Well, me in 10 years will be sure to send you a telegraph or possibly a fax. Until 2021, take care, Tim.

      2. Laura Winkelbauer says:

        Hahahahaha!!!!

    2. Yeziam12 says:

      I agree we all need to keep up with current events, but age is not the delineating factor you suggest it is.

      Technologies have been difficult for some up to this point, young and old, not necessarily just because they were hard to learn, but because they weren’t built or programmed well. We had to learn how to create the mechanism to integrate proven systems that could help make things happen.

      But things are getting easier all the time and the future holds great promise for making the learning curve less an issue as FB and other technologies get intertwined into our daily lives in more ways than just a web page you navigate to on your computer.

      And in the future, I suspect we really won’t see the learning curve that’s been necessary to keep up, technologies will just work better. Like hooking up a new BD player today with internet connectivity is exceedingly easier than establishing a P2P network of old.

      So, while I get your point of view, give the older folks a break Andrew, we pretty much built this world and we still have plenty of gumption left in our bones to help continue making it better.

      1. Andrew says:

        I agree that it’s not a one size fits all type of thing. Yes, there are going to be plenty of people of all ages that will keep up with the changes going on today. As you can see from the comments however, there’s an obvious fear, misunderstanding, and contempt for Facebook. People seem proud of it, one person even bragging about taking an F in a class because of it. Well, last time I checked an F stood for “failed” and school is preparing students for life. Failing, whether to prove a point or not, is still failing. Sure, you could use an abacus to solve problems in a math class but I’m pretty sure the kid next to you using his fancy calculator is going to do better.

        The age gap in this country is just becoming extremely apparent with everything. Antiquated laws against things such as marijuana and gay marriage are being held on to for dear life when everyone knows its only a matter of time. Don’t get me wrong and think that I’m some liberal nut job either. I don’t smoke nor do I enjoy the company of men. I sure as hell didn’t vote for Obama.

        Technology today is simply changing quicker than ever. Perhaps it works better than ever before but I am guessing that in another 10 years we could say the same. The fact is that technology is easy to understand so people have less of an excuse than they ever have. My grandma is on Facebook, she works it just fine.

        Bottom line is that there will always be people who try to rebel against change. The problem now is that the changes that they need to adjust to are here now and they’re moving fast. People will get left behind because we’re moving into a world where technology is everything.

        Stop holding onto your landline phones, your check books, your stamps. Say hello to smart phones, Internet banking, online bill paying, and email. Not comfortable banking online? Oh well, it’s coming soon. Prepare yourself.

    3. Lawrence N Melissa Evans says:

      As a retired educator, Facebook has not only allowed me to stay in touch with hundreds of former students, it’s reconnected me with high school and college classmates in otherwise impossible ways. FB has helped increase our family’s live contact. Moderation relative to one’s lifestyle and ability is an obvious caveat (drink too much water and you’ll drown).

      1. Tim says:

        LOL. One just needs an excuse to justify what they are addicted to.

  4. jkim says:

    Facebook is good for couponing, promoting a business and also for connecting with long distance friends and family that you never see. My daughter manages social media accounts for clients through our local paper, and even funeral homes have Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in. FB is great for sharing songs at Christmas. It would have been nice to have FB and Skype when I was in the third grade and my dad was in Viet Nam, or ninth grade when he was stationed in Korea.

    But I’m afraid that a lot of the younger generation really do think that FB friends = real friends. Some of them couldn’t carry on a five minute real life conversation if their lives depended on it. AND they think that getting to know someone online means they really know them. Scary and sad.

    If you aren’t a Country ‘n Western fan, you may not have heard Brad Paisley’s song “I’m So Much Cooler Online.” Listen to it!

    1. jkim says:

      Another negative facet of FB that I just learned about from a lawyer friend is that his divorce business has increased due to FB. He says he always has a case going that includes FB as a factor. Apparently some people reconnect with old sweethearts and get emotionally reinvolved, then leave their spouses. He says that another lawyer friend of his claims a new FB divorce case per week.

  5. jkim says:

    It is fascinatingly ironic to hear people condemning FB users for not having a life, when they can be seen spending vast amounts of time themselves making comments on news articles. I gather that it is more ennobling to spend time making rude comments on news sites than to make them on FB.

  6. itsclose says:

    I have heeded my “friends” urging me to join Facebook, and have found it quite useful in weeding out said “friends” and others I would rather not associate myself with, due to their disgusting interests, activities, comments, etc. Facebook has actually helped to isolate me even more!

  7. Massimo Deportado says:

    Children protecting their digital cocoon.

    Those who expose the nature of the unhealthy cocoon will be dissed and called hater. When “Hater” is used, it’s code for: I’m the only one allowed to spread venom.

    Obnoxious, self-centered children who in school were told that self-esteem is all that one needs. Zuckersnot was only smart enough to exploit it.

    Sad.

  8. SH says:

    If you use it to keep up with people who are living far away it is nice to have. I have friends all over the country as well as family and for that it is great to have.

  9. Paul Revere says:

    facebook is a social cry for help

  10. Deskboy says:

    FB shows you how stupid, ignorant and crude your ‘friends’ are.

  11. Bill in Houston says:

    I’ve never understood the fascination people have with Facebook. Never had it, never will. Most folks I observe using it are women. Sounds like a silly gossip fest.

  12. Tim says:

    I have ACL enabled on my router, that blocks all traffic to/from Facebook.com.
    Finally my Network Engineering skills came in handy.

    1. borntobepolitical says:

      Please show me how to do this. I have deleted and disabled everything I know how to get rid of Face book on my computer. I am afraid that I am still on their book so will this put a fire wall between me and Big Brother Face Book?

      1. Andrew says:

        It’s pretty easy to do. Simply press the “X” at the rip right hand corner of your browser and walk away from the computer. Simple!

      2. borntobepolitical says:

        Andrew
        Now that is simple :-)

    2. Deskboy says:

      You could make a fortune by showing us how to do the same.
      BTW, may I log in with FACEBOOK?

  13. Ratt says:

    Have you ever considered that some of your FB friends may be “bots” written by FB employees? Seriously, it’s so easy to do …. and everyone on FB loves to have their egos stroked.

    1. BGko says:

      Since all my FB friends are actually friends that I know in real life also, no, I haven’t considered that they could be robots….

  14. bc says:

    FB is fine for folks who want to use more power to them It is just not for me. I feel that if there is someone whom I have not talked to or seen in 30 years there may be a reason. I also find if I haven’t talked to them or seen them in 30 years there really is not that much to say beyond the chit chat pleasantries which I can live without. The point being you move on in life. Everything has a beginning middle and an end just get used to that idea and you will be happier. If FB makes people unhappy go look in the mirror and there is your problem

  15. robert m says:

    Why give away a valuable personal asset to people you do not know or trust…namely Facebook it’self.
    Even the owner was astounded with the amount of people giving up their personal information

  16. Daniel says:

    I used to have a FB account and all it did was consume my time.

  17. Principlex says:

    If your life is about comparing yourself to others, you are going to be unhappy period. This is a false standard which would impact what ought to be the proper standard for your life – your own vitality and happiness – given the full range of your life. His claim that FB sharing is creating a sub-conscious ranking of oneself and one’s friends is patently false. That never entered my head. It seems that profs can only create theories about how you and I are victims of life. What b.s.

    What this does tell me is that the author is not oriented to creating value – a necessity for a happy life. One either creates value for life or is a victim of life. Choose.

    1. Daisy says:

      “If your life is about comparing yourself to others, you are going to be unhappy period.”

      Exactly so.

    2. Carlton says:

      I have negative freinds that talk about their problems all the time – they don’t make my life better – they make it worse.

      1. T says:

        I used to be one of those who complained about my life… had no long term friends… then I woke up. I realized that whining and complaining about my life gave others a sort of “control” over my life… They expected me to be negative, and I fulfilled their expectations… and I recognized the negativity of some others. I didn’t really LIKE the negative people… why should anyone else like ME? I have a close relative who has for years, complained to me about his stressed, miserable existence, and hear his complaints about why “no one understands,” or “you don’t understand,” and this is after a change in his fortunes on the positive side… Ohhh I UNDERSTAND ALL TOO WELL. It is NOT up to anyone but yourself to determine whether you CHOOSE to be unhappy or blame others… I stopped discussing my life with others for the most part… and presto chango! People started actually LIKING me! Wellwhodathunkit? And so… if people on FB put negative spin on their own lives, I don’t participate. I’m getting too old to put up with yesterday’s cryin’ tears…been there, done that, don’t miss it at all.

  18. moonmac says:

    FB is about as fake and disingenuous as our crooked economy now because people are too afraid to say what they really believe for fear of what others will think and also what their employer will do if they read it.

    1. Carlton says:

      My FB experience has been very different from what you describe – I’ve rekindled old friendshsips, and made new friends via FB. I’ve been invited on deer hunting trips, fishing trips, motorcycle riding tirps, snow ski trips, and other vacations via Facebook – and I enjoyed them all. I arranged a neighborhood reunion last summer and 20 old fiends came. I don’t really have time to acall all my friends and havve a conversation, but I do have 5 to 10 seconds to comment on their latest picture or post a picture of my own.

      I am a believer in the phrase “Who you know matters” and with facebook, you know more people, and you can be a little closer to them too.

  19. ulyssesmsu says:

    Silly nonsense. I’ve strengthened many relationships through FB. Another Luddite, “worrying” about technology.

    1. JS says:

      Some of us are not so full of ourselves that we require facebook to make our existence worthwhile. It has nothing to do with being a luddite.

      1. mP says:

        Great point JS !!! I left FB a while back and I cant believe I spent so much wasted time and not to mention the turmoil on such a useless endeavor …

  20. Tara King says:

    FB like the rest of life is about what you put into it.

  21. The Sage Waitress says:

    Well…duh! Meeting face to face is always the best, but when your boyfriend lives 300 miles away, internet is the best way to communicate, unless you are one of those phone idiots who spends 2 hours saying what he and I can type in 5 minutes. Dum-de-dum!

  22. jacmat says:

    koolaid makers eavesdropping on the other koolaid makers

    lots of koolaid getting drunk over there on the facebook….

    now if you put bummers on your fb page they will think your going to kill yourself and come and get you so keep putting out that great stuff.

  23. jacmat says:

    koolaid makers eavesdropping on the other koolaid makers

    lots of koolaid getting drunk over there on the facepagebook….

    now if you put bummers on your fb page they will think your going to kill yourself and come and get you so keep making that great stuuf

  24. Belt Fed says:

    After reading all of the above comments, I get the idea that losers hate Facebook, but the average person finds it a useful tool. No surprise there. Losers try to tear everyone and everything down to their level. That’s why they vote for Democrats.

    1. BobY says:

      Most people are too busy with their lives and families to spend more than a few minutes a week on a waste of time like facebook.

  25. Chuck says:

    I guess all the haters here just have such active, busy and exciting lives that they can’t be bothered to trade ideas, quotes, books, videos, news, politics and what not with others.
    They prefer to remain in their own boring world glued to that tv and playing video games and gripe how they didn’t have the discipline wisely in the modern world.
    Hanging out with friends you say? Ha…..I’ve heard how lame THOSE conversations and streams of thought are.
    Unable to walk and chew gum at the same time, they are incapable of exchanging ideas on FB, listening to music, watching a ballgame and baking a batch of cookie at the same time.
    And don;t tell me otherwise. I’ve been around plenty of people to know these these things are true.
    And, using the old canard of “working too much”…. Pathetic. QUIT WORKING SO MUCH!!!…….You will be on your deathbed and regret every single moment you did you spent chasing that fiat money and filling your head with what you could. Doubt me? Spend time around the terminally ill and ask them what their greatest regrets in life were. Not a one will tell you “I wish I worked more”.
    These are the guys who griped about the telephone and asked what’s wrong with the telegraph.
    No fears, your gene pool is shallow and will evaporate quickly. for you are incapable of evolving or have such a vacuous mind that you have nothing to offer others.
    Am I bitter about you?
    Doggone right I am.
    You are the ones willfully oblivious to the world crumbling around us at this interesting point in human evolution.
    Technology is fine………learn to use it wisely and you will not have problems with it.

    1. David says:

      Methinks thou doth protest too much…

    2. Rupert Pupkin says:

      Case in point of someone who needs to use LESS facebook… lol

  26. billysam33 says:

    I got rid of my 2 facebook profiles and I am glad I did! Time consuming and I have to admit was making me bitter and angry about life due to all of the politics. Glad it is out of my life.

  27. Steve Case says:

    That’s why I use AMERICA ONLINE. It rocks.

  28. FritzIdler says:

    The article is talking about, how a comparative standard makes one unhappy. Which is true. But I believe comparative standards, have been making people unhappy, long before the phrase ‘comparative standard’ was coined. You can find a description of it in the Old Testament.

  29. FBhater says:

    I was a very early and active user of FB but shut down my account a couple of years ago, and most people I know and respect have done likewise. Or, in the alternative, use FB in a very minimal way – usually just to promote a band (like myspace) or their business (like linkedin). People are beginning to realize Facebook is nothing but a scam, enriching its founders and employees and investment bank (goldman sachs) at the expense of the privacy and sanity of everyone else.

    1. Yeziam12 says:

      I think maybe you can remove the “FB” from you name. You say “…most people I know and respect have done likewise…”

      Last time I checked, my friends don’t judge how much they respect me based on whether they think I use FB or not. Judgmental much.

      1. X_X says:

        zzzzzzzz

  30. WoWeesMe says:

    If you’re miserable then it’s probably not all Facebook’s fault. Maybe you should go outside and be nice to a real human being… Just a thought. I’d wager that all these comments aren’t helping miserable people feel any better also.

  31. R_S says:

    There is no such thing as a “FB” friend.

    1. Yeziam12 says:

      Could you elaborate or am I supposed to stroke my chin and agree with what you perceive is an eloquent comment?!

      Of course I have FB friends – more likely, none of the people I communicate are not friends. So, I guess your quip doesn’t mean much to those of us who use FB to stay in touch, as it does to someone who uses it otherwise?!

      1. David says:

        If you felt secure, Yeziam, why did you reply…

  32. Max Hathaway says:

    FACEBOOK is a sand-trap for the mindless, an orchestrated mass distraction to channel attention away from the breakdown of our society; and a tool creates by elites to maximize conformity, channel media exploitation and media ownership over individual citizens.

    The truth: FACEBOOK OWNS your SORRY @SS.

    When your realize the implication of that, your life is over.

  33. David M says:

    All I want to know is which members of Congress are being bribed right now with pre-ipo FB stock. Technically it is legal, but the way I see it, it is a huge conflict of interest and should be equated with bribery. It is a travesty that laws to make it illegal have been tabled several times.

    1. Spanky says:

      Do you mean like what happened with Nancy “VISA IPO” Pelosi?

  34. tom says:

    Never had it….never will.

    1. Spanky says:

      Just wait until your grandchildren’s photos are posted there and the other set of grandparents “likes” and posts comments about them all the time!

  35. nerd says:

    I have to put this in my hosts file:

    127.0.0.1 facebook.com

    1. Spanky says:

      Ha! I gotcha! I went to your IP address 127.0.0.1 and in a few seconds I”m going to force your computer to format its hard drive! Take that!

      1. Spanky says:

        uh oh…

  36. Voy Euring says:

    Facebook = Unreal; falsified reality

    It’s exactly what users want people to THINK their lives are really like…

    1. Spanky says:

      oh and all that other stuff we do is reality?

      1. Chimmy McPee says:

        Um, yeah.

  37. justme says:

    I had FB for about 10 minutes… I found out things about family and friends that I didn’t want to know. It was invasive and intrusive.

    1. alastair says:

      amazing how people willingly hand over one of their most important and valuable possessions (information about their private, personal actions and choices) for free, to a startup in California. its just bizarre. hopefully we’ll look back one day and wonder what the hell we were thinking.

  38. Irony says:

    What I love is, at the bottom of this article is a facebook connect button…

    1. commentarion says:

      That’s got to be the most insidious and infuriating thing about most publications comments systems now, the “login via facebook” button. Just when you thought it wasn’t possible to detest facebook any more.

  39. David says:

    Much of what has been pointed out in this article can be said about the internet in general as well as i-phones and texting.

    1. Ken says:

      no I disagree with that…facebook keeps you clicking, all in one place so you don’t have to use your head to find new sources of information as you would with the “general” internet.

      1. David says:

        The POINT of the article is about the loss of personal relationships, human contact and face to face communication which is not only true, but a terrible loss for humanity. It has NOTHING to do with ” sources of information ” on the internet for news or research purposes. Apparently it’s having a negative affect on reading comprehension and understanding skills as well.

      2. Ken says:

        ok sorry, I should have said “input”. My point is that it reinforces addictive behavior more than say a google prompt

    2. jimmerz says:

      @David “The POINT of the article is about the loss of personal relationships, human contact and face to face communication which is not only true, but a terrible loss for humanity” If it were not for Facebook, there are friends and family, that I would otherwise have little or no chance of connecting with. Those friend who I live near, I can and do see in person. It is those that live in other states, thatI I use Facebook to keep in contact with.

      1. Lar says:

        Ever hear of a telephone?

  40. Fred says:

    “Author Says Facebook Is Making Us Miserable”

    Author is looking to get attention. Ironic, in the context of this article, don’t you think?

    1. Ken says:

      I’m glad he is pointing it out. I’m also glad to see that I’m not the only one who thinks this. Thanks for your point of view, though I do not understand it..

      1. Fred says:

        My point is that the author is using the subject of facebook to garner attention for himself, because fb is a ‘hot’ topic these days.

        If you notice, he doesn’t provide any research, statistics or evidence to back up his views of facebook and what it’s ‘doing’ to us, so it’s all just his personal opinion. In my personal opinion, facebook is ok. Just like anything else, if you overdo it it’s bad, but rejecting it totally out of hand is also a little extreme.

        I have friends from childhood, high school and college spread all over the world that I’m in touch with now. It would be very difficult to stay in touch with all of them by email. Fb makes it easy. Sure, the interaction is generally shallow, but that’s how I want it. If you really want to get closer you always can via the chat or messaging funciton. I’ve actually met up with a few old friends in person because of reconnecting with them on fb.

        Like I said, the author just wants to get attention so he writes something negative about fb knowing people will zero in on it. Oldest trick in the book. Media and newspapers do it everyday. Fear sells.

    2. Bruce says:

      So Fred, how exactly would he, by your standards, make his point that FB is making people unhappy and cut off from real human interaction without appearing to you to be using a “hot topic” and “the oldest trick in the book”? Does this mean that anyone who criticizes FB is only trying to get attention, so their point can be dismissed out of hand?
      I’m not trying to flame you, I’m just trying to take your point to its logical conclusion to see if I understand you correctly.

      1. Fred says:

        Bruce, his point might have some basis for consideration if he actually provided data or evidence to back up his claims about fb and what it does to people. He has not, as far as I can tell. Without that, his views are just his opinion. That’s fine and he’s entitled to it, but I don’t have to take it any more seriously than anyone else’s opinion on the subject.

  41. fred dean says:

    He is correct. 100 percent. Great article.

  42. Mark says:

    This is a great example of modern America & what is wrong with it. Here is an extremely successful business so it must be trashed & torn down by “intellectuals” from those Ivy League egghead schools telling us it makes us unhappy. BS!

    My 1 year old niece lives 3,000 miles away and thanks to Facebook I see pictures and videos of her on an almost daily basis. I have no problem if people don’t want to join, after all nobody is putting a gun to anyone’s head and forcing them to log on to Facebook.

    Besides, since only 1% of Americans are well off according to the same intellectual idiots it’s not like the 99% can afford a computer or cell phone or tablet to use Facebook anyway right? It’s only for “Rich People” :) Or maybe Facebook is the next “right” the useful idiots will demand.

    1. Bob Binger says:

      But without facebook you couldnt see pictures and videos of her? We still have email in which is safer to use, and anything you email is still your own property that you reserve the rights to .Problem is schools are now telling us students that we need to sign up for facebook to turn in assignments, I refuse to do so and took my F for the assignment. If you wanna facebook/myspace/twitter its your right do to so. But please read the fine print and realize that they now own anything you let them. Also realize the sucide rates in children and young adults has doubled since facebook. Its more of a problem than most think.

    2. Brutus says:

      Ever think to call her instead?
      You can attach photos and video to any email, that’s been easy for years now.
      You niece prefers this because you’re an old dude and she doesn’t really want to spend time with you face/face or on the phone. This is why people love Facebook. They can feel “connected” w/o ever really connecting. Keeping it shallow and surfacy is safe.

      Can anyone name someone they “re-connected with” who was otherwise unfindable had anyone really bothered? I can find kids I went to grammar school with in about 5 minutes online if I know their name and age. The reason people don’t stay in touch is they really don’t want to all that much.

      But once Facebook comes around so they can show off how great their life is, tada! Suddenly everyone wants to get back in touch. Ever wonder why? They get the good part of having friends (sharing your good stuff) w/o the hassle of reality (boring conversations).

      “hey bob, nice to hear from you. Here’s my trophy wife and 7 series parked beside my new boat”.

      “Nice to hear from you Bob. I just got promoted. Here is a photo of me with the President”.

      In reality they both are annoyed by each other. That’s why they haven’t been in touch.

      1. Julie Stewart says:

        Very insightful comments. Now I understand some of the reasons I left FB a year ago, although at the time I did not understand what was motivating me to do so. You make some good points here.

      2. Me says:

        Yes, I’ve had an experience where I “reconnected” with someone “unfindable”.

        I became close friends with a foreign exchange student in fifth grade. She moved back to Mexico and hadn’t known what address or anything I would be able to reach her at. I’d wanted to contact her again over the years, but with no clue of where to look, and with her having extremely common Hispanic first and last name, I would say she was “unfindable” – and it’s not for lack of trying. When she joined Facebook a few weeks ago, she looked up my name and friend requested me, and immediately we started talking and caught up on the missing years. She’s married and has a baby girl now!

    3. Steven says:

      Facebook Mark is stupid to put it bluntly. Instead of facebook why dont you communicate with skype? I’m actually against what it stands for which is a look at me narcissism that I find dumbs down the general population. At 1 years old how many of your niece’s videos do you need to see everyday? Really, think about it. Btw if I’m not mistaken it was a Ivy League egghead who created it in the first place.

    4. Mike` says:

      Hey Mark, your use with your daughter is a perfect example of the great advantages of Facebook but I think the author is speaking more about how people who live in the same city or neighborhood are using FB in lieu of face to face interaction. I think FB is used by insecure and narcissistic people to make their boring lives seem better and I personally choose to ignore those and use it for business marketing or communicating over distances like you.

    5. Ken says:

      The guy isn’t saying that there aren’t benefits to facebook.

      I think Diaspora is a better implementation anyway (free from advertising or the profit motive), but beside that, people who aren’t already communicating by phone or in person with their friends *will* be negatively affected by facebook.

    6. David says:

      You sound awfully defensive here, as if the author was speaking to you personally. The authors analysis of FB, how most people use it and how it ultimately affects them is spot on. You might find this difficult to accept, but not everything is about you.

    7. Spanky says:

      “Or maybe Facebook is the next “right” the useful idiots will demand.”

      Actually they have already been demanding free internet access.

  43. Mitt says:

    Damn Trolls – they are everywhere.

    You Trolls get off my lawn!

  44. Frank Zentura says:

    Dummies. Don’t those “unhappy” people know that everyone posts on FaceBook precisely to make their lives look better than they are? Hell… Facebook reinforces this behavior by sheltering peoples comments and siloing people so they only see what makes the user feel comfortable.

  45. Capt Obvious says:

    I had a FB account at one time. Since I’ve deleted it, I feel much better.
    My nephew once asked me if he should get one. I immediately responded “It makes you be friends with people you don’t really want to be.”

    Plus, now employers are using it against you. The better idea is to PREVENT information on you proliferating online.

    Think about it.

  46. graphx says:

    Real men don’t use facebook or “lol”.

    1. David says:

      Exactly.

      Psychologically, social networking/facebook is a FEMALE oriented pursuit.

      1. Manfred says:

        I know a couple of metrosexual dudes whose lives have been consumed by the puerile inanity that is facebook. How weak, insecure, and shallow do you have to be? Do you really think the world gives a rat’s ass? Do you? I for one was GLAD to graduate from junior high school….

  47. Red says:

    I agree with the author, FACEBOOK SUCKS!

  48. BUBBA says:

    iSN’T IT MOSTLY FOR TATTOOED SHEEPLE? Or maybe ones who watch Snookie shows? and drive cars with automatic gearbox. Lamers.

  49. walter12 says:

    Yes, it is true. Facebook is insidious and completely impersonal. Down with Facebook.

  50. Bill Smith says:

    Are these facts based on a scientific study, or just one man’s opinion. As a long-time Facebooker, I disagree with everything he says.

    1. Slayerdude says:

      The first stage in a drug addiction is denial.

    2. Jefferson says:

      I think the comments at least show that many people have a strong negative impression of their facebook experience. It does provide enough reason to do some experimentation, why don’t you investigate it for the benefit of everyone?

      For what it’s worth, I *have* done some informal personal experimentation using the scientific process, and my results lead me to believe that if you don’t already have good habits, FB will slow down your progress in several areas relating to personal development. Unfortunately the only good solution is to form habits that structure your schedule such that you use unwavering conviction to allot oneself a specific amount of time to devote to social networking-style applications. For some people, this will never happen unless perhaps they quit “cold turkey”.. But hey, personal responsibility reigns in the world of survival-of-the-fittest.

      No one is suggesting legislative action to dictate personal behavior, so people who seem to be offended by notions that FB might have some negative effects on the majority of people can just calm down :)

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