Facebook threw up an interesting statistic to me. “How addicted am I to facebook”. It was a shockingly high number, and so high I dared not publish it. Damn, it was even higher than that of a good friend of mine S, who I keep taunting in jest for being on Facebook all the time!
And she coolly suggested I have to first admit there is a problem. She made it sound as if I was an alcoholic in need of help!
While all that was in good humor, I couldn’t help thinking about it. Have I let the online social networking world take over my life?
The short answer was no, and the long answer is as follows: (And this is dedicated to my well meaning friend who got it wrong nevertheless!)
I have been observing how people use / misuse social networking for a while. I think some people use it very smartly and that is irrespective of how much time they spend on it. Some people may spend less time, but may go about it in a way that doesn’t help them or their online friends. So while it is a good idea to keep your time spent on it to the bare minimun, it’s also important to understand how we use these technologies, and where we should draw the line.
I have a few guidelines that I try my best to follow when it comes to social networking, specifically for Facebook. This is based on what I did in the past, and found to be a waste of time / harmful, and what I have seen others doing:
- I don’t typically add friends I do not know at all
- I do not add friends to show that I have a few hundred friends on my Facebook
- I do not use it to read up about people’s personal info or stalk women (Women, you could be either flattered or shocked if you know how many men you never know stalked you online!)
- I try not to share very personal feelings, discussions, moments, photos etc
- When I see something very significant posted on a friend’s profile (such as a child’s birth, a separation, or a new job) I make it a point to contact them over phone / in person. A lot many people think it cool to just click on “like” and not bother there after
- I use the privacy settings pretty well, to control who can see what
- I do not see my friends as “virtual only”. If anybody on my Facebook happens to be in and around where I live, I make it a point to call / meet hang out with them
- I use it to promote my thoughts / websites etc, but I do not rely entirely on Facebook for that
- If I go somewhere and take pictures, I do not upload a few hundred pictures and expect my friends to see all of them!
- I do not play any games on Facebook 🙂
Now you may, or may not agree to the points above, but I think it’s a good idea to develop your own guidelines and stick to them. Else we all may have technology like this take over our lives, and affect our ability for normal human relationships one day!
On a lighter note, one of my best friends ever – B, refuses to tag herself on photos of us together. She truly believes she does not look cool enough in those pictures, and apart from laughing out loud and screaming “Women”, I didn’t bother about it. I know a lot of other friends who take such things seriously. Do you need a Facebook picture / wall post, or some stupid Facebook quiz to tell you who your best friends are?
P.S: I know the title of the blog is misleading, but it’s always a nice feeling to pull a fast one on people 🙂