To Facebook or not to Facebook?

Facebook is no doubt a very popular tool to keep up with friends and family (and maybe even enemies?). While what Jay Leno said has become true – i.e. after four years after inception, FB is the best waste of time, FB has it advantages and disadvantages. It is a great way to share news or photos about you with your friends and family. I am sure many get a kick when someone else likes their post or photos. But the feeding frenzy can get crazy so much so that others can start to ignore your posts. After all, too much is not good anyway. Second, once someone gets ‘addicted’ to the likings, one can start a ‘wait-game’ i.e., post something and see if who likes them. A few specific friends or family not liking something can put one on the track to serious rejection and open up a whole world of negativity. All said and done, when you post something on FB, make sure you don’t do that to get the likes, but with the sole purpose of telling others what you wanted to. Just like in the old world, you wanted to tell a few friends about something good and enjoy the moment. With 100s or even 1000s of friends, it is unfair to expect everyone will see it or like it. The timings might just not work for everyone – one friend can be on vacation or even out of reach of internet access. On the other hand, you will get some unexpected likes and pleasant comments – that is certainly the best part. Given many friends will be at different stages in life – for e.g., you could have your children going to college while a few of your friends might have six-year olds. Posting about friend’s children’s activities, while cute, might not catch your attention so much and you not liking it might be treated negatively – Oh, the nuances of misinterpretation that this digital world opens up can be as much as the lost-in-translations and the damage that they would cause. Then there is this privacy issue. I have seen many friends, who are technically so much ‘there’ than the rest of the world i.e., software architects, programmers, etc who haven’t even opened a FB account for fear of privacy. Then there are parents who are paranoid that their children will waste time on FB and not get access to a smart phone, which is partly right but in this world, kids get to do what they want anyway. By not providing them something that is easily available elsewhere (like school or public library, etc) provides an incentive to get them determined to do the same. Much like, those denied alcohol would somehow get access to it. I have seen many posting their wedding photos on the ‘net and let it be seen by anyone – it doesn’t bother them. After all, unless one is a celebrity, your photos don’t matter that much, right? And if one is in the right frame of mind, you would want to post only those photos or information that you think doesn’t do you any kind of damage or can get taken advantage of. With Facebook, one of the issues is that friends of friends can see your posts. This is mostly okay assuming your friends have befriended only those they know, but there could be cases where one accepts friend requests from anybody and everybody to keep their friends count high. This can pose a real privacy hazard, but there is only so much you can do to protect your information even outside of FB. A thief can break into your home and spread the information or a friend can disclose something that was confidential – all these can happen in the regular world. With FB, you can like certain pages and get news about them fed into your news feed. This can be a real boon for some – for e.g., you child is doing a science project and he or she can like a page that NASA created and without you having to go and search for it, you have relevant information in your news feeds. And of course, one can subscribe to any kind of junk and likewise get astray. So it is all in one’s control how best to make use of what is available. Just because one knows they can get access to drugs somehow shouldn’t get them onto a wild goose chase of drugs, but should let their judgment lead them away. Same case with Facebook. If you are not using Facebook for the wrong reasons, you are missing it out huge, but by the same token, if you are misusing FB with lots of unnecessary feeds and work to do that otherwise need not be done (such as liking every bit of post that is posted or spending endless time chatting, etc), then you certainly are wasting not only your time but also the resource.

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