At this point, most of us have been on Facebook for longer than we can remember. Facebook’s popularity feeds off of curiosity, giving users the ability to learn by observation, but from a distance. What may have started as a curious experiment has become a conflicting realm where the real and virtual worlds bleed into one another. And while social media provides users with a convenient way to keep track of memories and stay in touch with friends, sites like Facebook and Instagram often distort perceptions of reality.
Our generation has been indoctrinated with the internet; rarely do young adults abstain from Facebook. The site, which originally was filled with trivial updates of individuals’ meals and other random ponderings, has undergone various transformations over time. Facebook has become a place to go to learn about and RSVP to events, find basic information for an array of businesses, and for some users, it has even become a go-to news source.
Facebook owes its continued success to learning from the failures of sites like Myspace, which never innovated new user experiences. While we were all playing Farmville, Facebook was engineering the option to choose ‘reactions’ to posts. Since Facebook began in 2004, 1.23 billion active accounts are in use today. As Facebook continues to grow, and is worth approximately $245 billion dollars, the site feels like an increasingly permanent aspect of modern life. But, is there going to be an end to Facebook?
At this point, it’s difficult to imagine life without Facebook. In the future, we may let our accounts wither away, but it is unlikely that we will go so far as to delete them altogether. There is mounting evidence that we are hooked on social media; most students silence rather than turn off their phones during class, check Facebook first thing in the morning, and spend hours a day browsing their feeds intermittently. But more and more often, people are crossing the line in a world of internet personas and falsely advertising ‘picture perfect’ lives.
There should always be a divide between texting or messaging and talking in person. But more and more often while having conversation in person, individuals answers phone calls or texts without acknowledging the messages. Falling into technological distraction at this level could begin to detract from human interaction.
It might be difficult to tell how much other peoples’ posts agitate or weigh on our minds, and it may not be necessary to make a dramatic detachment. If social media generally elicits a positive response, is not a distraction from responsibilities, and does not detract from one’s relationships with others, then it is fine as part of a modern lifestyle. The best way to test the effects of Facebook and other social media on your day-to-day activities may be to challenge yourself not necessarily to delete an account, but to stay offline for 24 hours. Social media provides you with many benefits, but you may not realize what you’re missing until you take a step back.