WORLD: Get off Facebook and TALK, for goodness sake!

We examine why Facebook is actually making YOU anti-social.

Facebook is one of the biggest websites out there, with one in every seven minutes online being wasted by people aimlessly watching their news feed, stalking their “friends” or refreshing their profile in the hope someone has “liked” their status (true story). But is all of this social interaction actually hindering our real life friendships and social skills?

57% of all people now communicate with others more online than they do off, and it is easy to see how. We all have those friends that seem to be super-glued to their phone, constantly texting, BBM-ing and checking Facebook – (If you don’t have a friend like that, it is probably you). We all know just how annoying they can be! One minute, you’re out at the pub in mid-flow of conversation, while the next you’re twiddling your thumbs because they’ve disappeared into cyber-space.

Often, these people will “check-in” from their current location, ensuring that everyone they know is aware that they are having “such an amazing nyt with the bessies xoxo”.

It makes you wonder whether these people would enjoy their social outings more if they socialised with the people they’d actually arranged to meet up with rather then trying to kid their online ‘friends’ that they have the bestest life, like, ever babe #YOLO. It doesn’t matter if that guy you met once during Freshers knows you’re eating an “omg bbz, so yummy” pizza with the person you live with!

It all seems to stem from Facebook’s culture of being a popularity contest. There will be a handful of people you know that nearly always receive at least ten people ‘liking’ their status as soon as they update and even more commenting on their (no doubt Instagramed) pictures.

It often feels like people adjust their online content with the constant hope that they may become one of  ‘those cool ones’- as if they simply MUST receive ‘likes’ in order to become socially accepted. Facebook actively encourages this behaviour through its strive to provide users with what it deems to be useful content.

Have you ever noticed how the same people always show up on your news feed and that you don’t witness the moaning rants of everyone you’re ‘friends’ with? In the past few years, Facebook has taken it upon itself to decide whose posts you see and whose you don’t.

It bases this decision on who you interact with; visiting profiles, talking on chat or commenting on posts. Facebook, this beautiful portal of connectivity and networking, is thus disengaging you from people you’ve actually said you want to be friends with. It’s filtering them out, imposing its own algorithmic views on how it thinks you think. You’re almost giving a website the authority to block people out of your life.

The question I pose to anyone reading this is simple: do you really think it is healthy for a website to have such a grasp on your life? When writing this, I had actually deactivated my Facebook account and two separate people in 24 hours told me that they “couldn’t live without Facebook”.

Many other people see Facebook as a way of keeping in contact with old friends, and by that they mean stalking them. Would it not make far more sense to just pick up the phone and actually talk to them for five minutes? Are you really that busy? In an age where Facebook would be the 3rd largest country in the world by population (no mean feat when you consider it is banned in China), there is the real worry that modern society is losing out more and more on healthy social interaction.

So, in true Tab style… let’s debate. Is Facebook really as useful as it claims? Or does it actually make us MORE anti-social in its subtle attempts to rule our lives? Leave your comments below.