Are we wasting away further as we endlessly scroll and refresh? Or do we now need this portal into a manipulated reality to keep up with modern life?
The problem with needing Facebook is that it's a direct result from actually having Facebook. If you didn't have it, those drunken club photos would linger alone and untagged - and no one would know how cool and awesome you are for leaving the house. But, like any addiction, you wouldn't crave it unless you'd had a good taste to begin with.
But let's be clear here. Your profile is supposedly a 'private' representation of your life that only a select few can see, and it is individually interpreted. Yet, as much as we try to ignore it, the trends of online activity amongst Generation-Y are proving to be unhealthy, addictive and damaging.
So let's look at why Facebook is great:
You are connected with people that you can't or don't see in person
It's fairly obvious, but further to having someone's phone number, you can have a glimpse into their online persona - even if you are thousands of miles away. You can show affection towards someone by clicking a button - here, take some code-based love - or you can actually chat to them, share links and see (stalk) their latest activities.
You can show off
If you have something to brag about, the chances are that Facebook will be one of the first to know. But it's nice isn't it, people liking (read: jealously supporting you) your success, luck and skill.
You can self-promote
Likes are cheap, so yes I will like your page, but only if I like or respect you enough to want to support you. Creating a Facebook Page is pretty damn simple, and a large proportion of Generation-Y will have access to at least one. Frustratingly, Facebook make it as difficult as possible for your posts to actually reach people, but it's a marketing death grip we can't break free from.
You can interact within groups
Facebook groups are probably the only aspect of the site that I need to use. As over 1.2 billion people use the social networking site, a group on Facebook can act as a noticeboard, an email chain and a chat room all in one, giving selling pages, music scenes, University societies and fan groups etc: the chance for quick and easy interaction.
And here's why it's pretty terrible:
According to the homepage, "Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life" and it's been doing so since 2004. But does it enhance our lives in anyway? Probably not.
When I tap on that alluring white F, it's part of a sad ritual that I struggle to break. Check Instagram, check Twitter, check Facebook, maybe send a text or check Snapchat, then repeat (because I might have a new like - yay!). I'll do this when I can't be bothered to do anything reality-based, but I can be bothered to worsen my mood by seeing other people 'enjoying themselves'. I use this term loosely because a photo of someone smiling tells you absolutely nothing about a person's life, apart from what they want you to see: a smile. And you feel excluded because that smile mirrors what you are lacking in that exact moment.
"Should we make this relationship Facebook official?" - why have you done this to us Mark Z? Why must we anchor the progression of a relationship to its online visibility? With the complexities of modern day dating constantly increasing, the internet acts as that blabbermouth friend that you tip-toe around, praying that they don't paint your private life in a bad light.
Most Facebook users can be split into one of these groups: people who bleed their emotions onto their profile and people who complain about those who do. But the thing is, it is their Facebook - If you don't like it (literally and emotionally) then unfriend them. It may seem trivial, but just like having a rant with a friend, or shouting at your pillow, let people vent however they want to.
Yes, promote yourself as much as you want because it's your Facebook. But in many ways Facebook is just a battleground where participants are equipped with their bragging rights, fighting it out with carefully crafted words and filtered images on a quest for the most likes.
For the record, I do have Facebook and I am on it a lot - mainly because of interactions within groups - but often it's so I can switch off and look at a menial cat video (and of course check for ego-stroking 'likes'). I will also be sharing this on Facebook because it's the best way for my 'friends' to see my opinions. Rant over.