It’s been a couple days since I’ve deleted my Profile on Facebook. Now, if you like Facebook you might ask yourself: “That’s weird! Why could he have done that?” Or you are from Brazil and think: “Facebook? Hum. What am I supposed to do there? All my friends are on Orkut!”
Well, l live in Brazil and so I wasn’t able to “avoid” Orkut, socially spoken. At that time it’s been highly recommended by a friend, so I gave it a try, more than one – to be honest. Finally, I quit for real. I quit insisting on searching, reading and posting in forums, sending scraps or reading some kind of personal marketing from people I never met in real life.
I made up my mind and left. Not just that. I did something stupid. I wrote an email to my virtual friends, trying to explain why. Can you imagine that? Nobody answered, of course. They might think I’m crazy. How could I’ve been so naive?
After a while, I kind of missed something. I felt so lonely (am I just kidding?). So I joined Facebook, “connecting” to some friends (most of them were people I already knew), hanging around for a while, checking out some apps, reading stupid comments like “Filipe is Rumpelstielzchen” or that someone “poked” another person, doing some research on communities and – got bored.
“This is worse than Orkut!” I thought – facing an overdose of political correctness. A lot of smiling faces posting a lot of fotos with smiling faces. Comparing to Orkut, Facebook is the peak of indifference. No real issues but a lot of visual pollution and apps you don’t need. In my opinion, the concept of Orkut is better. By the way: “Dear folks from Orkut! We had some good chats! I give you that!”
Now, I’m out. After all, I did not “leave” real people. I just quit participating on a virtual platform. That’s a difference, do you agree? I hope so. And, with reference to the people I “knew” on Orkut and Facebook I’d like to tell you something:
I’ve got their phone numbers and email-adresses.
Anyway, since then, I’m almost convinced that a lot of so called social networks are a waste of time. They might be useful if you’re looking for someone you haven’t met for years and whose personal contact information is lost. Or, maybe you’re looking for a date – desperately, after all?
That’s not my point.
My point is that – in the end – this whole social network thing is giving just one clear message:
I am here! I do exist!
It’s not: “How are you?” / “What have you been doing since we’ve met?”
(If we ever met at all…)
You think that’s unfair? You might be right. People ask these questions and use those networks for gossip and news, to post their ideas, to show how fantastic, marvellous, sexy, tough, cool or intelligent theye are, and so on … That’s human and quite understandable.
But, I beg your pardon for insisting: the main issue is still to be present, to show up – for whatever reason. Those sites give you the impression that you’re missing something if you are not a part of it. Once you’re in they got you! You better think twice about leaving. You got used to it. You need it!
Why is that?
Well, maybe because:
Social network sites risk infantilising the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity, according to a leading neuroscientist.
Social networking sites can provide a “constant reassurance – that you are listened to, recognised, and important”. […] This was coupled with a distancing from the stress of face-to-face, real-life conversation, which were “far more perilous … occur in real time, with no opportunity to think up clever or witty responses” and “require a sensitivity to voice tone, body language and perhaps even to pheromones, those sneaky molecules that we release and which others smell subconsciously”.