30 Day Challenges Life Lifestyle Technology

Why Facebook is like Junk Food

I’m one day away from going back to Facebook. I’m not excited.

Once in a while I give myself these mini challenges in which I get rid of one thing I’m addicted to for 30 days. Today is my day 29 without Facebook.

It started back in 2012, when I caught myself mindlessly refreshing social network feeds every single second. At that time, I remember I wasn’t even reading the feeds anymore – my finger just sort of automatically swiped down within my social apps as a force of habit. It was time consuming, to say the least. So one day, I was just, hey you know what, I’m gonna get rid of you all. And I did. I let go of my four basic sins completely: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare.

4 days came and went, and then 14 days… You’d think that at day 30 I’d be so concerned about all the things I’ve missed out on in the online world. But it was quite the opposite. Being offline meant I had extra time and mind space to be more productive, read real books, write blog posts that are more than 140 characters long, and in general, ingest things that are of quality and value.

Back in college, one of my favorite English professors told us (something like this): We have such limited time. Once you start working, you’ll find that you won’t be reading books so much anymore – probably just newspapers in the morning, and then a book or two once in a while. It’s just different. So given that you can only read so many in your lifetime, you better choose only the best of the best, to make the most out of it.

That professor then gave us a list of all the classic titles that he recommends us to read in our lifetime. I don’t remember where that list is anymore, but I remember what he said. And except for the newspaper thing (I don’t read news, and I barely read anything on paper), he was definitely right. Even the bookworm in me hasn’t finished anything from cover to cover in the past couple of months.

So here’s my point: Let’s face it, 80% of the things we read on Facebook are junk. Okay, maybe I’m being too harsh. There are useful things on Facebook. Lately more and more stuff have been showing up on my feed and some of them are actually sensible. I get life articles, news, events, memes , selfies, the latest video scandals… Oh yeah,  most of those are junk. They fall right under the opposite category of things of quality and value.

Algorithmically speaking, we’re supposed to want to see everything that appears on our feed. But let’s face it too, most of the things that we want, and that bring us momentary pleasure, are not necessarily enriching.

Facebook is like eating junk food. It takes up time and mind space as much as junk food fills the belly with empty calories.

So I just made a decision. I don’t want empty calories. If I can only consume so much, I’d rather they’re worth my time.  And this is precisely the reason I get off of Facebook every once in a while. Maybe I don’t really get to read the  best of the best books ever, but I get the opportunity to mindfully choose what to ingest. 

5 replies on “Why Facebook is like Junk Food”

I couldn’t agree more, especially when I read the words your professor used to say. Guess what, you’re right. “Once you start working, you’ll find that you won’t be reading books so much anymore.” I had the same dilemma even if I bought a book last month.

Sadly, yes, Facebook can be really easily compared to junk food. I can attest to this, like I spent 6 hours in a PC rental only to ended up 4 of them logged into Facebook stuff instead of writing new postings and reading new articles (good thing, fb’s blocked in this office so I can deal with serious matters at all. LOL!).

That is a pretty extreme case of Facebook-ism, in my opinion. But it happens all. the. time. Everywhere. We simply don’t notice it because we do it so mindlessly already.

So, what do you think?

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