We have all had the feeling of Facebook being something both annoying and intrusive yet at the same time so addictive and entertaining. All of us at some point try to remember what life was before this social network took it over and can’t seem to come up with a memory but we can all recognise the detrimental affect it has had upon our lives and even emotional health.
Gehl’s central argument in his article is about Facebook and the way it’s changed our lives in terms of viewing privacy, what we aim for on social media (which translates into how we feel in life) and how our activity and information is taken and used from the social network. He highlights the issues with our compulsive need to share and have attention on the activity we post on our Facebook profiles, popularity being determined by ‘likes and friends’ and society losing its sense of what privacy really means.
I agree with Gehl’s argument as I’ve felt the same way many times before about the monster that is Facebook. Facebook is a sense of pressure, a new kind of pressure that we all feel regardless if we want to admit it to ourselves or not. As an active participant, you want to show people what you are up to so that it seems your life is more interesting than theirs- it’s a competition whichever way you spin it. More likes = more winning. Privacy on Facebook is an issue however, knowing when someone has read your messages, seeing if they’re online on mobile or web, knowing that they’re online if they haven’t responded to a text or call – it’s all pressure and jealousy waiting to happen. And somewhat a form of stalking – admit it, we’ve all Facebooked stalked and continue to do it. I have thought about deleting my Facebook before but having known what’s like and having that instant communication with others, it’s an addiction that is almost impossible to break – I know I’ll be back on the site before the day is up.
Then there are those rare individuals who have Facebook but rarely if ever post anything at all but you see them online all the time. Those rare people who can have social media and not get addicted but use it for convenience sake of connection with others over chat and messaging.
Facebook creates more problems than it solves and is the reason it has such a love hate relationship with society. The number of relationships and friendships it has ruined is astounding- but that leads us to question is it the website or people to blame for that, or both?
All in all, Gehl is very right in his isolation from the Facebook world. I know people who refuse to have a Facebook profile and are perfectly happy and functioning without it. It is a horrible crutch to those who do have it and much too banal and drama-packed to be worth anyone’s while. This being said with Facebook open in my browser, I wish I had the ability to remember how peaceful life was without this monstrosity of a website.