Why I Have Facebook Fatigue

When Facebook finally goes publicit’ll be a big moment for Silicon Valley, not only because it may be the biggest tech IPO ever but also because it will validate the social network’s staggering growth to date. When I joined, it was a barebones college-only online community where we could talk about courses, dorm life, and stalk that one hot classmate in East Asian History. Now it’s the Internet site people spend the most time on, with 800 million active users from ages 13 up uploading 250 milion photos a day.
In the U.S., the average user spends eight hours a month on Facebook; the self-admitted addict I am likely clocks that much in a week. To quote myself, Facebook eventually became “a way of life — a heady, nonstop road I’ve traveled along for years, where street signs are replaced with dynamic real-time news feeds, and my fragile ego can be crushed or swelled with pride depending on the number of people who deign to like or, even better, comment on my posts.” Heck, for many Facebook practically is the Internet.
-via JP Mangalindan, FORTUNE

I am blessed and cursed with a line of work that requires me to constantly read news and disseminate it. A necessary (and oftentimes evil) component of this requirement is constant connectivity to social media channels including the animal that is Facebook.

This Fortune article is so honest, poignant and sadly, true. 8 hours of Facebook? That’s a full day’s work. That’s an entire night’s sleep. That’s valuable time I could be spending with actual people or doing things I enjoy. I think it’s remarkable, but so tragic how Facebook has become an integral part of our lives because it has evolved into a platform I honestly don’t like that much.

The ability to converge your blog posts and your photos and your Twitter updates and your GPS location into one enormous, distracting feed is impressive, but is it necessary? It’s exhaustive. I like using Facebook the way it was originally intended to be used – to keep in touch with people. But I’ve started resenting how it has ultimately become a platform for oversharing and ultimately a huge time-suck.

I hate when people reference Facebook in real-time – in real conversations that take place outside of the digital realm. I’ve read plenty of soft news stories about long-lost couples reuniting or people locating stolen items via Facebook, but what about jealous ex-husbands harassing their previous victims from prison? Or idiot moms who shake their babies to death for interrupting their games of Farmville? Does Mark Zuckerberg feel remorse every time we hear about another young teen committing suicide after being relentlessly cyberbullied?

I’ve never met Mark Zuckerberg, but he seems like a douchebag. If he’s anything like the character Jesse Eisenberg beautifully portrayed – and I imagine he is to some extent – he’s probably arrogant, rich and too smart for his own good. But is he friendless? I remember reading TIME’s Person of the Year article profiling Zuckerberg in 2010; and though articulate and polite, he seemed to lack a general understanding of privacy or how relationships and friendships really work.

I doubt I’ll ever delete my account. I’ve invested too much time into the habit, I use it for work and sadly, it’s how several of my peers primarily communicate. But I definitely identify with Mangalindan. I’m tired of Facebook and it annoys the hell out of me. I can only wish that this IPO will somehow improve the user experience, but I have a feeling that this attention-hungry, cash-generating animal will just turn into a monster.

(I do, however, think Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross created an outstanding soundtrack for The Social Network)


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