Four Reasons Facebook is Like a Drug

I have never been into drugs, but I know a few things about them.

  • They require a lot of resources
  • They make you temporarily feel good
  • They make you temporarily act like someone you are not
  • If you don’t stop taking them, they will make you miserable

People are developing a love-hate relationship with Facebook; I know I am. While it is one of the most revolutionary inventions since the telephone, there are surprisingly few good reasons to have an account. I’ll explain.

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Drugs Take A Lot of Resources

Facebook is free! While Facebook does not charge a fee to users, it takes something much more valuable and scarce today: time. The truth is, one half of over a billion users login every day for an average session of 20 minutes. That’s over 150,000 hours OR 17.36 years. Yeah. Per day.

In fact, an article I read recently advocated that people delete their Facebook accounts in order to free up 35 hours per month. Think of what you could accomplish instead of keeping up with your “friends.” You could do that thing you always wanted to do like play the piano or learn a second language. These stats alone were enough to make me beg the question: why am I on Facebook?

Drugs Make You Temporarily Feel Good

Facebook is a happy, joyous place where people celebrate the greatest things in life. I got a Facebook in 2006 when it was only college students so the greatest things in life have changed from toga parties and homecoming to babies and new cars. Nevertheless, the point is that everyone controls his or her projected, digital self-image.

It’s great.

It’s so great, in fact, that some days I wonder: are those people real?

Drugs Make You Act Like Someone You Are Not

I have several Facebook friends who I’m also friend with in real life (weird, right?) who are absolutely miserable, but post the happiest pictures and statuses every day. Facebook is competitive. If you post a picture of your car, it better be a nice car. If you just got promoted and now get to work 60 hours a week instead of 50, you better let the world know how great it is. A lot on social media has a very positive spin on it, which is great for personal branding, but there are some additional outcomes. If you like your truth served cold and want to get to the heart of this issue fast, check out this post on why social media makes everyone seem better than they are.

If You Don’t Stop, Drugs Will Make You Miserable

Did you know that Health.com, Huffington Post, and Time have all published articles about how Facebook causes depression? As it turns out, being someone you are not around a lot of other people who are trying to be someone they are not keeps you from developing real connections and meaningful relationships. In the meantime, your personal information is being guarded poorly as it is farmed out to an ever-increasing number of applications. Facebook has a fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder equity after all, and they aren’t doing it by selling ads on one of the less effective advertising platforms on the Internet today. But that’s a topic for another post.

In summary, I encourage you to consider how you spend your time. Is Facebook really as bad for you as doing drugs? Maybe not, but 35 hours a month is almost an entire workweek. Spend your time well, and don’t obsess over everyone else’s lives online.