Facebook in its essence is the mother/father/god of social networking sites. Almost every person has their profile on facebook. I joined this site in 2013 (yes pretty late I know, but that’s what you get when you have strict parents). Needless to say, it slowly grew on me. I started adding people from school, college, and coaching classes. It was exciting at first, watching that tiny red icon indicates new notifications was thrilling. Facebook provided a host of opportunities, from groups regarding research, internships, conferences, seminars, competitions, to pages devoted to specific colleges, their admission procedures, and more. Besides information, it also offered entertainment. This could be in the form of memes, jokes, videos, or simply stalking your friends and celebrity crushes.
So many positives right? No. facebook has another side to it. It starts affecting you negatively when you start comparing your life to those of others. It was in June 2015 that this side of facebook started to affect me. I started doing the inevitable, comparing and overthinking tiny things. I started judging people by the things they posted, and by doing so I realized that I was becoming very superficial. That needed to stop. So one day, without asking anyone for advice or suggestions, I googled ‘how to deactivate your FB account’ and did the same.
The first week was very tough as I realised I was quite addicted to that site. It felt similar to what I can assume is the process of detoxing. I had to force myself to delete the app from my phone and not visit the site on my laptop. Once the first week passed, the subsequent days seemed to get easier. Shortly after deactivating I went on a trip with some friends, and that helped a lot. I realised it was much more fun living in the moment than online. I had so much more free time that I could spend doing other things. I even ended up reading story books after what seemed like ages.
But alas, I couldn’t stay off facebook forever (clearly). Once I had gone a few months without it, I realized I was missing out on a lot of information and opportunities (especially research related, as that’s my field of interest). Slowly months passed, and college came to an end. Three years had passed by so quickly. Then I decided, it was time to join it again. After making several pros and cons lists with several friends, I told myself “ok, its time”. I couldn’t let my own issues prevent me from accessing the things that are necessary.
Finally, in May 2016, I opened the page on my laptop, stared at it for 15 minutes, typed my id and password, stared at it for another 15 minutes, then clicked ‘enter’. However, like many others, I have a tendency to look at the negatives more than the positives (I’m trying to change that I swear). So some of the measures I’ve undertaken to prevent myself from sinking into the same low that leads to deactivating previously involves: not having the app on my phone, going online only once, or maximum twice a day, and not comparing myself to anyone else.
All in all, I would like to underline the fact that all social networking sites have their advantages. It is only when we start interpreting and perceiving them in a negative light that they start posing as disadvantages. It is important to deal with these things and take them in our stride. It should be an addition to your day and not the whole day itself, after all, moderation is key.