Why Facebook and other Social Networks are unhealthy (part I)

Why Facebook and other Social Networks are unhealthy (part I)

Facebook is an extension, not a tool (it could be a tool, but people usually don’t use it that way). A tool is an instrument we use to make things. An extension is how we project ourselves into things that surround us (cars, television, phones, gadgets, and so forth.)

As an extension, people just get lost in it. Facebook makes you waste your time. 99% of the content on Facebook is useless and if you’re looking for something useful you’ve got to go through that 99% of garbage, which makes you waste even more time. If you’re not looking for any interesting stuff, then you’re wasting your time in the first place.

Facebook doesn’t reunite. Sure, I’ve been able to find some people I used to know twenty years ago. We’ve accepted our contact with each other. That was it. If you’re actually looking for an old friend, there are still other ways. I once have been able to do it simply via traditional mail.

What people actually achieved with Facebook is getting lazier. They simply type a name and that’s it. We were used to looking for someone using a search engine, the difference is you get a lot more in return than just a Facebook page.

People could start publishing their own content, and anyone had for the first time in the entire human history the unique chance to become a content creator. But look at what we’ve got. Tons of posts about vacations; what people are doing minute-by-minute; their position on a map; what they’re having for breakfast, and so forth, up to extreme situations where someone writes is going to kill themselves and nobody really cares. Although still, someone likes it.

Yes, at least Facebook is proof that new technology doesn’t turn people into a creative genius with a snap of a finger.

One could argue that it is not the tool that’s bad itself, it’s how people use it. Let me quote McLuhan:

[…] a few years ago, General David Sarnoff made this statement: “We are too prone to make technological instruments the scapegoats for the sins of those who wield them. The products of modern science are not in themselves good or bad; it is the way they are used that determines their value.
That is the voice of the current somnambulism. Suppose we were to say […] “Firearms are in themselves neither good nor bad; it is the way they are used that determines their value.” That is, if the slugs reach the right people firearms are good.”

Goodbye useless piece of software.

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