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A Fictitious World of Facebook

There are 665,000,000 are active Facebook users in the world. Photograph: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images

By Maryam Hedayat | | 22 Feb 2014

What! You don’t have a Facebook account? Hameed was almost shocked to death when he came to know that his friend Ahmad did not have a Facebook account. As if not having a Facebook account is a crime, or his being educated is of no use.

It is not only Hameed’s thinking but almost every one of us believes the same.

In fact, Facebook has now become so much an integral part of our time that life seems to be impossible without it. Assumed the accessibility and ease of use of Facebook whenever and wherever we are, it is no wonder more and more people are dependent upon the popular social networking site.

Facebook is the largest online social networking service. It was founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The founders had initially limited the website's membership to Harvard students, but later expanded it to colleges and eventually to anyone aged 13 and over.

The newly released 2013 ‘State of the Data Center' info graphic states that 665,000,000 are active Facebook users in the world. This evidently shows that one out of every nine human on this planet is an active user of Facebook.

Many people ponder, what is wrong if we use Facebook frequently as a means of entertainment, or as a way to relieve our stress? Well, there is nothing wrong in it.

However, when Facebook activities start interfering with our everyday life and become disadvantageous to our daily functioning at work, college or in school, we might have a problem.

Although Facebook was created with the perception of allowing students and young adults to share their common interests, but with time it has lost its true essence. Started often as a time pass, it becomes an addiction which is annoying at times.

Most of the time we login to our system to do some productive works but end up with wasting of our precious time on Facebook by just updating statuses, posting photos, commenting and liking posts.

The major disadvantage of Facebook is that it has a very narrow border line between preferred pass time and addiction. One starts using it initially to catch friends and ultimately ends up with a lot of unnecessary time in playful quizzes and exploring various Facebook applications.

The most significant of all in recent times is that the Facebook has completely changed the impression of "friendship". 

In real, friendship is a relationship in which, involves the sharing of mutual interests, trust and the care for each other in each and every aspect of life.

In contrast, friendships created on social networking sites are often meaningless and worthless.

Website like Facebook are geared heavily toward creating new friends, and the amount of friends someone has is displayed right on his/her profile page for everybody to see. Nobody wants to be seen as only having a few friends, so in the interest of popularity, people set out to become friends with anyone and everyone.

Thus within a matter of time, users can establish hundreds if not thousands of friendships. It may look like they have a ton of friends, but they are actually associates, or overwhelmed followers. A friend used to be someone who you knew well and carried affection for but today a friend is no more than a person that practices the same social site as we do.

However as people get used to communicating on Facebook via messaging, sharing photos and posts, commenting and liking others posts and updates etc., it may come to a point when they get more comfortable socializing online than offline. They become over-reliant on Facebook to fulfill their social needs and may start sacrificing the time spent on real-life with family and friends.

Sometimes we waste more of our time just thinking about what we should type for our status update, which photo should we upload for profile picture. When we have decided what to update and posted it, we eagerly anticipate how others will respond to it.

After which, we get restless while we wait for others to 'comment' or ‘like’what we have posted and so we just keep on checking and re-checking our Facebook profile to see if there is any new notifications. To some extent, we are all concerned over how we project ourselves to the rest of the world, even when it comes to our online existence.

Most of us have seen friends in our network who almost never fail to appear on our newsfeed each time we log on to our profile. It could be some status update, check-in, posting of their photos and such. Their posts tend to be on very ordinary and silly matters, such as, “Breakfast at 5:30 a.m.”, “On way to office”, "going to sleep”, “tomato growing in my back yard”and so on.

Although Facebook was advertised as staying connected, but now there is no deep connections, instead it is about what I have, you have, and what our friends and relatives are up to. It is about creating a false-self-image that leaves us desperate and distressed. Likewise Facebook has given rise to gossiping as well, as people have found an easy way to get updates about others personal lives.

Frankly speaking, when someone leaves a comment on Facebook, it is more or less seen as an obligation to comment back as soon as possible. People who are addicted become restless or troubled if they are prohibited from using Facebook.

Likewise most of the people just keep on sharing quotes, Duas, religious sayings and photos, and Hadith without verifying whether the Du’a or the Hadith they are sharing on Facebook are how much authentic and factual, or how much contextual and relevant. They just keep sharing in order to reflect their own sacredness of heart without sincerity of mind to educate the audience. In fact, through this many people try to pretend themselves how religious they are.

In this background of ignorance about authenticity of a particular Hadith if they share on Facebook, they are likely to commit more sins than earning blessings from the Almighty. They can cause more misconceptions in the mind than they can lead the way.

For the purpose of gaining attention and appreciation, Facebook users feel the desire to promote themselves to their idealistic image. However, in the virtual world of online networking, people are free to create a separate lifestyle that deviates from their true daily life.

Thus users express themselves in almost whatever way they desire. Hence information, pictures, and other content are all carefully chosen to create a desired personal identity. Every profile is carefully planned and presented, Picture selection is one of the most primary ways used to self-promote an individual. Usually done to make themselves look more appealing, users will only share photos of themselves where they look no less than perfect.

Apparently Facebook provides people a great opportunity to lie. If everyone really lived the lives they present on social media, what a great world this would be! Assessing from most Facebook pages, people are cherished, glad, relatively cool, and really satisfied and happy with life. They present themselves as they desire they were, or maybe as they nearly are, but almost never as they actually are.

Using online networking leads to several consequences that affect us in our daily lives. Users often develop narcissistic qualities because they spend focusing on much time on how they should portray themselves. Time consumption is also a major consequence of online networking.

All in all site like Facebook have been structured to encourage increased participation all the while creating a sense of curiosity of what others are doing at any point in their lives. Online networking can become an addiction and a distraction to the more important things in life.

Well! I don’t wish to be categorical whether using Facebook is unproductive or not. That is entirely left to individuals to assess the psychological damage a social networking site like Facebook does to the harmonious development of an individual personality, affecting the rhythmical balance of the growing self in a man or a woman, and so on. What is to keep in mind is that Facebook in itself has gone far beyond its genuine objectives for which it was created, rather Facebook has become an 'objective' of life in itself for majority of its users.


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