What began with meaningful purposes to help connect friends around the world has turned into a money machine that misuses user’s data daily, Facebook has seen its fair share of backlash. Social media is relatively new and with that comes trial and error. It has been quick to become a fabric of today’s society, making it extremely hard to avoid, especially for me, a college student in their early 20’s. I use different platforms in different ways, utilizing Facebook in particular for my sorority and other college related groups. Over the course of the past three years I have come to face the truth of what Facebook has become, manipulative and secretive.
In chapter 7 of Cal Newport’s book, Digital Minimalism, he talks about how Facebook presents “itself as a foundational technology, like electricity or mobile telephony- something that everyone should just use, as it would be weird if you didn’t” (Newport, 218). This is cultural need to use their software keeps the eyes and interests of billions of people. Because they rack up so much revenue from their mobile advertising, the emphasis on making their software vital at all times was important to their company. Their mobile app allows users to access Facebook when they’re out or away from their computer, which makes them more money. In recent years, users have used Facebook for possible benefits, rather than specific and meaningful purposes. Newport emphasizes the importance of using these sites for particular activities. For example, I first created a Facebook account and used it every minute that I came home from school. I used it for no real purpose, other than to be on Facebook. I saw who was online, randomly poked people, posted random statuses, and waited around for others to post. As I shifted into a high school, it became a little more tunnel vision. I would post albums for family members to see or to catch up with old friends. As I transitioned to college, Facebook began to have a meaningful purpose to me. Like I stated earlier, I use Facebook almost exclusively to receive updates from my sorority and to receive invitations to events.
Circling back to Newport’s point, by taking part in the attention resistance movement, we as a
society can help others break their attention away from Facebook and other sites
that are abusing our data. We cannot fully remove social media, but we can
tailor how we use it. I have been trying to focus on what purposes I have for
visiting certain apps and sites. What am I looking to accomplish? How can I
find that focus before slipping into endless scrolling? I urge you to take a
deep dive into your social media habits. How can you use it to enhance your
professional and personal life rather than as a time filler?