The Facebook Addiction, Is it worth it?

I admit, I spend more time on the computer than the average person, but it is not on Facebook. There is just too much more to do other than to be consumed by the social antics of others and the raising of virtual animals and crops.

I had actually signed up for an account, early on, to explore the service and to share my blog articles, but it just did not connect with me. Please do not take offense, I’m just a computer guy that knows that there is a whole other world on the internet outside of Facebook and that a personal computer can do a whole lot more than raise virtual crops and animals at Farmville.

Facebook Addiction

I have come to the conclusion that most people now primarily use their computer, at home (and probably at work), to access Facebook so that they can communicate with their friends and become part of a real-world soap opera.

Some Facebook Facts
[Source: Facebook]

More than 500 million active users

50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day

Average user has 130 friends

People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)

Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events

Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month

More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.

I suppose sharing updates of events occurring in one’s life is important in a close family circle; however, when that sharing extends out to a virtual reality group of “so called” friends that continue to populate your social connection then I can see where it can become an actual addiction and a unsafe one at that. Your privacy and even your safety can be compromised, as a result. The more information you put out there, the higher the risk and the more overwhelming it can become to manage that information. Just remember that Facebook is a cloud based service that is managed (and controlled) on the internet level.  Once you put it out there, it is out there and there is no taking it back.

Like in real life, those virtual friends can turn on you in a heartbeat or will use information you post to spread gossip. For example, I was at work and an employee approached me about another employee, who is in a position of responsibility, and stated, “you should see how they are dressed on Facebook”. In another instance, an employee who should have been working was Facebooking.  What they forgot was that one of their connected friends was the boss.

Another thing to really think about, is that the information you are posting is like pieces to a puzzle. With enough pieces (about you), a profile is developed that is used for advertising purposes. Think about it…  How do you think Facebook makes their money?  It is through advertising. The information you are putting out there is being collected, behind the scenes, in one form or another, for advertising purposes.

Then there are the scammers, the spammers and the the malware that makes its’ rounds on Facebook.  Remember, where the people gather, the cybercriminal will prey.

To me, it is not worth all this…

It is not that I am anti-social, it is that I am concerned; especially for the younger generation being exposed to this type of social networking. They are being lead to believe it is Ok to tell all, when in fact telling it all and exposing ones’ inner self may not be for the best.

Maybe I am missing something here. I would love to here your comments about Facebook, pros and cons…

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24 Responses to The Facebook Addiction, Is it worth it?

  1. techpaul says:

    I will be pointing my readers to this thoughtful, and thought-provoking article. People need to see this, (IMHO) and stop and consider… is it worth it? Am I “addicted”?

    I understand there’s a movie out …

    • Ramblinrick says:

      TechPaul,

      I’ve had my thoughts on this for quite awhile and was initially reluctant to post on it… In a world where we are constantly preached to about protecting our privacy, I am seeing people giving it away.

      As always, your comments are worth their weight in gold.

      Rick

  2. g says:

    I feel like an outcast from the Techpaul, Bill Mullins, and Rick team but I love FB! I have reconnected with literally hundreds of friends I haven’t been in contact for over 30 years. It is so cool to see someone that you remember as being 13 years old, 18 years old, etc. I went to 3 grade schools, two highschools, and 3 colleges and was involved in politics so I know quite a few people.

    That being said, I am very careful about what type of personal info I have on there. No birthday, no address, no phone number, and no email. It’s amusing to me about the amount of information people do put on FB. I warn them constantly but some are just going to have to learn the hard way.

    All in all, social media is a wonderful thing but like most things on the net, one must be careful about how they go about using it. Hold on a minute, someone just poked me and I must poke them back. lol!

    BTW, off topic but make sure to visit 27b/6 – new article is out. I laughed so hard I’m crying!!

    • Ramblinrick says:

      G,

      Thank you for the well written and thought out comment. I can see that you have taken the precautions and actually have provided the readers with a good model to follow. I just read on MSNBC where a mother is paying her daughter $300 per month to stay away from Facebook so that she will study.

      Rick

  3. Susan says:

    I have to say that I enjoy FB. I have created groups and am very cautious of who is included in these groups. FB saves me time and energy. Here are a few examples of the groups and how I use them:
    I had a major surgery and was confined to my house for 8 weeks recuperating. I kept friends, church family and co-workers up to date on my progress. Instead of sending numerous emails and answering questions over and over I was able to ‘converse’ with everyone at once.
    I have a family group where we share family pics, event planning and happenings.
    I have a group of girlfriends that share recipes and support each other.
    And of course I have a group of school alumni that I would completely have lost contact if it weren’t for FB.
    Sometimes a kind word, prayer request, vent, or someone empathizing with me makes a real difference in my day.
    I also have my own set of rules: I don’t say anything negative about anyone, don’t spread gossip, and don’t say anything that I wouldn’t want my mother to read…lol
    Everyone has to make their own decision on whether FB is the right venue for social networking. It works for me.

    • Ramblinrick says:

      Susan,

      Couple of “Good” points you made… 1) I don’t say anything negative about anyone, don’t spread gossip, and don’t say anything that I wouldn’t want my mother to read…lol and 2) …one more thing. I don’t think FB is a tool for children.

      I can see where the social interaction, can be a positive and uplifting experience AND APPEARS you are using Facebook in the manner which it was intended. Just be diligent in checking your privacy settings. I just read an article, while researching this one, where Facebook makes changes to the site on a regular basis and during those periods of the changeover, the settings can default back to the original settings. Also be careful, of phlishing links and malware.

      As always, great to see you here…

      Rick

  4. Susan says:

    …one more thing. I don’t think FB is a tool for children.

  5. Kelly says:

    I’m a FB user although it has a pretty low priority in my life. While grateful for having “found” people I’ve lost touch with over the years I still have a hard time getting past the narcisstic nature of it – seriously, does anyone care what I had for breakfast? Also feel it’s a breeding ground for regression (keep in mind FB was originally intended for late teens/early 20’s users) and misinformation – especially with politics and religion from those who mistake sound bites for truth.
    Totally don’t understand the whole Farmville-kind of addiction and won’t use all of the crazy apps because it’s not worth the risk of viruses.
    Totally surprised how freely some post their comings and goings with not knowing who all is seeing it and knowing how easy it is to find addresses on the ‘net.
    Maybe I’m just too private a person to fully appreciate FB, but especially after being approached by a local politician (whom by the way I helped vote OUT this past election) at a fundraiser earlier this year and having him say, “You’re Kelly…… I’ve seen your picture on Facebook.”, I’ll keep my privacy! (I believe my response to that was pretty much, “Hmmmmm….” prior to turning around and walking away….)

    • Ramblinrick says:

      Kelly,

      Very well written and that mention that FB was originally intended for the younger audience (guess that means we’re old – LOL). Also, great example where someone, out of the blue, was able to make a connection with you as a result of an online posting.

      Rick

      P.S. Have that blog up yet?

  6. Hi Rick,

    I have never used facebook nor will I ever use it. It seems to me it is just an information gathering, revenue generator for it’s owner, who incidentally doesn’t appear to be the most honest of people, judging by how he treated his ‘friends’.

    When a company gets so big so quickly, (the same with Google) a person has to wonder why, especially when they sell nothing nor manufacture anything. After all, we all know the old adage, ‘information is power’. Why help them control us?

    Paul

    • Ramblinrick says:

      Paul,

      Great minds think alike… Talking about the rapid rise of Facebook; I just recently read that Facebook is now the number one most accessed site on the internet. Recently surpassed Google… It is definitely making someone very wealthy… Ingenious on their part; however, the end user is paying a price when it comes to sacrificing their personal privacy.

      Thanks for commenting…

      Rick

  7. worddreams says:

    I’ve heard lots of people reconnect with friends on FB–as G says. I use it only for my business. Like you say, Rick, I’m wary of someone getting enough pieces of the puzzle. Part of my techie-ness is I’m a techno-thriller writer (unpublished so far). A common plot device among writers of my genre is how the Bad Guys use FB, Linked In, My Space, etc., to find out enough about a person to pose as a friend and get inside someone’s radar. As such, you’re right on with your concerns.

  8. Bill Mullins says:

    Rick,

    The “bad guys” and how they misuse Facebook is a concern to me. But, how the “good guys” use Facebook is of equal concern.

    I have many contacts in the law enforcement community and they love Facebook. Talk about putting your head in the Lions mouth! If people only knew!

    Bill

  9. [...] Folks, every so often there comes along an article I would like you, Dear Reader, to read. Today’s “quick reading reco” is just such an article — The Facebook Addiction, Is it worth it? [...]

  10. Ramblinrick says:

    Bill,

    Very good point here… We’re looking at the bad buys; when in fact your information can be used, just as well, by the good guys. AND, you are so right, IF PEOPLE ONLY KNEW!

    Rick

  11. pochp says:

    I’m afraid that there will be always lots of people who want to socialize and can afford to waste time. Not all of them are to blame. It’s their disregard for safety that’s scary.

  12. roger says:

    Whilst I have no interest in the social side of things, I do have a FB account, using a name invented for the purpose, tied to an email account not used for anything else (the benefits of so many free, legitimate, email accounts) only because so many organizations nowadays demand to be “liked” for various giveaways and such like.

    • Ramblinrick says:

      Roger,

      Great idea… Use a fictitious name to explore Facebook and to use it for other purposes.

      Thanks for sharing your idea and for commenting.

      Rick

      • Bill Mullins says:

        Doesn’t really matter if the name is fictitious, or not – although I understand Roger’s objective. Tracking users on the Internet is a science that can include the use of 50 or more variables.

        Unless safeguards are implemented at the Browser level, nobody escapes the data collection, and real identity trap.

        Bill

  13. roger says:

    @Bill Mullins, I think we may be at cross purposes here.If anyone is willing to go to the trouble, and has the skill, then they can track me, and most other people, I should imagine, and for those I have my security programs. My main purpose with the false name and the FB only email address is to preserve my privacy from the more casual searcher (in trawling the web I have come across very few people with my name, making me fairly easy to find if I should use it on any, wide open, site) and avoid any more spam than I already get on my main email accounts. The only mail that ever gets opened at the FB address is that which I am specifically expecting, and there is no connection between that address and any of my others.

    • Bill Mullins says:

      @Roger – I quite agree with your setup on Facebook. In fact, I’ve had a similar Facebook account for years, in order to keep in the loop.

      You’re an experienced user and very aware of Internet realities, but an average user is less familiar – and so, my comment.

      It seems we agree that a false name will not necessarily assure anonymity. Not to belabor the point, but according to the Wall Street Journal, this morning, even privacy settings on Facebook are not enough to ensure privacy.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304772804575558484075236968.html

      • roger says:

        Bill,
        thanks for the link, very interesting, of course it does beg the question: At what point does “Sorry” not cut it anymore?

  14. As a self-proclaimed Internet addict (I can definitely say I’m online more than eight hours a day sometimes), I definitely go to sites like Facebook and usually enjoy it. However, I really do agree with what you’re saying, Rick.

    I myself would probably be considered a part of the “younger” generation that you mentioned in your post, but I have gone through my Facebook, fixed up the privacy settings, and have since then been wary of what sort of things I should and should not post just in case. Numerous times, I’ve seen my friends post things that I would think would be too personal to post on such a site as Facebook. Anyone could find them. I would think that they would do something about their privacy settings at least – for instance, limiting who can access their contact information – yet if I were to log out and view their profiles as a guest, everything they post is available to me and anyone else out there who wants to take a look.

    I’m pretty happy about discovering this blog of yours, Rick. You have yourself a new reader!

    • Ramblinrick says:

      Amanda,

      I am very happy that your found my blog, as well. Also, I noticed you added “What’s On My PC” to your blogroll at “Tied Up at the (World Wide) Web”. Appears that you just started your blog and have an article posted that is titled, “Internet, how do I love thee?”. I encourage you to continue to post to your blog. It is hard work, but can be very rewarding and is a real exercise of one’s mind. Let me know if you ever want to feature one of your articles on my blog, as a guest writer. For example, your most recent, I could post here with full credit to you and linkbacks to your blog.

      Keep up the great work!

      Rick

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