Is Facebook Good or Bad? – Comparison

The two articles I looked up to do this assignment are about a specific type of social network – Facebook – where one argues that Facebook is making us miserable and the other argues that Facebook should not make us feel miserable.

The first article is called “Facebook is making us miserable” and was published by Daniel Gulati. In this article, the author makes a lot of points on how Facebook is making us miserable. He claims that his observations on other people’s comments and reactions to posts have shown that Facebook is a major contributor to career anxiety and that the hyper-sharing going on all the time is threatening our senses of happiness.
He points out that the fact that people tend to share only the positive stuff or good news and not the negative stuff or bad news that goes on in their lives is creating competition – where their friends or acquaintances on Facebook will then feel the need to share something good as well – and comparison. Gulati also make a claim that the social media is fundamentally altering our sense of well-being, both personally and professionally.
Another negative aspect shown is that Facebook is fragmenting our time. Nowadays we are able to log in to our Facebook accounts in a range of different devices (e.g. our mobile phones, PCs, tablets, etc.) at any time; therefore we tend to spend more of our time online, checking other people’s posts and posting things, which takes a lot of our time and makes us less present/take our time away from our daily activities. And he complains that this makes our productivity decrease by saying that “the issue this constant “tabbing” between real-life tasks and Facebook is what economists and psychologists call “switching costs,” the loss in productivity associated with changing from one task to another.
The last cause he mentions is that Facebook causes decline in close relationships. Facebook is trying to add new features in (e.g. video calls) and technically speaking it should help to facilitate our daily communication, but, because of that, it is actually making people miss real-life opportunities to communicate and interact with others, “more deeply than Facebook could ever accommodate.”
Because of all of this points and claims, the author believes that Facebook is actually making us miserable and he advises people to block out designated time for Facebook, to invest more time in building off-line relationships and etc.

The second article I read is called “Facebook – Good or Bad?” and was published by Rafat Sarosh. In this article, the author makes a lot of points on how Facebook is not supposed to be making us feel miserable. First of all he points out that if people feel anxious, jealous, miserable or unhappy about other people’s posts showing moments of happiness, success or passion, then the problem is the people who feel this way (bad) towards this kind of news, not the people who are happy and content with something. He also argues that why can bad news be shared online, on news and worldwide yet good news has to be suppressed? He says on the article that “We are doing it all wrong. People who feel jealous, anxious from other happiness and vacation pictures need to be fixed, not the people who are happy.”
Sarosh also blame people for constant search of negative stuff online and he gives an example of a blog he wrote on “Why people belittle others” and he claims that this entry reached maximum hits.
Later on this article he makes a comparison between TV and Facebook, saying that when we do not like something that we are watching on TV we usually change the channel, therefore if we do not like something we see on Facebook we should do something about it, for example, if we do not like or feel somehow hurt about other people’s posts then we should delete, block or ignore them. “If you are stressing by the numbers of LIKES your friend got, then you will be stressed by your neighbor’s manicured lawn.  Please grow up, do not let your ego take the upper hand, be more loving and kind.”
He reaffirms that if you feel upset, anxious, or jealous about what somebody else has posted then the problem is with you not with the person or people who post them.
In the end he says that we should actually celebrate other people’s successes and joy, and be compassionate-beings.

Overall I think both articles were very good, they were both consistent and debated their points and opinions very well. I got a slight impression that the first article was more factual and that the second one contained more personal opinions. But my opinion is that Facebook should not be considered to be making us feel miserable, and I agree with the concept that “People who feel jealous, anxious from other happiness and vacation pictures need to be fixed, not the people who are happy.”, I mean, if a person really feels psychologically affected – where their anxiety levels rise up, they feel sad, jealous or even depressed – then they should definitely follow Daniel Gulati’s recommendations: to block out designated time for Facebook, and invest more time in building off-line relationships.
I believe in the freedom of speech, people should be entitled to share their thoughts, feelings and opinions, and as long as they are not offensive, or used as a form of prejudice against somebody else or a specific targeted group, they should not feel bad or guilty for sharing good news or a important occasion/important happening. If we don’t agree with something (in this case people posting happy news and happy life events) we should try to avoid doing that ourselves, but let people do what they think is right and what make them happy. And if we dislike something that is constantly happening, and it is making us feel bad, we should then avoid looking for those things. But if the problem really is that we do not feel good about our lives then I strongly believe that we should re-think about what we are doing (or not doing) that is making us feel this way. How can we improve? What would make us feel happy? Look for these things and try to do something about it, maybe just a small change, or a bigger one, maybe we just need to look for something different, something new. Whatever that may be, find it. Try to do something that make you feel happy. Everybody can accomplish that, the power is within ourselves, and only we can change that. So if Facebook is good or bad for us? – I don’t know. The only right answer here is doing what makes you happy.

 

Links to articles:
“Facebook is making us miserable” – http://blogs.hbr.org/2011/12/facebook-is-making-us-miserabl/
“Facebook – Good or Bad?” – http://rsarosh.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/facebook-good-or-bad/

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