Why You Should Not De-Activate That Facebook Account Yet (Even Though You Want To)

There could be millions of reasons why you feel you should quit Facebook. You keep seeing the same content you saw three months ago. You are tired of posts from that stranger, who constantly posts some political diatribe, not to mention you have no idea what this individual is doing in your friend’s list in the first place! It can be because of those countless posts of ‘Hit like if you feel proud/good/sad/lonely.’ You wish to see less of those sexist posts about ungrateful girls and ‘nice men’ or those posts that generalize the entire male gender because they have decided to talk about women’s problems and oppression (let’s not even get near what some Male Rights Activists have to say). Facebook, for you, has ceased to be fun.

Indeed, taking time away from Facebook can actually have many positive consequences. It is suggested that viewing Facebook can be linked to many mental health concerns like depression and low self-esteem, and also contribute to poor quality of social relationships as people spend increasingly fewer hours socializing face-to-face. This may be due to what psychologists call ‘social comparing’. You feel jealous of your friend’s supposedly perfect life you see in that digital screen and feel bad after comparing that with the mundane life you are living. This is compounded by the fact that people post stories they know will garner positive attention, often leaving out the less glamorous parts of their life.

You are likely not to know half the people on your friend’s list; they may be your friend’s friend’s friend. Cutting ties with people you rarely interact with wouldn’t have much of a positive consequence because it is exactly these kinds of relationships that give the most benefits - be it information about current events, job opportunities, or just better life opportunities. In network theory terms, this is referred to as ‘strength of weak ties’, proposed by the American sociologist, Mark Granovetter. According to this, the people you interact with more are called strong ties, while weak ties constitute acquaintances.

Weak ties interlink various strong ties and bring different opinions and information that can’t be provided by strong ties, due to their tendency to be homogenous and containing similar information. In Facebook terms, the advantage may come from people and closed groups that post valuable information, from obscure places to eat, product reviews, places to shop, to internships and job vacancies. They provide a wider audience for marketing about the new store you are launching or a blog that you have written (like this one). This is important in an era where people increasingly get information online and social marketing has huge potential. So all things considered, you should probably switch on your notifications option and visit Facebook whenever you feel the need for it. 

Indumathi S