Whether you like it or not, Facebook is here to stay. What began at Harvard back in 2004 has since changed the world, completely revolutionizing the way humans interact with each other. In 2016, it is almost a necessity to be an active user of the site, which is used to organize social events, spread news, and stay in contact, as well as for a whole heap of business-related actions, like promoting a brand or networking with clients. You can’t deny that Facebook is now integral in the day-to-day running of our society (seriously, imagine eating a chia pudding and not uploading a picture of it), but what are the costs and benefits? The site has been a game changer for communication and maintaining friendships, but has it helped bullies to torment their victims and bosses to stalk their employees? Here are 15 ways Facebook is the best and worst.
15You Can Keep In Touch With People Who Live Far Away
One of the undeniably amazing things about Facebook is that it lets you keep in touch with loved ones who don’t live near you. In the past, having close family members living on the other side of the country or even overseas was a cause for sadness, but nowadays, you can just hop online, send them an instant message and it’s like they’re right next door. No more out-of-control phone bills for long calls back to the motherland! Of course, nothing beats physically spending time with your relatives (assuming you actually like them), but Facebook, along with all other forms of modern technology and social media, helps to bridge that gap a little. Not only is contacting them easier, but you can follow what they’re doing and stay as involved with their lives as you want. Traveling abroad is easier too, now you know keeping in touch is that simple.
14You Have To Put In Time
While Facebook has made most things a lot more convenient, the phenomenon is actually a major distraction from other areas of life. First of all, there’s the fact that your own Facebook page does require a little time and effort to run. Lots of companies hire people to do that kind of thing for them. You’ve got to manage the photos you upload, sort out the despicable photos from Saturday night you were tagged in, respond to wall comments and instant messages, and that’s just the beginning. Cyber relationships are beginning to develop, outside the physical ones we already have, where huge importance is placed on who liked what and who mentioned who in the comment section of which meme, and quite frankly, real obligations in life are hard enough to keep track of. Whether you’re heavily involved or just a little bit so, Facebook is simply another task on your daily to-do list.
13You Can Keep Up With Celebrities
Famous people have definitely joined the rest of the world in adapting to social media. This might not seem like much of a big deal for those who couldn’t care less about the ins and outs of Hollywood, but for fans, it’s ground-breaking stuff. Once upon a time, you had to wait for a celebrity’s rep to make a comment on a scandal, or get all the details from unreliable newspaper articles that couldn’t verify diddly squat! But today, celebrities use their personal Facebook accounts to connect with fans and post statuses straight from the horse’s mouth. Really, fans would have speculated for months if One Direction hadn’t used Facebook to announce the departure of Zayn. No one’s saying that they’re the ones who actually do the typing or editing, but you can be sure that what goes on their personal Facebook account is a representation of their position on things!
12You Can’t Stay Super Private
The good thing is that practically everyone is on Facebook, so the mystery is very often removed from meeting someone new. The done thing now is to have a bit of a stalk when you anticipate meeting someone, and you learn so much without ever having to ask a question! The downside to this is that people can do the same to you. Even though your settings may be as private as possible, there are still some aspects of Facebook that you have little control over, like tagged photos. Sure, you can remove the tag, but you can’t always remove the photo. This makes things tricky when potential employers do a search and find more than you’d like them to. Posting photos from vacation might be great for your ego, but is it a good idea to let hundreds of people know that there’s currently nobody at your house? Probably not.
11You Can Find Lost Friends
We’ve already mentioned that Facebook is super helpful for staying in touch with people who live far away, but what about those who live around the corner but you haven’t seen for ten years? Getting in contact online through Facebook can be a great way to start things up again, and perhaps resurrect those relationships that fizzled out before their time. Even if you’re not interested in rekindling anything, Facebook can be very useful in quenching your curiosity about what that person is doing now, or if you’ve still got any mutual friends that do keep in touch. Organizing reunions and groups for nostalgic reasons has never been easier, and you never know who’s going to come back into your life and make a positive change. You might not have time to preserve an old and dying relationship out in the physical world, but Facebook allows you to do it easily online.
10You Can Get Obsessed
We all know at least one person who has their eyes glued to their smartphone every time you guys get together, and you can’t see why they just didn’t stay home. Unfortunately, as fitting as Facebook is for everyday life in 2016, it can also be extremely addictive. You can sit there for hours looking through memes, reading fights in the comment section of controversial statuses, and trying to work out the occupation of the girl who commented on bae’s profile picture, but then it becomes an obsession. It’s already been mentioned that there’s a minimum amount of time and effort required just to maintain your page, but if you want to get completely lost in the world of Facebook, how is that going to impact the rest of your life? It’s sadly not unheard of for people to let real life experiences slip by in the name of prioritizing cyber land.
9You Can Network And Plan Events
The wonderful thing about Facebook is that its presence has opened a massive door to the world of marketing and networking. The business world is changing, and Facebook now gives customers and clients a certain level of power by being able to publicly review and complain on a company’s page. But businesses have an advantage too, as they can interact with potential consumers and build their client base by promoting their work on their page. These are opportunities that young entrepreneurs of the past would have scarcely dreamed about! Facebook has also revolutionized the world of event planning, where now the norm is to hold an event on the site and confirm attendance online. Gone are the days of wasted paper for party invitations to stick on the fridge, it seems. Facebook allows you to add whoever you want to your event and see who else is attending the party you’re on your way to.
8You See Trolls And Bullies
Bullies have been around since their victims had tails, but the way that they carry out their sad acts has changed substantially. Thanks to institutions like Facebook and other forms of social media, bullies now have a platform to go about their negative business without a consequence. Trolls or keyboard warriors are especially mean and brutal online, and often make the lives of the people they interact with on Facebook miserable. It doesn’t matter that in real life they’re not nearly as tough, because Facebook is where everybody hangs out now, and that’s where they feel the sting! Trolls can post hurtful images, say cruel things and harass other Facebook users, and even though there are rules in place to prevent this kind of thing, it’s difficult to hold people accountable when there’s such an opportunity for anonymity. At least playground bullies had a face and didn’t show up in your bed.
7You Can Socialize From Home
Some people might argue that this is one of the worst aspects of Facebook, but on behalf of all the lazy bones out there, or anybody plagued by a hint of social anxiety and a fear of awkwardness, we’re considering it a plus. Facebook allows you to socialize and build your relationships from the comfort of your own couch. There have been couples who’ve met through mutual friends on Facebook, and who chatted for months on Messenger before ever exchanging numbers! You can still have all the benefits of socializing with other humans, without the added discomfort. You know, if someone is bothering you, delete them. If they’re really intolerable, block away. Real life doesn’t give us such opportunities, so we should be thankful to Facebook for a current mingling culture that literally requires zero makeup. You obviously can’t hide forever, so just make sure your social skills don’t completely dwindle.
6You Can Get Things Wrong
It may not seem like much of a big issue, but completely communicating in written text rather than verbally means that it’s totally possible to miss the joke, take things the wrong way, and get offended when you don’t need to at all. Or even worse, be chill when something requires your attention. This is a problem that many forms of modern technology pose, and seems to have started as soon as we traded the telephone for the text. But Facebook comes with a whole other list of etiquette rules, and if you don’t quite grasp how things work entirely, you could open up room for some pretty awkward moments. Is it polite to like every photo that someone uploads, or is it stalkerish? Should you be offended if this person doesn’t like your status since you liked theirs? Unfortunately, with Facebook, you never know when it is personal, and when it’s not.
5You Can Raise Awareness
Just like businesses can promote their products to customers and artists can promote their work to consumers, Facebook also gives users the chance to raise awareness for important issues that they’re really passionate about. It can be as simple as posting a status to draw attention to a certain problem, publicly interacting with pages that have the same views as you, or even organizing fundraisers. There’s a whole world of options at your feet, and it’s all thanks to Facebook. Petitions that have circulated on Facebook have gone on to completely change lives, and today, posts that people make about crucial problems in the world are noticed more than they’ve ever been before. Whether you post pictures to inform others or like pages to support their message, it’s easy to promote awareness for any issue in the world, and you’d be surprised how easy it is for that promotion to go viral.
4You Feel Jealous And Insecure
Humans have always been jealous of one another, but now Facebook allows a whole new level of interest in each other’s lives, and it can have some seriously unhealthy results! Though your page should be about who you are, the control you have over what you post allows you to decide who you want to be, and that might be realistic or it might be embellished. The problem is that your online buddies assume that it’s all true, and then compare all the blessings you appear to have with the crappy things that are going on in their own lives. And you probably do the same! You don’t know that your best friend had a huge fight with her boyfriend right after they posted a picture together, and so you feel terrible that your love live isn’t as blissful as hers. In this way, Facebook makes the already insecure, even more insecure.
3You Can Connect With Like-Minded People
Sometimes you’re born into a family that is so different from you that you wonder if you were adopted. Then you’re forced to attend a school where it seems everyone else is exactly the same, and you couldn’t fit in if you tried. In these cases, the beautiful thing about Facebook is that you are able to find people who are just like you! There are thousands of groups out there full of members who are drawn together because they share a simple trait. It might be a talent for something, or a passion for something, or even an unfortunate flaw that nobody else would understand. These groups can be absolute saviors when it feels like you’re totally alone in the physical world. Even if you can’t join the people who understand you, interacting with them online can instill a confidence in you about being okay with who you really are.
2You Can’t Delete Stuff Easily
The thing is that what goes online stays online. That can be a hard pill to swallow but unfortunately, it is the truth. Yes, you can delete the photos you’ve already posted and have them removed from your page, but you can do absolutely nothing to stop other people from saving those photos before you take them down. Because you have no way of knowing who is saving your stuff, it’s best to assume that what goes onto your Facebook, will stay there forever. Even if you lose your temper and unleash havoc on your next status, people will screenshot that mess! Deleting is not the safety net we all wish it were. You might be happy with something going online now, but forever is a long time and quite often, beyond your comprehension. Drunken photos might seem like a good idea now, but not so much when you’re 40.
1You Can Express Your Opinion
The best and worst thing about Facebook, depending entirely on the circumstance, is that anybody who uses the site is completely free to express their opinion. This means that victims have a voice, and big evil corporations can’t get away with what they used to, and you can be free to let people know who you truly are when you felt silenced or scared before. The catch is that, as touched on above, the same luxury is afforded to people whose opinions are harmful, and who deliberately express cruel words to get under the skin of others. But when it comes down to it, it’s better that way than the alternative. Imagine a world where nobody was free to express how they felt. We’re lucky to live in a culture where the ability to liberally speak our minds is ours, and no stupid troll can take that away from us.