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Some privacy, please

In today’s internet-enabled world, most people have social media and other apps on their iphones and a thousand other devices that allow strange robots and even stranger humans in countries all over the world to know exactly where they are, every moment of the day and night.

But what about personal privacy: is it something people still want? Or is the concept of privacy just a 1900s thing?

In this article I’m going to talk about how privacy and your ability to live your own life and think your own thoughts are affected by one of those social media streams: Facebook.

What are the positives and negatives of having, or not having, Facebook on your phone?

The negatives of having Facebook on your phone

You don’t need a reason to not to have Facebook on your phone, or even not to have Facebook in your life at all, but if you did need a reason, here are a few.

  1. If you have Facebook on your phone, you’re always in touch with the world. Including its important events and its irrelevant ones and its gossip. That can be tiring, and tiresome.
  2. If you’re connected via your phone to Facebook’s chatter, your brain is kept constantly occupied. Busy-busy-busy. No space to breathe or rest. It’s not good for your mental health.
  3. If you share something on Facebook, and have your settings on ‘public’, it is like megaphoning your personal information to millions of people. Even if your settings are not ‘public’, make no mistake: once you have posted it on Facebook, that information is no longer private.

Of course, you don’t have to have Facebook on your phone to bare your your soul in public. You can do it at home on your computer or laptop or tablet.

But if you have Facebook on your phone you’re likely to access it while you’re out and about, especially at those times when you’re feeling vulnerable, angry, sad, crazy, lonely or flippant – and impulsively post an unfortunate photo or comment on your timeline, only to regret it way too late to prevent it from having happened.

The positives of not having Facebook on your phone

If you don’t have Facebook on your phone, Facebook and everyone else on the internet will no longer know where you are or where you are thinking every minute of the day.

If you take Google Chrome and any other tracking apps off your phone as well (or tweak all the right privacy settings on all your devices), you’ll no longer be tracked.

You can even turn your phone off if you like so no one can ring you. So no one will know where you are or what you’re doing except whoever is really with you at the time.

When you’re not constantly connected to the internet, your brain is freed up. Once your mind gets a bit of space to breathe privately (as opposed to being aired publicly), all sorts of wonderful creative new ideas can flood in and out courtesy of the real live environment around you. You may even find you start to really use your eyes again and start to see, and anything might happen.

Original ideas will flow but you won’t ‘share’ them immediately. You may write them down but you’ll hold them close for now.

Keeping something private.

Imagine that.

The negatives of not having Facebook on your phone

  1. Because you’re not in constant contact with your social media friends, you may miss out on the gossip or important word news. Depending on your priorities and who your real friends are, this may be embarrassing.
  2. Someone might PM you on Facebook to tell you they’re going to be late for a coffee date, naturally assuming you’re connected to Facebook all the time, but you’re not so you spend half an hour getting to the coffee shop and wonder where they are only to then text them and find out they’d cancelled. And if you complain and say they should have texted you, they roll their eyes that you are so out of touch with the social media world reality.
  3. Someone might post an embarrassing tagged photo of you on Facebook and if you’re not constantly connected, by the time you find out about it and untag yourself, thousands of people will have already seen it.

Facebook is a bit like smoking. If you’ve never had Facebook on your phone, or even at all, you won’t miss it. But once you have had it in  your life, when you get rid of it you might miss being in constant touch with your friends, including all those social media friends who you’ve never met but whom you’ve got to know in that internet kind of way that can be fun. You may then decide your life was richer when it was full of those interactions and choose to reconnect Facebook to your phone.

That’s fine. It’s your choice whether or not to be connected every minute of the day to Facebook.

You can use Facebook without getting used

There is no need to take Facebook off your phone, or cancel your Facebook account altogether (although, of course, you can if you want to. It’s your choice).

But there is a need in every generation that has ever been to not follow the leader, to not do what everyone else is doing just because you’re told to or because everyone else is doing it. Sheep do that and look where they end up. Lamb chops.

Life is short. Do what matters. The choice is yours.

If you’d like to hear more about how to live a more balanced life in our social media mixed up world, check out: Using Facebook versus being Used By Facebook


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