The Pros and Cons of Being Active on Facebook

Love it or hate it, Facebook is the biggest social network in the world, and it plays a part in the lives of its 1.6 billion members. What started as a small start-up has become a technological and cultural institution, and like most institutions, there’s some good and some bad. If you’ve been debating the role Facebook plays in your life, it’s worth considering some of the benefits and disadvantages it provides you.

Pro: Share Your Life

Sharing your life with your loved ones – this is what Facebook was made for. While there were social networks before Facebook, and there was email before them, sharing your life with loved ones from afar has never been easier. It’s simply easier to post a picture and a status than send out personalized messages to everyone you care about.

Facebook is one of the easiest mediums for keeping in touch with the people you know. With built in text, voice, and video chat system, real-time contact is a breeze as well. Your loved ones care about you and what’s going on in your life, and Facebook provides the medium for you to share with them what’s happening.

Con: Get Into an Argument

There’s sharing, and then there’s oversharing. But that’s not the worst faux pas you can make on Facebook. The social network provides people a way to share the goings-on in their lives, but it also gives them a platform to share their controversial opinions. It seems that every other week, there’s a news story that divides the world by differing moral grounds, and especially in an election season, there’s more than ever to argue about.

While Facebook was built to keep people in touch, there’s no denying that it’s also become a place for people to debate their views on politics, religion, economics, and whatever else. And especially because it’s tough to express emotions such as sarcasm and genuine sympathy on the internet, words are easily misconstrued, leading to more and more hurt feelings. Simply put, if you’re going to be on Facebook, avoid hot-button topics to keep your relationships from souring.

Pro: Stay in the Know

You don’t necessarily need to be posting every day to be active on Facebook. It’s much easier to just scroll through people’s highlights, hit the like button, and post a quick comment. Never before have you been able to learn about your friends’ and family’s everyday lives without having to take the effort to reach out to them yourself.

Facebook also helps you keep in touch with those who you would have fallen out of contact with. High school friends, college buddies, people you’ve met on your travels – what were once passing relationships are now made more permanent thanks to the social glue that is Facebook.

Con: Be Too Much in the Know

There’s a downside to staying plugged into everyone else’s goings on: the more people you’re friends with on Facebook, the more content you have to sift through, and the more time you’re liable to spend on the site. If you’re not careful, you can let a lot of time slip by as you scroll through your newsfeed.

Spending a lot of time on Facebook might not be the best use of your time, and there’s a chance that it could be unhealthy for you. Some who spend a lot of time on the site might be unable to help comparing themselves to their friends’ lives and the achievements they post online. It’s important to remember that Facebook is not an accurate depiction of someone’s life and that comparing yourself to others will usually lead to negative feelings.

There’s a lot of good to Facebook, but there’s a lot of not-so-good to it as well. If you’re spending too much time on the social network, consider setting a specific time for browsing the site each day. Or–and here’s a crazy idea–take some time away from the site and see if and how your life changes without it.

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