penguin_facebook_cartoonBy Shonagh Poynter

Now-a-days, not having Facebook is secondary to the black plague. There has got to be something hugely wrong with you if you have no social media account to show for your life achievements. How on earth do you expect people to track your triumphs or congratulate you on your new relationship update otherwise?

The curtain has come down on this cat lady production!’ Fifteen likes. Let alone how people could possibly enjoy that secret burst of joy when they see that you’ve gained an extra eight hundred and thirty pounds this festive season without a social presence to stalk… Long gone are the days where you would actually have the time or willpower to meet up with somebody in person to catch up. Banish the thought!

The existential crisis of the 21st century has become “If something happens and you don’t put it on Facebook, did it actually happen? Was it worth doing?” And I wouldn’t so much mind people documenting their everyday lives should what they write be a fascinating read.

However, sadly most of our lives do not compromise of a reality TV show, a clothes collection, a wedding televised on the national big screen, a divorce 72 days later and a baby with Kanye West. The daily remarks I am forced to scroll through include that of being excited to go to sleep, firing spitballs at the over – enthusiastic brown noser at work or popping into Sainsbury’s to buy some turnips after an unbearably long and odious public bus journey next to that fat guy. AGAIN. There’s only twenty other free seats!

“Joking” aside, it’s an unfortunate truth that almost all of us western – cultured folk feel that Facebook is the be – all and end – all of socialising. People assume that if you do not have a Facebook profile, you have some unspeakable deep, dark secret or controversially do not in fact exist at all.

What our dangerously  connected world has not yet taken into consideration, is the exact magnitude to which Facebook can harm rather than aid our lives. I can rustle up a confident, online persona in which people believe I am not Casper’s love child (cheers again, Photoshop). Essentially, I can create myself again on a blank, fresh canvas which is pleasing for all.

Moreover, no one is disputing that being able to reconnect with long lost friends from all different post codes and timezones is incredible. Neither am I debating the vast opportunities Facebook provides for careers and advertising. But it can certainly be established that Facebook has installed far more darkness than success.

It is a place whereby jealousy and selfworth are notoriously bred via a catalogue of carefully tagged photographs and amusing status’. It is a black hole of productivity and ultimately we risk comparing our everyday lives to our far more interesting, aforementioned online personas. Not to mention the prohibiting and counter productive aspect it could actually have on our success in jobs rather than assisting us; prospective companies often search you and imagine if they see THAT photo of THAT night out that you forgot to untag. Sitting outside Jason Donervan sobbing into a donner kebab doesn’t quite scream the sophistication that you bragged about oozing in your curriculum vitae.

Perhaps it is too much to ask you all, and myself, to deactivate completely; a ‘cold turkey’ approach if you will. But I do stress simply reducing the time we all spend on social media sites such as Facebook as to greatly improve our quality of life. It is all very well looking fabulous, well cultured and life experienced on the web but how about actually also compromising of this in person?