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Five Reasons You Don't Actually Hate Facebook

Be glad the world's biggest social network will still be online come March 15th.

Facebook

By Kelly Bourdet

In the wake of the silly "Facebook is going offline on March 15th" rumor, I've taken some moments out of my busy workday to reflect on the social-networking site's effect on my life. Compounded by the fact that I generally spend half of my busy workday wasting time on Facebook, I got very little accomplished today. But all these musings brought me to a unique conclusion. People love to hate on Facebook — but they don't actually hate it.

You don't actually hate Facebook, just like you don't actually think the British version of The Office is better; it's just something you're saying because you think it makes you more interesting. So shut up about how Facebook represents the demise of our culture. Here are five reasons it's actually awesome:

1) Facebook gives you an easy way to make other people feel good about themselves.

Science has recently revealed that young people value compliments more than sex. And I can't imagine a better platform for the giving and receiving of public compliments than Facebook. You know that feeling you get when someone says, "really fucking funny...your article is great!" or "looking super-hot in that outfit"? With Facebook, those compliments will exist forever and ever, long after you are no longer funny or hot.

 

2) Facebook makes it easy to politely avoid things you don't want to do.

The great thing about Facebook invites is that everyone accepts they're a less formal way to invite someone to something. No one will reproach you for your absence from a Facebook event, because you can easily say, "Oh, I never read my invites anymore," and it might be true.

Conversely, inviting someone to your event on Facebook is similarly low-stakes. I’ve definitely invited a cute guy I barely knew to a party at my house (easily accomplished under the guise of “I invited everyone on my friend list!”) When he didn’t, I felt much less rejected than I would have if I had called him on the phone and been shot down. Just don't be that guy who invites your actual best friends to your birthday via Facebook and only via Facebook. Because they might not come, and then you'll feel like an idiot.

 

3) Without Facebook, you will literally never get another chance to make it happen with that guy

In big cities, you basically only have one shot to hit it off with any random stranger you meet in a bar/party/subway car. But when you meet this charming, handsome stranger who is definitely perfect for you, you might be tired because you stayed up all night watching 30 Rock reruns and then had to blog all day. You might not be at your best, most charming and seductive self. Maybe you're able to trade names with the handsome bloke, but maybe you don't clinch it with a phone-number exchange before your selfish friend starts complaining about how lame the bar is and demands to leave. Thank God Facebook exists, because you can find that man and make him yours.

Case in point: I once read some guy's name off of his credit-card receipt, looked him up on Facebook and sent him a message, and then went on a date with him. Creepy? Yes. But I got a date with a super-hot boy out of it. Where's your date? That's what I thought.

 

4) Facebook lets you can people whom you really can't stand.

If you don’t want to hurt your dog-photo-posting cousin’s feelings, you can simply hide his status updates on your newsfeed with him none the wiser. You will officially remain friends, and perhaps better friends since you won't be annoyed by his bad taste.

Furthermore, when the situation calls for more drastic action, you can make your statement without a big confrontation. Did that dude you were dating lie to you about basically everything? Is that old friend of yours jealously and passive-aggressively commenting on all your status updates? Unfriend them! Unfriending someone is a satisfying way to say, “I’m not even amenable to the most tenuous, removed, artificial relationship with you.” Cut those toxic people out of your life! Trust me, it’s very empowering to click that “unfriend” link.

 

5) Facebook keeps you connected to that German guy from your year abroad.

On a rare, sincere note, I would also like to credit Facebook with helping me keep in touch with the people I love who are spread all across the world. I can keep up with my brother in Alabama, my sister in Atlanta, my family all over Georgia, my very special friend in L.A., and countless lovely people who have moved to the far corners of the Earth. Facebook allows me to share, albeit in a superficial way, in their successes and adventures. I don't see the world of online interactions as demeaning to offline life. I'd rather share in loved ones' public, online lives than share nothing with them at all.

Commentarium (34 Comments)

Jan 14 11 - 1:20am
ms

Well said, bravo!

Jan 14 11 - 1:36am
Dee

These are actually all reasons why I hate Facebook.

Creepy people abounds who put too much time and energy into the innernets.

Jan 14 11 - 5:08am
SPDK

Since when are Alabama, Atlanta, "all over Georgia" and L.A. "all across the world" or "the far corners of the Earth"?

Jan 14 11 - 5:34am

I don't hate it but I don't use it, although I work for a company which builds websites that leverage it. The VC behind it is one of the world's more reptilian neo-con offerings so that keeps me away. Also time's short and I've never been one for characteristically banal phatic communion. I don't want everyone I've ever known, and even more I never will, hanging about in some sort of associative limbo. But that's just me.

Jan 14 11 - 6:03am
TGIF

I just recently ''permanently deactivated'' (actual Facebook lingo) my account- it is the best net-based decision I've made. You will never believe how many more phone calls and personal emails I'm getting. I am genuinely much happier.

Jan 14 11 - 7:37am
cjt

All of it is true except that the British Office IS really better than the american one...deeper, darker and more sould destroying which is closer to what offices are really like....but we cannot handle too much darkness...which is taking nothing away from the American version which is quite good....but not the same beast....

Jan 14 11 - 10:16am
JCF

I'm not on Facebook. Does that mean we could never be friends, or would you just neglect me because I'm too much work to keep in touch with?

Jan 14 11 - 10:56am
Doug

I forgot which email account I used for my facebook account, so now it's just in limbo.

Jan 14 11 - 11:00am
pokepokepoke

I don't think any of this is about "real" friends. I think it's about acquaintances, high-school friends, and strangers you want to sleep with. So yes, JCF, I'd be friends with you. But I wouldn't be able to sleep with you if I met you at a party and forgot to get your number.

Jan 14 11 - 11:08am
WithAnInotAnE

Not to mention that facebook is actually great at what it was created to do-- be a social networking site. It makes finding room mates, apartments, jobs so much easier! I think its worth being on the ol FB for that alone.

Jan 14 11 - 6:08pm
Silvermink

Psh, don't tell me what I hate or not. I despise Facebook - the clunky interface, the bother of messages flying every which way, the cavalier attitude toward user privacy.

If it weren't for friends and family who aren't on any other service, I'd avoid it completely instead of almost completely.

Jan 14 11 - 6:35pm
Lame Piece

Seems like most of the above proves out that I allegedly love Facebook because I'm a lazy tool. "I love facebook because I can avoid people I don't have the balls or diplomacy to deal with." Seems like a pretty stupid reason to be positive about the site.

Jan 14 11 - 6:54pm
somegirl

for another take on facebook and the role it plays in culture, check out Zadie Smith's (amazing!) review of The Social Network in the New York Review of Books: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/25/generation-why/

Jan 14 11 - 7:01pm
PeterSmith

Found ZS's piece totally fascinating though I'm not sure I agree with all of her conclusions.

Also, I'm sure Kelly was just kidding about the US Office being better. Right, Kel?

Jan 14 11 - 7:29pm
Nick

If you honestly think the British version of the office isn't better your a idiot or even more likely your American which as the rest of the world knows is pretty much the same as my first point!

Jan 14 11 - 9:08pm
K

Nick,

As an American, I know how to use a comma, and I also know the difference between "your" and "you're". If I were you, I would use spell check before I called anyone else an idiot. Cheers!

Jan 14 11 - 9:53pm
Me

I have a really hard time understanding British accents, so I've never been able to get into the British Office.

Jan 15 11 - 10:16am
MC

It's not pretentious to think the British Office is better; it's good taste.

Jan 15 11 - 10:35am
fahrmaiden

Really? No one can think of any positives about Facebook? I LOVE it. I have shared stories and photos, given and received support, shared good times and happiness... all with family and friends that I used to see once a year.

Jan 15 11 - 1:26pm
SM

Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one.

Jan 15 11 - 7:10pm
Natascha

others have beat me to it already, but your comment about the british office? are you fucking kidding?

Jan 15 11 - 11:26pm
Faceless

I have no reason to hate Facebook, since I don't use it.

Jan 16 11 - 10:18pm
acs

I deactivated my FB for a week and found that I didn't hear from anyone. I don't even think they noticed I was "gone"

Jan 16 11 - 11:00pm
Secret Character

Facebook is like your nosey kid brother that follows you around (with a camera) and hangs on your every word, tells everybody including your parents, ex girl, and job, all your business, pleasures, and beliefs and then ask you what you think about it. As ludacris as it is though, you cant hate. Cause at the end of the day he reminds you of what makes you who you are, which is in large part, everything/everyone else.

Jan 16 11 - 11:01pm
Secret Character

British Office is supremely hilarious. I can't watch it without a glass of water the humor is so dry. I love it. It was the template for the American version so you really can't criticize it without doing the same to the successor. Ricky Gervais is a very funny man.

Jan 18 11 - 12:57pm
dinosaurs

@SM
> Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one.

And they all stink.

Jan 18 11 - 1:29pm
cjt

Assholes are like opinions....hairy, smelly and occasionally fuckable....what was the topic again....

Jan 21 11 - 1:14am
here for office wank

British Office is loads better than the American ripoff. And I'm not even British.

Jan 28 11 - 1:52pm
ddd

very true that if we get the Idea of our facebook from out of our mind... sure it is gonna help.

Jan 28 11 - 2:13pm
ddd

we have a got a controversial situation here..... call 911

Jan 30 11 - 3:40am
Susan

All this arguing is silly. Facebook is just a tool, &, just like any other tool, how you use it determines how well it will work for you. There are both positives & negatives, & you have to be very careful in managing it. Do I hate the new format? You betcha - I find it redundant & cluttered. Do I hate that you have to anal retentively lock down every single feature you can think of (& some you can't) in order not to have every idiot on the planet be ale to post your information all over the world? Of course! But Facebook put us in contact with a family member for whom we have been searching for almost twenty years - turns out she was in another country, and not the one we thought! We also get daily updates from dozens of friends without having to wade through separate e-mails. So yes, some will hate it, for valid reasons, & some will love it, also for valid reasons. Everyone simply has to decide if Facebook is right for them & use it accordingly. Or not!

Apr 05 11 - 12:27pm
Bill Dietrich

I'd like to get your feedback about a page I've created, about the
good and bad features of Facebook and how they should fix it:
https://billdietrich.byethost8.com/Facebook.html
Thanks.

Jan 06 12 - 8:28pm
Facebook Lover <3

I love you and I want to kiss you. xx

Jan 08 12 - 11:02pm
Sarah

I hate it, and that is a fact. Closing my account was the best net decision I have ever made, and I couldnt be happier. It is far better to be off the grid and enjoying the outdoors more instead of cooped up and getting irradiated at a computer screen absorbing the daily rants of superficial attention whoring idiots. I am only 20 and perfectly happy to go back to phone/skype and use email, which is still the most popular form of net communication in the world and will remain to be for many years. There are always going to be people that dislike Facebook and want nothing to do with it, and the ones who cant get enough of it need to consider these people - no one should feel pressured that they MUST have an account - it is a free world.