Over the course of the last couple of months, I have tried to deliberately reduce the amount of time I spend on Facebook.
Occasionally, you may see status updates on my Facebook wall. This is because my Twitter account is linked to my Facebook account. In the rare occasion that I tweet or retweet a post, that action is replicated on Facebook too! I have tried so much to unlink the two social media accounts no avail, so, I guessed I might as well leave it the way it is.
My decision to reduce my Facebook consumption is backed by a few reasons which you may also want to consider.
The Infinite Scroll
The way our brains have been wired, we are fascinated by novelty. The moment you pick up your phone to check up what’s going on in your social circle, there’s no predicting what you may find on there.
It may be a friend’s birthday.
Someone might be getting married.
Another one could have just gotten a new job.
And the list goes on and on…
Now, here’s the thing: Facebook is aware of the human psychology and they have designed their interface such that you keep on coming back for more.
How? Through the News Feed that scrolls to infinity.
Let’s try to remember your typical day.
Once you’re online, you come across the first status update.
It doesn’t seem interesting, so you move on to the one below it.
This one seems to be a bit better than the first one, so you give it a like or even comment on it.
Your brain is happy with the satisfaction you got from liking the status or picture, so it urges you to look for even more novelty.
You keep on scrolling and scrolling till you satisfy that itch for even more novelty that never goes away.
By the time you are self-aware again, you’d have discovered that you’ve spent 1 hour doing nothing!
The Bullet Theory
Donald Trump has called CNN the Fake News Network on numerous occasions. But long before Trump became President, my friend Samuel, a Mass Communication graduate, was telling me about The Bullet Theory. According to this theory, the masses tend to receive information from the news media like a group of ducks faced with a spray of bullets. But unlike ducks who would attempt to run away from the barrage of gunfire, the populace has learned to receive anything that the mass media gives to them – hook, line and sinker.
With zero resistance. With zero mental processing.
It reminds me of a verse in The Message Bible translation of Romans 8,
“We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.”
Sometime last year, as I went through Facebook’s Scroll ad Infinitum, I came across a sensational news piece. Since it was novel, I heard a voice in my head.
It said, ‘Click That Post!’.
It so happened that there was a reporter who collapsed as she was giving a live report at some location. This post had thousands of comments and likes. Mine was amongst them too.
Well, being the inquisitive person that I am, I decided to do some background research on this reporter.
Guess what I found?
The story was true…but it was nearly THREE YEARS LATE!!!
Can you believe that?
This news agency had made use of its Facebook page to disseminate sensational, but stale news.
With the Bullet Theory, news agencies are able to use Facebook to infiltrate our hearts and mind. They don’t care about the accuracy of the reports, and sadly, we also have become insensitive to the falsehood and half-truths forced down our throats.
Back in the day, there only used to be so much information to go around. That’s all different now. There’s an abundance of information everywhere. And there’s an unlimited amount of room on Facebook to disseminate this information. In those days, there used to be a cost for getting information wrong, which was you losing your credibility and reputation.
Today, accuracy doesn’t matter anymore. This is because stories can theoretically be corrected, so the reporters pay even less attention to accuracy. And even, if they get the information wrong, they always have the chance to fix the previous story with another one.
Besides, reporters are paid based on the amount of traffic that they are able to generate. That’s the secret behind Facebook pages like INFORMATION NIGERIA, Gossip Mill, amongst others. Many of the admins of these pages generate cash flow that is directly proportional to the amount of human traffic on their Facebook pages. This is why you will continue to see more extreme and exaggerated news, such as,‘Rihanna exposes armpits. CLICK HERE to smell’.
They just want you to click it. That’s it.
I don’t want to be party to that anymore.
Cognitive Dissonance: Trust Me, I’m Lying
We live in interesting times. With the advent of picture filters and image quotes, people seem to focus more on their brand, rather than their characters!
People are willing to go great extents all in the name of getting rave reviews and social proofs from their friends on Facebook.
Some months ago, my news feed was pretty much flooded with arguments between Christian brothers. There’s this particular group I joined where I attempted to keep up with the doctrinal arguments they were having there. It was pretty much impossible to simply catch up. You would see hundreds of comments, with each averaging nearly 1000 words.
It made me start wondering: Where do these guys have the time to study the Bible and pray if they write this much EVERY DAY on Facebook?!
Many times, a vast number of them do not have a solid walk with God. Rather, they prefer to spend their time loading their minds with ‘just-in-case’ information that will be useful for their next social media arguments. And that’s where it ends. They do not walk their talk.
The truth is that God has wired the brain such that it is impossible for you to deceive yourself. And when you talk yourself into doing so, Cognitive Dissonance occurs.
Focus Is The New I.Q
With information at the tip of the finger, one of the few things that would make you stand out from the crowd is your ability to focus on what matters. Except you are one of the few people that make use of Facebook to run a business or cause, you are pretty much wasting units of your life, mindlessly scrolling on Facebook for things that really do not matter.
The other day, a friend was telling me that she learned that EFCC’s Twitter handler had resigned.
Great…! But how does having that information improve our lives?
Someone once said,
What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients; Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that information efficiently amongst the overabundance of information sources that may consume it.
We live in times where there is an abundance of information, but a scarcity of attention. And because attention is scarce, its value has increased tremendously.
Mark my words, one thing that would make you stand out wherever you find yourself would be the undivided attention you devote to ONE course. In fact, that’s the meaning of FOCUS.
Follow One Course Until Successful.
Do you really think Mark Zuckerberg, John Maxwell, David Oyedepo, amongst many others spend countless hours of their day on their Facebook News Feed?
I used to be in the trap of accumulating information just for its own sake. I felt it allowed me to be perceived as a smart fellow. However, the truth is that information is useless if it is not applied to something important.
Much of the information on Facebook falls into this category.
You do not need to know everything that is going on around you. If it’s important enough, someone else will tell you eventually.