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Five Reasons You Don’t Actually Hate Facebook

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

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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.