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Pros and cons of Facebook (especially right now)

This isn't directly a photography/film-related post, which was my main purpose for starting this blog, but it is definitely connected with it.

I decided recently that I had had enough of Facebook and just logged out. I've tried to deactivate before, but it's effectively the same thing in that you just stop getting notifications and you are prompted to fill in your log in details whenever you reflexively touch that Facebook icon on your phone. It at least makes you think about it and helps me to maintain the self discipline.

At the moment there's a lot of scary and sometimes contradictory news and information, and I think Facebook can be the worst for this as every sort of nonsense and half-baked theory spews out onto your newsfeed along with other more credible news. Then you have friends freaking out with constant posts with CAPS ON BECAUSE THINGS APPARENTLY AREN'T SCARY ENOUGH !!! It can start to feel totally overwhelming to the point where you feel physically stressed. It's not that we shouldn't be worried or not take the situation very seriously, but Facebook is full of unreliable information that is liable to spread panic and drama rather than good sense, and it's all to easy to lose a sense of perspective and proportion. By the way, this doesn't just apply to the currrent situation either, it's a trend I've seen with many issues. Logging off for me, at least for a while, was about just establishing a bit of control over the little sphere of influence that I have and not losing my focus by being distracted by the million problems around the world that I can not control. I choose where to get my information rather than allowing my self to have it thrust upon me from every direction.

On top of this, I've found, probably like many, that Facebook, especially the newsfeed, is of less and less use to me, and apart from photos, I post relatively rarely. So weighing the benefits and uses against the costs it seemed like an easy choice to pull out for a while.

On the other hand, with it being so fashionable to bash social media like Facebook making people more and more "anti-social", it can be easy to overlook some real benefits that the like of Facebook offer. When isolated, as many people are in this current time, it can be a great place to connect with people and feel part of a community. Personally, I've found I have tended to get out more and socialise more, as I find out about more events through Facebook that interest me. It also allows me to connect with and talk to people I might have otherwise never talked to, being quite a shy person that I am, and that has lead to me making new friends in person as well. Or, the inverse, that I've met someone in person by chance and we've had a good chat and then we've been able to follow up through Facebook.

It's also a place for getting advice or tips from the community brains trust, which can be really valuable for some, especially those who are socially isolated for some,

But coming back to photography. Of course, I frequently share pictures on Facebook, and it's had a really surprising impact for me personally. Sometimes people comment on my photos or like or interact in some way, but I've now lost count of the times that I've bumped into a friend on the street or someone who I only half know, that has commented "I love your photos on Facebook" or commented on a specific photo, and it's lead to a conversation that we might not otherwise have had. It's not something I expected and it's kind of blown me away a bit at times, as I'd always assumed only a small handful of people ever looked at them, but more importantly it brought home the potential of social media, along with all the bad and horrible things about it, to bring people together in surprising ways.

So I'm going to keep sharing my pics and stories and I hope people continute to enjoy them and keep interacting with me !

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