'Facebook is a pressure building system'
We had asked you, our readers to tell us if you've tried to stay off Facebook.
Here Swarnalata Patel from Novato, California, USA tells us why she quit using the popular social networking site.
Facebook is not so much a social networking site as a pressure builder, causing more doubts, anxieties and stress than building contacts.
Pressure to 'Like' even if I do not Like.
I was not very active in posting, but I used to 'like' or 'comment'.
When I 'like' for one friend, I feel a degree of guilt. What would the other friends think?
The pressure was so intense, I used to log-in again and like the other friend's post. To like the post of one friend and not another is unacceptable.
Then there was pressure to like the post submitted by my manager or seniors, however trivial the post may sound.
'Like' does not depend on how good a post is, but on the relationship we share or wish to share with the person who posted.
Pressure to be top of the popularity index
When I used to post and log off, I was so curious to find out who has liked or commented on by post that I used to log in again to check.
It was a kind of popularity index.
I would also feel that I had liked the post of a particular friend so why didn't he 'like' mine? Next time, I will not 'like' his/her post.
I took this as one way to figure out who cares for me and who doesn’t even though I knew there could be many other parameters.
On my birthday, I used to compare my happy birthday wishes with my competitors. It was a cold battle field.
Pressure to be compared
Generally, friends post if they have received a trophy in office, presented a paper in sharenet, their kid has been selected in a school-level spelling competition, they have visited some exotic place, and so on.
I used to congratulate them, but there was the thought that the world is so rosy for them but my share of it is so grey.
I would suffer an inferiority complex.
Pressure to be known to be busy
If I log in and like the posts every day what would people think?
That I am not taking my job seriously, or not taking care of my kid and family since I have so much time to spend on Facebook.
So, I used to log in and see other posts, but would not 'like', even though I did actually 'like' the post very much.
I would remember those posts and like them later, on the weekend.
Pressure to accept friend requests from non-friends
When I receive a friend request from unknown people, I think that if I don't accept, s/he will feel bad, especially if it's from people sharing the same surname.
The person requesting may be a relative, or a relative of a relative.
What if I come across the person later on, maybe at a wedding, and I have not accepted? That will be embarrassing.
But, then, what if the person is not genuine?
All these pressures became unendurable and one fine day I decided to log off and say goodbye to Facebook.
For a few days I wondered what must be the hot topic in the group. Probably I am missing updates.
Then I realised that if I need to know, I will eventually know.
Trust me, life is easier, less stressful, productivity has gone up, and there is more family time for me after I got rid of the Facebook addiction.
Do you think your life will be more fun without Facebook's interference?
Were you not living a happier social life before Facebook caught you unawares?
Did you ever try to stay off Facebook and succeeded?
Please mail us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line (Quitting Facebook) and we will publish the best responses on Rediff.com.
Image: Have you also tried to stay off Facebook? Tell us your story.