Why Facebook is a Horcrux and Off-the-Grid Days

“Because Facebook is a horcrux” is my response to people who ask me why I don’t have one. According to the only true authority on the subject, J.K. Rowling, a horcrux is “a receptacle prepared by dark magic in which a Dark wizard has intentionally hidden a fragment of his soul for the purpose of attaining immortality.” To point out the similarities between a horcrux and Facebook, let’s walk through the entire process of creating a personal Facebook page.

Starting with entering your full name, date of birth, and contact information, one begins to inject one’s soul into the Internet. After these first steps, one is encouraged to state their specific taste in music, sports, television shows, movies, etc. There’s even an option to write a personality description. Furthermore, there’s an area to declare one’s political views, religious views, and relationship status. Little by little, one is splitting themselves into pieces.  To top it off, one uploads a photo of his or herself, and voila, there’s a “fragment of [your] soul” on the Internet. Afterwards, one begins to allow people they know (in various degrees of “knowing”) to have access to their page. This profile could be your sole form of representation to a friend or acquaintance.

People claim they use Facebook to stay in contact with all of the fascinating people they’ve met in their lifetime. This is not the case. The connections that are maintained on Facebook (excluding video chatting and audio chatting) are superficial. The only thing that Facebook allows one to accomplish is acquiring the ability to see and be connected with a distorted textual and visual representation of a person. “Distorted” because the owner of the profile has the ability to edit everything that is published. One can write wall posts that express their complete contentment with life when in actuality they’re depressed to no end. Most Facebook posts are characterized either by exaggerated happiness or petty complaint. Very rarely do people express the hardships that they are enduring. In addition, he or she can upload photos of themselves that are so edited and beautiful that you don’t even recognize them in real life. With Facebook, one will never receive an accurate or natural portrayal of another person. Ultimately, one crafts and maintains a relationship with an illusion of that person, a fraction and deficient piece of that person, or a horcrux.

If you’re familiar with Harry Potter (which you should be), you’ll recall that Voldemort became weaker and weaker the more effort he put into maintaining his horcruxes. This parallels the human obsession with social media accounts such as Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. Studies have shown that social networking causes psychological problems such as low self-esteem. This is because people oftentimes don’t take into account the fact that what they are encountering on Facebook is all edited. One confuses these edits that portray one’s life as perfect as real and begin to compare them with their own realities. For example, one may see many photo albums of friends doing fun activities and may wonder why they aren’t as active. Or, they may notice a friend received 100 likes and wonder why they aren’t as creative or popular as that person. In addition to self-esteem, communication skills of the individual are weakening. Online, there are many things that one can do while waiting for someone to respond to their “chat”. They can browse the Internet, talk with another person, watch television, or almost anything else. This is not the case when communicating in person.  When there’s a silence during a one-on-one conversation, there is no easy escape. When talking in person, people become very impatient and uncomfortable with silences because they cannot direct their attention elsewhere. Social networking has impaired our comfort with silence.

Like horcruxes, Facebook drains our mental and physical energy. To avoid feeling weak, dependent, and essentially “split,” I recommend deleting all of one’s accounts online. Haha, good one right? But really, the majority of the people that you’re connected with online aren’t even going to notice because you were never close to begin with or are no longer close. Those who are what one would consider a “best friend” will find other means to contact you such as through Skype (I’m a huge proponent of Skype) or in a way that occurs in real time. In reality, I realize that for most of you this is not an option, and you can’t imagine completely removing your presence from the Internet. As a result, I offer to you the idea of “off-the-grid” days. Basically, you don’t log into any of your online profiles or respond to texts via text. If you need to communicate with someone, you catch up with them in person or call them. It’s a way to detach yourself from the Internet and social networking online. You can invite friends out to dinner and have stimulating conversations, read poetry, write prose, actually do homework, make vision-boards, check out the music library and put whole CDs onto your iTunes (Kidding…don’t do that, that’s illegal…), sit and have a chat with Noah Webster (he really cares about you and what you have to say; don’t mistake his silence for disinterest), or just think. Take some time to self-reflect. It’ll be worth your time.