A word on the facebook ban.

I have said in my previous posts that I am averse to bans.
The meat ban on holy months, the tobacco sale ban and even the plastic ban. There were bans on certain TV channels, which was silly, too, and I am glad it’s not there anymore. I mean I don’t exactly know if they are still there, but I see MTV on my cable so I suppose that’s not an issue anymore.
The latest ban to hit the new is the ‘Facebook ban’. Happily, this is only applicable to government offices. And therefore it doesn’t take away from a person’s rights, and I am all for it.
I like Facebook, make no mistake. I am not one of those anti Facebook crusaders who think it is a waste, created by money minded people looking to exploit the rest of the world and fill their minds with junk.
I have internet on my mobile phone, and I use it mostly to log on to Facebook. I think I may be logging on to Facebook at least 10 times a day. First thing I wake up, throughout the day, and last thing before I go to sleep. I don’t think it’s a problem. Although others may not agree with me here.
I have some 600 friends, surprisingly I know all of them. I am not interested in all of them, though, which is why my homepage shows me news feed about maybe 30 friends. My best friends live far away, and Facebook is a good way to keep tab on the small things they do, it’s almost like being there with them. I don’t meet my best friends for years at a time but we are much more connected than before Facebook came along because I know what kind of hairstyle they have, what they are going through, what they are up to…. And these things matter to me.
I haven’t replaced my connections to those who really matter to me with Facebook- I write frequently to them and I call them up- but Facebook just keeps us in the loop.
But yes, I am all for banning Facebook at workplaces. I don’t think it’s an issue worthy of debate. If I owned a company I may decide to do the same if I see my people wasting their time playing Farmville instead of working. And as an employer, the government has every right to do the same to all of its employees.
We Bhutanese have many rights, and some of them get stepped on sometimes. But getting to use Facebook at work is not one of them. So I don’t see the point in the complaints against the move.
But like the plastic ban, Facebook ban is not going to work either. Those who are addicted to it will find ways to bypass the blocks and use the site anyway. And others will move on to playing Solitaire, like they used to before Facebook came along.
What I am trying to say here is that the problem is not Facebook. It’s our attitude towards work. Especially the civil service. I am sorry to say that despite it having become a cliché, brought out in the media so many times that now it’s almost politically incorrect to say it- but a lot of Civil Servants do not work at all. They are attending funerals, at banks, off to receive their bosses, out for trainings or conferences, or at home sick. When you do catch them at their workstations, they are on the phone obviously speaking to someone not work related, or playing card games on the computer, or, yes, on Facebook.
Wasting time on Facebook is Not the problem, it is a symptom of a greater problem. And that problem needs to be looked at and sorted out, because cleaning the surface will not improve the system. We need better laws, better transparency and accountability, and a better grading and reward system for work.
Yes, these are more difficult to do than a simple Facebook ban, but then they would solve the problem, which the ban does not address. And once these things are sorted out, maybe we can allow Facebook at government offices and still not have a whole load of virtual farmers.

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