Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Overcoming Facebook Addiction...Hopefully

I recently posted on my Facebook page that I'd be using it less frequently, eventually (maybe) becoming Facebook Free. Casually, my husband and I have discussed the fact that FB seems only to birth annoyances and frustrations, and finds a way to actually delete people, in the literal sense, from our lives. I can recognize all the good that it creates for us -- probably the most important, for me, is the fact that I can very quickly tell how my friends and family are doing (the only time that I communicate with some is through their status updates), and somehow it's become another form of email. For others, it creates entertainment and fun. For still others, it helps with business, sometimes without needing a professional web site of one's own, which I get. I see it. I really do.

However, an issue with Facebook, as with most Web 2.0 tools, is the anonymity factor, and the hurt that is sometimes brought by it. I'm not referencing any recent experience or anything; in the distant past, I found myself getting chest pains and literally red in the face over arguments I'd had with complete strangers on a friend's status update -- ridiculous! If I'm so sensitive to people and the way that they treat others behind the concealing black screen of the Internet, why was I made to live in the Information Age?!

But, I digress (as I often do on this blog ;-)). Also, as I often do on this blog, I create lists. So, I feel that's the best way to let you know my reasons behind this decision.

- This is #1, and I give credit to my mother for saying it (and, undoubtedly, thinking that I wasn't listening. I'm 28 now, and I do listen to my mother.) Living life. Living life and knowing that you're living it. Looking at what's around you and not immediately thinking, "I've gotta take a picture of this to post." (Mind you, I occasionally do this for the blog, but it's also because I want to remember the moment.) Just loving it, in that moment. FB is a pretty big hindrance to life living, for me.

- Forcing myself to make separate connections to friends and family. It's easy, REALLY easy, to comment on someone's post or shoot them well-researched suggestions when they put it out there in their status update. But, what communication are we truly achieving? There's a back-and-forth, sure. Do I really know that this person is my dear friend now because they left a kind word on my FB page? Wait, do I even know who that person IS? The human's intrinsic need to find friends is being exploited by the FB company. You can pick out the people who are simply using FB to "get more friends," regardless of the true connections they share. The more people who use FB, the more jump on the band wagon. The more users FB has, the more income. I don't care about these stats! I want to figure out who my real friends are, and see them face-to-face or talk to them over the phone! (I will accept email and snail mail correspondence, of course, as well.) It's time-consuming, but there's a reason that it worked just fine for our parents, grandparents, and so on. I've gotta relearn how to do this.

- Simplifying; sifting through the crap to leave behind only what I need to focus on and attend to.
It's easy to get overwhelmed by life. While I've been under the misconception that FB seems to make life easier -- get home from work, hop on, waste lots of time -- those dishes are still sitting there, the cats look bored, the house could use some sprucing up, and I'm feeling L-A-Z-Y. Then, when the guy gets home, after working overtime (yet again), how do I feel inside that he heads straight to the dishes? Pretty crappy. I've got a good 3+ hours of free time at home before he gets home, and FB can't be an excuse anymore. I've got to be doing more of the stuff I need to attend to around this place in order to analyze what want out of life -- which, in essence, is more simplicity.

- Something about the status update has an addictive quality. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Oh, so-and-so's kid is sick, bummer. Apparently the Jets won, as is evidenced by at least 23 updates. Someone needs help harvesting their farm; actually, several people do -- if only those were real farms and they were feeding real people. This is such a sublime waste of time, and I've become excellent at it. I gave up all the games when I was planning the wedding, and haven't looked back. I don't like feeling like I NEED to do something, but I go ahead and do it anyway. This is the FB addiction. I must retrain my fingers not to send me there.

Answering questions:
Would I use FB in the future? (That is, if it hasn't gone the way of MySpace. Can you imagine THAT happening? ...You can't? We used to think the same thing about MySpace.) I would consider using it, actually, and probably still will -- in limited capacity (at least, at first). I will post my new blog entries on FB. I will continue to update Ilion Little Theatre Club's Facebook page. I will use it to advertise any future projects (creating a new profile for those companies/endeavors) - commercially.

As a library media specialist, how can you turn your back on 21st century tools? You may not know it, but this actually would be a pretty big deal in some library circles I'm a part of. But, I don't think I'd be embarrassed to announce: "I've given up Facebook" to students and fellow teachers. I'm incredibly familiar with the site. I know that it's not something that I need to make a part of my future. While I do my best at my job, I don't find my career to define me - it's what I do, not who I am. If anything, the fact that students are finding me online is as much of a reason to quit FB as any.

Aren't you being condescending to all of your friends who use FB and enjoy it? (This question is a case of self-reflection and over-criticizing myself, more than anything. ;-)) Touche, if you're thinking this. By no means do I intend to be the person standing on her soap box telling you about the evils of ANYTHING. And, no, I don't think FB is evil. I just think that it's one of the lesser-positives of our current society. Also, I do apologize if anyone reading this is taking offense or finding me to be too self-aggrandizing or even too complaint-driven (I truly dislike when blogs are used to rant about things, seriously). So, you may think I'm a hypocrite. But, I'm just trying to, in essence, make some sense of my life and what I'm doing with it, to simplify it all down to the things that I a) HAVE to do (ie work, cleaning the house, etc) and b) WANT to do (ie the theater, drawing, writing, etc). I've found that FB has, simply, kept me from too much.

Do you have thoughts on the FB subject? Please feel free to leave comments - but I do ask that, particularly if you disagree, please keep them respectful. :-) Oh, and if you see me responding to anyone who's commenting on my latest post (or posting at all), please be kind -- this is definitely an addiction, and it's hard to break. As I said, I will be posting a link to the blog when I update.


  1. Meg, I think this is a really great idea! I'm finding the same types of things lately - not having the energy to get things done around the house or time to be crafty/creative. Last weekend I started doing some crafty projects around the house and I definitely want to do more of those in my spare time during the week and on the weekends. I'm on FB a lot during the day updating the work/kids FB so I think I'm going to start limiting my FB usage to a few times during the workday and then nothing when I get home.

    Plus I feel like I've also been slacking on the blogging/writing territory and would love to get back into it.

    I think it is a good resolution to make. Don't let anyone make you feel bad for choosing to limit your time on FB. :)

  2. Cara, I can't thank you enough for your comment. I'm totally with you on not having enough time to do the things you'd like -- such as blogging! I'm really going to try to step up my game here, since it's something I truly ENJOY doing. :-) Hopefully it's not too boring to read. ;-)

    Good luck with cutting back! It's tough when you HAVE to use FB for work -- tough not to check in on your personal page, that is. :-)

  3. Though I was never a huge FB person, I can say that I do like life without it. I has the twitter, so I can get updates from some people, but something about it makes it feel "easier/less attached" than FB, but in a good way.

    The only thing I do miss about it is having that cyber-connection with my family (even my grandma is on FB). But thats my hurdle, and if I ever rejoined, I have thought about just friending family or something.

    To fill any need for a page devoted to myself:

    That will suffice.

  4. I love being off Facebook SO much. It has seriously improved my life tenfold - no internet addiction, more 'real life' time, and no fretting over anything as ridiculous as a comment on my 'status' or whatever! More power to you for weening yourself, Meg!

  5. So I guess that if I want to communicate with you from now on, I will actually have to communicate with you?

  6. Kit -- Yep! I suppose so. I'm not opposed to email, though, since you can respond anytime and the person doesn't have to rush to answer.

    Mal & Booga -- Thanks for the insight and positive comments! Truly appreciated. :-)

  7. I'm proud of you! I came back to fb because I was having trouble reaching a friend that had just had her cell number changed. I have been making sure to post pics on my shutterfly account, and for the most part, only update my blog. I was spending way-y-y-y-y too much time on it. It's easy to do, and it's a poor excuse for social interaction. Congrats! Don't let the bastards get 'cha down!

  8. That children are wasting lots of their time on FB. To make the matters worse, they can use their mobile phones for FB. They do not understand the consequences!