Breaking the addiction
A couple of weeks ago I set out on a 48 hour facebook fast. Here’s an account of my journey:
June 19, 2010
Oh Google. It tells you WHAT to Google. Before you can finish typing “who is th” it already has 10 suggestions for you. (“Who is the richest person in the world” comes up first, with “who is the stig” as #2.) Who is the stig? Apparently some race car driver guy.
Anyways, I did it. I closed my facebook (fb). It’s minute 2 of my plan to not open my fb page for over 24, possibly 48 hrs, maybe even a WEEK?! After minute one of closing the page, I Googled “how to stop being ad” and guess what was the #1 top search? Yep, “facebook.”
OK, minute 5 and I’ve already had the urge to check back. The whole reason I Googled it was because, I know, I’m addicted. I check facebook several times a day. I wake up, I check it. On my lunch break at work, on my phone, I check it. Hop on BART, check it. I get home, check it.
Your definition of checking may differ than mine. See, when I say check, I mean repeatedly hit refresh, check on my friend’s pages, comment on status updates and pictures, chat with someone who’s online, spy on people’s girlfriends and boyfriends, and repeat, and repeat, and RE-PEAT.
At first, myspace and facebook sounded fun and innocent. “Hey, I can keep in touch with someone I met in Paris? Awesome! That guy I used to date is married? Get out of town. Wait, Mr. X is in a relationship with Miss. Z, AND it’s complicated?! STFU.” But now the checking has turned into minutes, the minutes into hours and the hours are giving way to a wasted lifetime. Sure, I enjoy changing my status, and often find I can be quite clever. And please tell me, how is anyone to know that I’m performing improv this Friday if I don’t let all of my 387 friends know with a harmless little update?
Urge #2, now setting in. Get a grip Laura, has it even been 6 minutes yet? It’s beyond an addiction, it’s automatic. I keep clicking on Firefox, to open a new tab.
Granted I’m not uber pathetic. I mean I do a lot of other things, yet I still find time to waste my life away online. Sometimes at work when I’m waiting for the credit card machine to process, I wonder how much of my life is wasted standing there. Surely 23 second increments add up over years of waitressing, but nothing can compare to the time-sucker that fb has become.
What am I doing on there anyways? Sometimes fb has even been the cause of stirring up feelings of jealousy and sadness. “Why does that guy I’m crushing on have his arm around that attractive woman? What does she mean by ‘I had so much fun seeing you! (smiley face)’?” Btw, hiding someone doesn’t work if you just end typing in their name to look at their profile once a day.
Fuck. Urge #3.
The backwards part is that chances are you’re reading this blog, BECAUSE YOU’RE MY FRIEND ON FACEBOOK. I’m not trying to diss fb, talk shit and sound all high and mighty, like the people who “don’t watch TV,” I’m just stating the fact that I obviously have a problem.
I suppose admitting it is the first step right? I mean it’s not like it’s a heroin, food, or alcohol addiction; can I really compare a social website to shooting up, eating a whole (large) bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos or drinking seven White Russians? Fb won’t make me become a tweeker, fat or help me justify dancing on tables, but what is this strong desire that keeps pulling me back? Is it the strange sort of connection I feel to 20 close friends and 360+ semi-acquaintances?
Urge #4, it’s 12:03am, the neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking. I’m thinking everyone I know should know this detail of my rude neighbor and their dog’s behavior, no?
June 20, 2010
I’ve almost made it 24 hrs since I last checked fb and would you like to know what my 1st thought was? “Hey, that would be a great status update!”
OK, so now we get to the moral of the story. Here’s what I learned; I don’t need it.
I don’t think I need to go to extremes and delete my profile, I just needed to apply some of the suggestions out there. All it took was 2 minutes to sit down and ask myself “what am I using this site for?” Once I figured out how to budget how much time I wanted to spend doing those things, after accomplishing them, I could log off and not worry anymore.
I also figured out that I could survive without fb and the fb community could survive without me. I thought when I came back I would be behind and out of the loop. I thought I would have 10,000 updates I would have to take care of. Truth is I didn’t really miss much and I had a few updates but nothing too crazy.
Have I exceeded my facebook budget? Of course, I mean I’m not going to go cold turkey here. For the most part though I’ve been much more mindful with how I spend my time. Besides, it’s summer. Time to stop staring at a computer screen and get my ass outside to take more pictures like this: