When you hear someone say “Oh, I’m not on Facebook”, what follows is usually the look of utter confusion. It’s like telling me you don’t have a cell phone or that you’re still a virgin. It just doesn’t make sense in my brain.
Since I’ve gotten my smart phone (this year) I know I have been addicted to it. I check it constantly, I update Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. I google everything. I became the annoying person that I loathe so much. The one who is nose down, ignoring friends at dinner, walking into people on the sidewalk, getting up to check notifications in the middle of the night.
For the record… I am not that important. People will not die if I don’t post that hilarious photo of a cat dressed as a pirate. Cities will not fall if I don’t respond to that Facebook message immediately.
But why do we do it? Why must we be attached to these expensive little gadgets that consume every spare moment we have. There is no doubt that Facebook doesn’t have it’s benefits:
- Some people make a living off of it.
- As a blogger it is very helpful.
- As the Marketing Director of my taekwondo club, I need to use social media fairly often.
- Facebook makes planning events for large crowds SO easy.
- Passing the time on the train.
- Keep in touch with long distance friends and family.
You’ve probably read hundreds of articles about technology addiction. I was aware of it and I swore if I became annoying to friends or family or became so reliant on it, I would pump the breaks.
And guess what, I’m annoying. Definitely to my friends, probably my family, but mostly… I annoy the shit out of myself. I blame it mostly on being so late to the game on getting a smart phone. The newness of having a device that I can be in constant contact and have endless access to information is so appealing. While people were hopped up on wifi and instagram years ago, I JUST turned in my dinosaur flip phone and got a smart phone a few months ago. The newness is still very much there. But the curve is off. So while my friends have learned smart phone etiquette and no longer are excited about their brand new toy, I am smack dab in the middle of bragging to my friends “Hey did you guys know that my camera phone has FILTERS?”
So if I looked at what I actually did on Facebook, it was mostly just post photos of my cat being adorable, posting selfies, youtube music videos, liking my the same 20 peoples stuff over and over and brainlessly scrolling through stuff I am not connected to. I could waste hours on Facebook, to do absolutely nothing.
A few months ago, I decided to install the StayFocusd extension on my work computer. And I blocked it all. Every time consuming website I went to, I blocked it. Reddit, Buzzfeed, 9gag, all of tumblr, twitter, pinterest, Facebook. I never had a problem getting my work done, but now it’s like I have super powers.
Then I put my phone in my purse in my cabinet on the other side of my desk. So I don’t check it every 5 minutes OR use it to go on FB.
So far so good. Until I realized people actually do need to reach me in the middle of the day. Like my parents, or my sick Nana, or a locked out roommates or taekwon-emergencies. So I started keeping my phone closer to me. The it turned back into slowly creeping back to check notifications and reading funny stories. I’ve found a good balance. It is mostly out of arms reach, but I try to check my texts if possible and just STAY off the web.
Then I got a phone call from my Nana asking if I was pregnant. I am not. But someone from ‘the facebook’ told her they saw it on my wall. Inaccurate. Then I get to see people posting rude things about me on other walls. Then I get phone calls, emails or texts about why I didn’t like something on someone else’s wall. I also strongly dislike being ‘tagged’ in place. I do it myself here and there, if they’re big events. It makes me uneasy that people can know where I am at all times. This intangible life of photos, words, coding and “friends”, has an awful big impact on my tangible life.
So why devoting so much time to this website community that I’m not really into? Welp, I haven’t figured that out yet. Addiction maybe? Habit?
It’s already caused conflict and confusion for friends in term of planning events. I had to send out a mass text to my family to let them know I’m not dead, but I’m just deactivating facebook. I made that mistake the first time and an Amber Alert went out (joke). The first time I went ‘off line’, I was just depressed and wanted nothing to do with anyone. This time is different. I want MORE to do with friends and family.
Part of me feels like I forgot to do something. It’s part of my morning and night routine. So before I leave the house it feels like I left the coffee pot on. And when I go to bed it feels like I forgot to pay a bill. This is not good. But the upside is more phone conversations, more actual plans made instead of ‘lets get drinks one day!”. And I have seriously done a lot.
But if a tree falls in the forest, and you don’t post about it on Facebook…does it actually happen?
Life most certainly happens offline. I loved the approval, the ‘likes’, the comments (even the rude ones), on the things I posted about. But the sudden urge to share good news with 500 of my closest friends is still there. What do I do now!?
Maybe…. I’ll just tell my best friends and my Mom. Or a co-worker. Or someone else I see every day. It’s more meaningful and your status update is only in someone’s immediate newsfeed, for what, an hour? It’s likely they’ll never even see your super awesome cool thing.
(BTW: Dana, Krol, Mom: I just made my last payment on my student loan that I’ve been paying for ten years. It’s done!)
So far, in 3 days I have:
- Started another painting
- Gave a long presentation in my Grad Class
- Bought tickets to Bret Michaels
- Got my taxes done
- Started a book to read on the train instead of looking at my phone
- Finally wrote a blog post
- Watched a bunch of movies I’ve been meaning to
- Discovered who Ronda Rousey is….and she has become my new idol.
More to come, but I’m starting to enjoy being FB Free.