Experiment: Facebook rehab
Chances are, if you’re a close friend of mine, we’re probably friends on Facebook. And if you’re my friend on Facebook, you know that I spend plenty of time there. Recently though, my addiction has begun to weigh heavily on me. One of my best friends had given up Facebook access as a sacrifice for Lent 2010, describing the website as “crack.” I’ve come to see it the same way. I can no longer ignore or deny that I’m addicted to this website. One of the worst things about it? That’s it’s not even just confined to being a website anymore–it’s on my phone too. For God’s sake, it’s EVERYWHERE. So I check in “real quick”–in quotes, because it’s most often never quick–ALL the time. The most common letdown is that usually, it turns out that nothing exciting has happened in the last 120 seconds (the amount of time that has lapsed since I last looked).
Of course, the very nature of Facebook is designed to keep you hooked. Hyperlinks everywhere, in the form of random faces that you want to click on. Quite often, before you know it, you’ve got twenty tabs open and you’re making mental notes to return to this person’s profile and that person’s picture album. Yada yada yada, so goes facebook’s never-ending story.
And the games? Forget it. I made the mistake of starting to play an online facebook game called Restaurant City, a Sims-esque restaurant-focused game. The “goal” of the game is to build your restaurant, decorate it, hire people and keep them fed, and master all of the food and drink dishes that you serve. The problem is that this game is an online form of soap opera–there’s no end in sight; the goal is to never reach an end goal. This game keeps sending more and more novelties to settle and colonize my mental landscape. It’s become quite the time suck. How bad has it gotten? This bad: I created a whole secondary profile just to play this game. Fake Me’s restaurant was supposed to be a place from which Real Me could siphon off whatever I needed. But Fake Me wanted more. Fake Me’s restaurant is now more ornate and grandiose than Real Me’s restaurant is. The energy, time and focus needed to run Fake Me and Real Me’s restaurants is staggering.
Long story short, it’s all just too much for me now and I’m about to short-circuit. So I’ve decided to cut it out for a month. I know it’ll be hard–I love seeing what everyone’s up to, checking out friends’ and relatives’ pictures, and making my restaurant pretty, but the truth is that this one website keeps me from being engaged in what’s really going on around me. I check in too often when I could be doing more productive/meaningful things. So I’ll be deleting the phone app for the month, and I’ll block the website on my computer temporarily. Facebook is one of the main places where I advertise my blog posts, so I’ll have to find some way around that little issue–I’ll probably just click “Share on Facebook” directly from my blog posts so that I’m not tempted to log into my account, but I sincerely hope that my friends keep on reading anyway.
So if you need to reach me, you can do so outside facebook. I look forward to reporting from a more peaceful, self-aware mindset 😉