Oh Facebook…I Just Can’t Quit You

Recently two friends decided that they were going to quit Facebook. I admire their resolve, and the time has come for me to make a decision about my own Facebook future.  I am ambivalent, though.

I just looked–I have 691 friends…except, I don’t really.  342 of them are former students.  Of that number, some have become my friends in adulthood.  I have fondness for them all, and I’m glad to know that they are doing well, but we aren’t friends outside the FB world.

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Nearly 200 are people I knew in high school–now, many of those are still good friends, but certainly not all 200.

I am proud to say there are only about 10 people on the list I have never met.

There are a lot of positive things about FB:

  1. I can easily post pictures for my families in Florida and Michigan.  I know I could use Flickr or some such site, but this FB provides a really accessible photo album. 
  2. A few people, even though we haven’t been close friends in “real life”, have regular interaction online, and I would miss those “conversations”.  
  3. Some people post wonderful things that I love to read and am grateful that I don’t have to find myself (and I love memes).  
  4. WordPress makes it really easy to publicize my blog to 691 people.  
  5. When I have a need, such as the name of a good specialist, I get nearly instant feedback.  
  6. I find the two games I play regularly a nice way to relax (more on that later).
  7. There are days when it can be a really nice self-esteem booster.
  8. When I’m excited about something, it is a nice place to announce it.
  9. I often use FB messaging in lieu of email.
  10. Event invites are easy.

Now the negative:

  1. I feel enslaved to it at times.  I am always connected:  phone, computer, iPad.  
  2. I definitely spend more time on the couch with my “devices” than being active.
  3. I get annoyed at people I used to really adore, simply because of what they post or how frequently they update their status.  (One example:  Vaguebookers)
  4. The games that I like do suck a lot of time from my life (although the “limited lives” games are better than some  I found myself enmeshed in Castleville at one point…wow.  Talk about time-wasting).
  5. FB provides a false sense of reality…nobody looks that good, and is that happy all the time, right?
  6. Guilt:  I often feel like I should be doing this, or eating that, raising my kids this way or reading that book simply because of what my FB friends are doing.  (Note:  that isn’t always a bad thing)
  7. FB just isn’t always that interesting.

I often wonder, what did I do with all of that time before FB?

Well I exercised, for one.  And you know what?  Even if that were the only reason I quit or cut back, it would be worth it.  I want to be a good example for my kids, and being on my devices all evening just isn’t positive.  Yesterday, I decided to do some Pilates from a DVD my mother sent to me.  My youngest looked at me as if I were a stranger…what do you mean, mom is exercising?  Yikes!  And here’s another thing:  I am noticing that may students are having an increasingly more difficult time figuring out how to interact socially, and I’m starting to believe it has something to do with social media.  I won’t make any rash claims, and I realize I may just be getting old (“back in my day” actually comes out of my mouth from time to time), but I wonder.

What will I do with my free time?  Read more, exercise, spend more quality time with my children and husband, and knit.  I will work on my blog and perhaps write the book that has been knocking around in my head.

Will power is not my strong suit.  I can’t merely say, “I will only check FB once a day”.  It doesn’t work like that.  I will have to, I think, alter what FB means to me in my life and what it looks like.  I will likely pare down my friends list to family and close friends, with perhaps a hidden group of acquaintances with whom I need to and want to interact with occasionally.  I will keep myself available for messaging…former students can still use it to request letters of recommendation or ask grammar advice.

It feels a little bit like quitting smoking, or Diet Coke…which means it is definitely an addiction, at least for me.

Click her to take an unofficial Facebook addiction quiz…

A short article with the “Facebook Addiction Scale”

infographic

Click to actually be able to read this infographic

Do you battle with finding the proper place for Facebook in your life?

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