About a week ago, I made the decision to get rid of my Facebook account–permanently. This is actually a little trickier than you’d think because while Facebook makes it super easy to “deactivate” an account, this is simply a temporary action which leaves your account very much alive and open and far too easy to reactivate (more about that later).
If you’re reading this now, you may be wondering why I’d do such a thing. After all, the whole world is on Facebook! And you’d be right…the whole world is on Facebook. I was shopping at Bath and Body Works yesterday and as I was browsing the lotions, notions, and Wallflowers, I overheard the clerk telling her customer about a home fragrance event at the store next week, and how she could just read more about it on the B&BW Facebook Event page. As if she knew, as a matter of fact, not speculation, that the customer was on Facebook–and she probably is.
So, getting back to the topic at hand, why did I do such a crazy thing and render myself Facebook-less? The truth is, because Facebook was actually making me a little crazy and RealLife-less. Yes, I am one of the few (I suspect far more than few) people for whom Facebook had become a serious time waster at least, and was turning me into a lonely, spiraling, addicted social media junkie at most. When I decided to stop the virtual world and get off, I Googled the term “Facebook Addiction” and was simultaneously shocked and relieved to find pages and pages of articles written on this topic, some of the best of which are…
Five Clues That You Are Addicted To Facebook
How To Defeat A Facebook Addiction
Understanding Facebook Addiction
And, of course, you probably remember the study completed by social scientists not long ago which found that Facebook can cause serious harm to teens…
Facebook Can Make Teens Sick, Study Says
Among the serious illnesses researchers say Facebook can cause in young people are anxiety, depression, insomnia, withdrawal from society, carpal tunnel syndrome, and poor academic performance. Yikes!
I’d argue that far more adults than we’d like to believe are being harmed in similar ways by Facebook. In the world of scientific research, studies must be controlled, and usually specific to a particular demographic group, which is, when it comes right down to it, the only group of people to whom the results can be logically correlated. That being said, my highly unscientific opinion on the matter is that these results can definitely be generalized to other demographic groups as well–namely adults. And, as the hard, social, and pop scientists often say in conclusion–further study could be useful in this instance. In fact, scientific convention stipulates that you actually have to say that in some form or fashion at the end of your written account of whatever study you’ve done. In this case, I really do think they are onto something.
Facebook isn’t inherently bad. It can and is for a lot of people, a useful tool in our busy lives for keeping in touch with everyone at once, getting back in touch with old friends, learning new things, sharing useful information, etc. But, for some of us (maybe a lot of us), it can become an illusory life that we escape into and live at the expense of our real ones. After all, on Facebook, there is always someone to “Like” everything we do, we can literally always put our best face forward and/or rub our successful and/or still pretty faces in the face of everyone who ever rejected us when we were in the out crowd in high school, and if we’re having an interpersonal conflict, we can just Block it, and the offending interperson, from our reality.
The lure of all of this, plus gift giving like it’s Christmas every day through various Facebook applications is highly seductive and deceivingly comforting. Who wouldn’t want to live in Facebook World??!! I know I did…but now I don’t. Because I guess I’ve finally, after a few years of being an increasingly addicted Facebook addict in denial, realized that I have neglected a lot of aspects of my real life in order to live virtually. I don’t have as many real life friends as I’d like, I haven’t read as many books as I wanted to read, or cultivated as many hobbies as I should have, or (and this is the worst part) spent as much time interacting with the people actually physically around me as I needed to. How could I, with my nose always in my laptop or my mobile phone, equipped with handy dandy Facebook App?
I won’t lie to you, it’s a hard habit to break. I often find myself doing something during the day that I could easily craft into a really witty and attention getting status update. And I miss that attention, and all the instant gratification of sugary sweet and decadent, albeit ultimately phony and one dimensional interaction with all my “Friends”. But, truth be told, all those Friends who really want to be my friends have an open invitation to email me, call me, or even :::gasp::: come visit me to really keep in touch. And, although that’s an aspect of my real world that I’d almost rather not put to the test because I’m a little afraid of what I might discover, time will tell if those connections I spent so much of my time and energy cultivating over the last few years will be lasting ones, or sadly and permanently deleted along with my former Facebook identity…
If you’re interested in jumping off the Facebook train too, not just deactivating temporarily for a short break, here are some clear, easy to follow step by step instructions: Jane! Stop This Crazy Thing!!!
Until next time…