Fighting the Facebook Frenzy

Self on 12.13.12
Contributing Writer bio

Photo: west.m/Creative Commons

Facebook and I have a tumultuous relationship. We’ve separated and gotten back together several times. After a year apart, I reactivated my account last March in order to promote my blog. It was tough to do because I liked being a non-conformist, the only person I knew who wasn’t on Facebook. I consoled myself by believing it was a career move of sorts, a way to notify lots of people about my new writing project. It worked magnificently and, over the last nine months, I’ve been able to grow my readership dramatically through Facebook.

The only problem, however, is that I’m slowly feeling myself getting sucked back into the vortex. I feel the hungry, insatiable curiosity about other people’s lives returning; I’d lost much of it during my hiatus and, when it did strike, I’d call them for a chat instead of looking at their pictures for two minutes and jumping to conclusions about their wellbeing. Because it’s so easy to check up on acquaintances with a mere click of the mouse, I’m becoming more disconnected from them.

Most uncomfortable of all is the time I waste on Facebook. As a stay-at-home mom who’s busy with the usual repetitive tasks of raising kids and managing a household, my laptop beckons like an alluring siren. My Facebook newsfeed can spice up my life ever so slightly with sneaky, vicarious glimpses into other people’s lives, but it’s a dangerously addictive and fleeting sensation. That newsfeed is both a refreshing reminder that there’s a larger world beyond the walls of my home and an instant depressant. Knowing a friend just got her dream job after graduating while I’m still changing diapers, or hearing about another person’s fun party life when I crash every night by 10 p.m. and feel like a loser while doing so, or seeing someone’s pictures from a luxurious resort in southern Thailand when the big outing for my day was a trip to the grocery store don’t help to boost my personal happiness.

I couldn’t put my finger on what irritated me most until I saw this post called “How Facebook Is Making You Boring.” This is exactly what I’ve been feeling. Because of time wasted on social media of all kinds, people – and I include myself here – are failing to develop other areas of interest. Sometimes I’m so busy checking Facebook for ten or fifteen minutes that I’ve lost that chance to read my book, play some music, try a new recipe, work on a creative non-fiction story, even go outside for a walk – and all for what? To find out how someone feels about doing the dishes. It’s not worth it because I don’t want to stop making myself an interesting person because I’m too busy peeking at what others are doing. Not only is it creepy, it’s just plain dumb, so I’m now placing limits on myself: twice a day max, which should free up time for other things, even if it’s just being alone with my thoughts.  

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