My dad asked (who, although more computer savvy than I, has never used FB) me a good question at lunch…he asked, ‘so I see from your daily comic you’re still struggling with Facebook, and I remember your therapist told you to quit, and you did but only for a few days (It was 2 weeks! – ed) so, why do you use it, if it causes you so much greif? What does it get you?
Well that was a great thing to ask that I don’t think people often ask themselves in this day and age, we blindly reach for our apps, for our internets, for our phones, we don’t question how its improving the quality of our lives from NOT using those things. It’s just what everyone does nowdays, except for people too poor to do it, or people like my dad or my friend S, consciously opting out.
Another thing is that I’ve been compulsively using social applications long before FB. I was the most compulsive LiveJournal-er of alll tiiime, and I abused twitter, Friendster, and MySpace before I got heavily into FB. Once the rest of the world followed suit, it got that much more addictive. And upsetting. The internet used to be my little tropical isle, now it’s like standing in the aisle of walmart. So. Many. People! And so many worldviews and approaches to disagree about. Now, it helps that I’ve only had a couple jobs in the course of my life that I was actually interested in. Most of my days I am literally just killing time, trying to find something to amuse me, be I unemployed or in yet another temp job.
Another thing is that in life as on facebook, I have a terrible time saying NO, YOU SUCK, GO AWAY, THAT’S STUPID, etc. I’ve always been a friend to people who have no other friends, even when I really don’t enjoy the friendship. I’ve always said yes to people to the point it ruined my own health. I’m making active changes to stop doing this stuff because it eats at me. Would I be better off not on facebook? Is it teaching me these skills, or just throwing into releif how bad I am because now there’s 1000 people trying to tell me what to do, instead of 10? I can’t unfriend or block people who are well meaning, even if they’re pissing me off constantly – I feel too guilty.
I took two weeks off of FB last month, and I was calmer, I was also bored. I got more done on blogs, on flickr, on the phone, I made more meaningful IRL connections. But I wanted my quick easy fix. I felt lonely and out of the loop, everyone forgot I was around. I came running back.
So for once I’m not just telling people what I think, I honestly want to know what other people think. I know why unemployed/bored at work/at home with kids/etc check it. Why do other people check it? What gifts does it bring you, how does it make your life better? And if you use it moderately, checking it once a week or once a month, do you feel compelled to use it more often but resist? Or is there not much of a lure there for you?
Im thinking really for reals about quitting, after not being able to think of many things it brings to my life that aren’t illusory. I’ve made some good friends but I’ve ended more friendships than earned new ones, on facebook. I’ve sorted out some issues but I think I’ve caused myself some stress I didn’t need to have.