The Facebook Revelation

Okay, I remembered what it was that I forgot during yesterday's post. Kinda glad I momentarily forgot it because it deserves it's own post. I need to get better about separating what I write about and try and stick with themes so my posts don't turn into tangled messes like it was yesterday. Anyway...

For the month of May I've banned myself from Facebook. Taken it off my phone, off my bookmark tab, cut it out of my internet routine entirely. Big whoop-di-doo right? Yeah I know, sounds super silly.

My problem with Facebook is that I'm a very compulsive person and Facebook presents all this seemingly important information on the people I know, events going on in my area that it thinks I should care about and gives me an opportunity to broadcast my mental goings on. It's a very dangerous time sink for me. The thought will cross my mind, "hmmm...I wonder what's going on in facebook-land?" and I'll check. Of course, 9.8 times out of 10, it's clutter, something I didn't need to know or don't care about. Sometimes there will be an interesting TEDTalk posted, or a friend invites me to an event I'm interested in, or an update really catches my attention. But usually it's just mental clutter, extraneous information that I'd be better without.

Furthermore, my compulsion was turning into an OCD. Five minutes would go by and I'd wonder "Hmm...I wonder what's going on in facebook-land?" Guess what...nothing new! But I'd check anyway, multiple times a day, just because I could. My new phone didn't help either. Running Android and rocking all the applications that go with it ment I had easy access to unlimited distractions right in my pocket. I was taking pictures and uploading them from my phone, updating on the go and reading people's statuses anywhere I had signal. Although I'm making a bigger deal out of it here than it probably was, but my compulsions were starting to bother me.

So when my friend Alex challenged his friends to give up Facebook for the month of May, I took him up on it. So far, I can say that I haven't missed much. The people that matter to me know my number so we've kept in touch as much as we needed that way. I've had time with fewer distractions to do more things that do matter to me, like planning my trip, getting ready for graduation, taking dance classes and getting back into the studio (after I cleaned it, go me!). My productive time has felt less segmented and my attention span has improved. yes the impulse to check is still there, but it's going away. The extra information that I didn't realize I didn't actually care about isn't getting in the way of things I do care about. It's kinda spiffy.

So while none of this is probably new to anyone else, it's interesting to me. Some people use Facebook religiously, some people can't imagine life without Facebook even though a few short years ago (which is like dog years in technology) we didn't have Facebook, it wasn't a mass marketing tool and we weren't delusional enough to think that what we had for breakfast is really all that interesting to the 200+ people we call "Friends".

They say it takes 3 weeks to form a habit, I wonder how long it takes to break oneself of one like this. Come June I'm hoping that I'll be broken of this obsessive curiosity and stick to this limited intake of social information. I'm also hoping that my social calendar gets a little more under control and I make more time for myself. We'll see.