Monday, 19 January 2015

Good and bad in the Post-Facebook Era.

So those readers o mine who are my friends on crackbook might have noticed that I have gone AWOL.

It all came about when I read an article on FebFast. Traditionally FebFast was about giving up alcohol for a month (!). Now they have gotten canny and you can detox from anything - sugar, junk food and social media.

It got me wondering about my use of it. I am on it multiple times per day. First thing in the morning and before sleep. It's so accessible. Going to the webpage was just something I did, like a twitch. Type F into the browser and autocomplete takes you straight to the page. Often the first thing I did when I felt stressed or overwhelmed (which is often during thesis-writing) was press F on the browser. Often without any particular thought process.

I am self-aware enough to know that I am a bit given to impulsive behaviours (these things being partly genetically determined and governed by dopamine), especially when stressed. And, to tell the truth, I probably was/am addicted to Facebook. Partly as an escape, a procrastination method, or from FOMO.

I decided quickly (impulsively?) that the best thing to do would be to go cold turkey. When pushing the F button become so automatic, a slow wean would not do.

I have heard psychiatrists say that, when they counsel addicts, they often ask them the good things about their addiction. Here are mine:

  • Keeping in touch with people.
 There are my beautiful internet friends (you readers) who I don't often get to see, who I miss. But hey, there is blogland? And liking a status or sending a quick message/wall post - well, it just doesn't take that much effort, does it. And all those who matter most have my mobile number or email address, or blog address, or can even drop round to mine for a cuppa. And you know what? I don't miss the people who can't.

I have cousins who are on facebook. I only know them as they are now from facebook, and I wouldn't know how to contact them outside of that. And, as harsh as that sounds, I am ok with that.
  • Stalking people from my high school
Seeing who got married, who had kids, who got fat. I am more entertained than I care to admit by the romantic escapades of a now divorced mother of four who has met a new fella and is living it up (good on HER). However, most of  the kids with whom I attended high school were arseholes, and judging my an ill-advised attendance at a high school reunion in 2011, they still are! My high school friends are still my friends.

  • Some genuinely funny/heartwarming/happy status updates, and lovely photos. I miss them. But I can deal with that, because I can see most of those people IRL (in real life).
  • Sometimes I just want to share my thoughts, however, it is not actually essential that I share them!

  • Videos like this
Dogs, cats and Pharell's Happy. Some of my favourite things. This is the best thing ever. 

And the things I am relishing now:

  • More time!
Oh my god I have more time! I can write my thesis for good chunks, without too much distraction! That is wonderful and empowering! I get to work earlier!

And I have time to blog! 

  • Less overload/overwhelm
We are all at risk of being overwhelmed by things, things that might get our attention and might even get us worked up, but that don't really matter. The idiots sledging Muslims/gays/overweight/single mums and the poorly worded arguments that came after. The poor spelling. The detoxes and fat cures in the side bar (and in my feed). Passive aggressive status updates.

  • Less of a need to vet myself.
I sometimes had to think long and hard before I put up a status update. Sometimes I took it down. It made me a bit self-conscious. I think self-monitoring is generally a good thing, but, again, my friends know who I am, and I don't need to vet myself as much in front of them.

Et tu?
Pros and cons of FB?  What do you like and not like?


  1. Cilla, good thoughts in your post...I am older than you so FB came pretty late into my life. I have two: both are nom de plumes...I know...what is that about...
    One is my dog - one is a Flora a 'business' page I love... I don't have many friends on either. I look at them a bit, but I don't post anything really interesting. I have one 'friend' who hardly returns calls, never visits, doesn't go out of her way for anyone but always posts those meme things about 'looking after yourself' being 'true' 'abundant' 'generous' or whatever. That sort of posting gets on my goat!!! LOL.

    1. oooh I hate those stupid memes. And they are usually mis-spelled.

  2. As you know I shut it down. It's taken a lot of my friends around 4 months to notice, and some haven't noticed I've gone at all. I miss keeping up with friends and family overseas and interstate so easily… but frankly the negatives way outweighed the positives. I found myself getting more annoyed by both Facebook (all the ads, all the sponsored posts, the fact that everyone else could see what I was liking or commenting on…), plus posts people would write that were just factually wrong, or insensitive to anyone else's religious/ cultural/ socio economic background that might be reading. Essentially it was noise and background chatter that is better to tune out of for both mental clarity and sanity. In the end I didn't need to know all the stuff written on Facebook, and they don't need to know all that I was doing either.
    Hope the thesis flows smoothly, and don't get tempted by Facebook. Seriously, after a month you wouldn't even notice it's gone.

  3. Good for you, Cilla!

    I have a love hate relationship with Facey.

    I've been trying to wean myself off it and now I'm there in fits and starts.

    What I have said goodbye to indefinitely, though, are private chat groups there. Things can get pretty intense on them. I also feel that I often don't have the dedication to give posts in the groups the attention that they deserve.

    SSG xxx

    1. I have seen some mummy groups going head to head on there. It's both awkward and fascinating to see.

  4. I don't use Facebook too often, but it's nice to keep in touch with old friends. I had a friend contact me on Facebook to ask for my address, so she could send a card she wrote me 10 years earlier that she'd found in a clean up!!!

  5. I really need to try this. My latest vice however is Instagram. I need to spend much (MUCH) more time studying but the days just fly on past because all my (not so) free time is spent scrolling.
    I really am addicted.