As I write this, most of you will have probably already checked your Facebook page at least five times today. I know I have – hell, I’ve probably checked in five times in the past hour. And I’ll probably check it many, many more times before this day is over.
It’s funny when you think back five years when Facebook just started showing its face (haha, PUNS) it was something that a lot of us weren’t on, let alone something we had even heard of. Some of us were just starting to wean ourselves off of MySpace, some of us were still sending actual emails to our friends and family. One thing for sure is that we probably didn’t expect Facebook to become as big a part of our lives as it has become today.
Of course there are the few people in our lives who aren’t on Facebook, but for most of us it’s just part of our daily routine: wake up, grab iPad, check Facebook, eat breakfast, get ready for work, check Facebook one more time, go to work. That’s pretty much my Monday-Friday. Hell, probably my weekends, too, minus the “go to work” part. Yet as I go through the motions of my day, checking FB whenever I get the chance, there’s something nagging at the back of my “I-made-it-29-years-without-FB” mind. Why am I so dependent on it????
I have tried more than once to break up with Facebook. I tell myself that it’s a waste of time, that I don’t really care about what so-and-so had for dinner, or how often so-and-so goes to the gym, or that so-and-so is suddenly in a relationship with “It’s complicated”. And I tell myself that most people don’t care about the random movie quotes that float around in my head, or the funny quip my daughter spouted out, or that I’m once again checking into Starbucks.
And lately I feel that Facebook is getting loaded down with ads, links, and shares that don’t hold any interest to me. Yes, I understand that you think that meme is hilarious and that you want to share it with the world, but that’s what Pinterest is for (don’t worry, I’m totally guilty of that, too). I understand that you think this article about why the government is secretly trying to destroy the world is interesting, but a lot of people don’t. Remember when Facebook was just status updates? Yeah, they may have been boring, but at least they didn’t make our entire news feed look like spam. Or a farm.
Lately I’ve come across lots of articles about people starting to leave Facebook because it was taking over their lives, and I’ve noticed some FB friends of mine appear less and less in my news feed, making me think that maybe they’ve died, but of course they’re just out having an actual life. But it just goes to show you that although FB may rule the world, it’s starting to prove that it shouldn’t rule our lives.
I think all these things on a regular basis, and yet I also remind myself why I actually like Facebook at the end of the day. I’m a total introvert, which means I’m not someone who’s just going to pick up the phone and call someone to talk. I’m not one who loves to go out with big groups of people and get my social on. I’m a writer for a reason – I communicate best through writing. I feel more comfortable when I can write to someone rather than meet them face to face, save most of my small group of friends.
So in a way, Facebook is a bit of a god-send for me. I’m able to talk to people I normally wouldn’t whenever I want. I can post something on someone’s wall without feeling like I’m going to have a total anxiety attack. And not a day goes by when I’m not thankful for this.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a love/hate relationship with social networking in general. We’re dependent on it because it keeps us connected to pretty much everything: friends, family, celebrities, news, etc, yet it can alienate us from the things we used to enjoy back before “social networking” became an actual term.
So where do you stand on all this? Are there ways to cut down on social network without completely losing touch on reality? And can an introvert socially survive on just emails?