Some say that quitting Facebook is much like quitting smoking. The first few days are the hardest and then it starts to even out. Why is it that so many struggle with facebook. Maintaining their time, growing away from the need for attention and self validation. Probably because once bitten by the facebook bug its hard to break away.
Through talking to a few members of facebook, that didn’t have facebook when they were kids and decided to get one after 40, I’ve found that they don’t seem to struggle with the same procrastination time eating experiences as the younger population. This is because the older population did not have facebook in their college/high school years and don’t use it for self validation, attention and raising their number of “likes.” Instead, members like my parents, don’t even think of facebook as an online attention sight but instead as an invitation to connect with people they haven’t talked to in years. For this reason I think Facebook is nice, our parents and their parents never had the easy access to keep in touch with friends from elementary school or high school. Now, they can find each other and get back in touch, what a gift. As for the younger population, the ease of keeping in touch has us at upwards of 1,000+ friends, which means more images to scroll past on the news feed and more likes to acquire. Even though we are probably actually friends with about 20 of those people. It is impossible to be friends with over 150 people according to the Dunbar number, a research done on social relationships. More specifically, It is impossible to actually have a relationship with over 150 people. So those 850 extra people that we aren’t actually friends with, only add to the attention necessitating, image validation problem because it gives us unrealistic expectations for the attention we receive.
Why is it that now, anytime we have a good meal, are in a good mood, or are out with friends we have to share it on our profile. We all know that some part of us can’t help it, we want to spread the news that we are having a good time. OR that we are having a bad time, we write statuses with emoticons displaying how we feel and what our emotion is at that moment. Most likely fishing for some kind of positive words from others or just to alert the general facebook public that we are unhappy. Why? I have no idea. But it is so ingrained in our minds now that we don’t even notice that it’s a part of us. We feel this need to post and comment like we feel a need to eat and sleep.
When I sit in class, or on the school bus, almost 9 out of 10 people are scrolling through facebook with their head down. Did you know there is even a word for a muscle in your thumb hurting due to too much scrolling on facebook. It’s called “facebook thumb” or commonly known as tendinitis.
I went a year without facebook during my freshman and sophomore year of college. It was amazing. Amazing in the sense that I cut that source of procrastination out of my life. I no longer craved to see what the feed was full of. I totally forgot about it within about a week. Of course though I did experience the issue that is unavoidable these days. I did not get invited to as many events, (because most of those are made on fb). My parents weren’t as well informed about my life as they were before. They would call and comment, curious about my weekend and my friends, sharing my pictures with the family, but we’re a bit disappointed when they could no longer do that. Facebook has this way of bringing relatives closer, even though it may not be a real face to face interaction, they get to see more of you then they would otherwise. So I ended up logging in again, but the second time I was more in control. Since I went a year without it I didn’t jump right back into getting on all the time. But now two years later, graduation on the horizon, I find myself scrolling to often and feeling like I’ve lost time. Time I feel I could have spent doing something better. Better for my mind, better for my back and especially my eyes. Not watching a screen, or bending over a computer.
So like I said, it is a love, hate relationship. I researched and found that if you use Google Chrome you can download a simple app for free called “Stay Focused.” It allows you to add a timer to certain sites so you can only visit them for a certain amount of time each day. I am giving my self 10 minutes a day for Facebook. As for other sites, I really don’t go to any others on a regular basis so it’s just Facebook for now.
I definitely recommend this app to anyone that wants to cutback on their Facebook use. I wish I could say that I am able to control it myself but the repetition of feeling bad about lost time proves that something could be done to help make the control easier and me happier!
Make changes for a better you,