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Monday August 9, 2010 5:53 pm

My Struggle With Facebook Addiction

Facebook addiction

To the artist, distractions are all too familiar. Often times rearing their ugly head under clever guises to fool you. The Victorian poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Lady of Shallot, symbolized the quandary that writers and others of a creative nature face - to watch the world or to live within it. It used to be that the most prevalent form of distraction to the creator came in the form of booze, drugs, and other destructive vices. However, in the digital age distractions invade our personal space with the dexterity of pop up ads. Charming and inviting as they may be, submitting to these distractions sends productivity packing back to the assembly lines.

As I sit here writing this in between drags of a cigarette, I can’t help but think about all the distractions that come to light when working day in and day out on a computer. The main culprit (besides philosophy and smoking) is none other than Facebook (dun dun dunnn!). I’m sure there are more than a few of you out there that have fell prey to the time consuming nature of the social networking phenomena. To remedy my ailment I even went so far as to deactivate my Facebook. But it was short lived.

Prior to deactivating my account, I found myself constantly interrupting my work to engage in pointless Facebook excursions. It wasn’t unusual to wander around lost in the tangled web of my friends’ status updates and pics, while searching for things to “like”. “Ooh, I like ‘chewing on [my] straw after [I’m] done drinking out of it’, too!” Overtime, my Facebook habits began to rival the creepiness of that neighbor who stares out his window all day peering at passerbyers. “Hey, honey! Come here a second! Can you BELIEVE what car Willy is driving now? And he has the nerve to always make me pick up the check! Hmph!”. Yup, I became that guy. Commenting to myself and others around me about the stupidity of everyone else’s status updates. “No one cares if you’re about to go to Tropical Smoothie before work, shaddup!”.

Time was constantly slipping away from me, as was productivity. My Facebook habit had taken a turn for the worst, prepping me for life as an old man with nothing better to do than pry on others’ personal affairs. It took me awhile to get up the courage to sever the ties of social networking, but the dragon finally succumbed to one swift strike from my enter key! Well, more like several swift keystrokes, as Facebook wanted to assure that I was making the right choice. At one point, my good ol’ buddy FB even tried to guilt me into staying by pleading to my emotional side and informing me that my friends are “going to miss you, Johnny!”. Needless to say, tears were shed.

Upon deactivation I immediately felt a weight rise from my shoulders like a leaf uplifted in the gentle spring breeze. Productivity levels spiked to enormous heights, and I found much more time to engage in other neglected hobbies. I had relieved myself from the clutches of a full blown social networking addiction. But how long would prosperity reign on my kingdom?

During my first few Facebook-less days I caught my mind wandering off wondering what my Facebook friends were updating. I found myself out of the loop, disengaged, but strangely lucid. While my friends were updating their status and creeping on “frenemies”, I was being a productive member of society.

Productivity is overrated.

I would have much rather been involved with the social networking that consumes countless hours of my time, than to be without it. I would just have to be able to learn how to control it, in the manner that serial killers controls their blood lust. They can’t always fight it, but some days are better than others.

In light of this, I reactivated my Facebook account to find a much different place than the one I left. My, how things have changed in a month! My little virtual cornucopia was back in new fashion, having became even more streamlined than ever before. I indulged myself. People’s lives had changed, some for the better, others for the worst. New profile pics confused me. It was like being frozen in 1995 and being reawakened in 2010. The digital world moves fast. Now that I’m back, I feel all alone in a world that has long since forgotten about me. Though, I can’t help but find some consolation in that little white bar that always wants to know what’s on my mind. And on that note, status…updated!

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