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Friday, October 28, 2011

{The Facebook Fast}

For the month of October, I took a fast from Facebook.  I found myself completely addicted and spending hours upon hours on Facebook when I should be doing more productive things like study or write in this here blog, so I thought I would challenge myself to stay completely off of Facebook for the entire month.  So far, I've only been tricked a couple of times into opening up the webpage due to a link on Twitter or by searching for a business on Google and only coming up with their Facebook page.  

I've been tagged in posts, tagged in pictures, and have multiple new friend requests that I can't see.  It was frustrating not being able to see what people wanted with me, what event invitations I was missing out on, and of course, what everyone else was up to.  I became more active on Twitter, but it isn't the same.  What I miss most about Facebook is the interaction.  I can change my status and get a whole conversation going.  Additionally, most of my "friend" friends are not on Twitter.  My Twitter feed is mostly comprised of industry peeps, industry celebs (why yes, Duff Goldman from the show Ace of Cakes DID give me a shout out!), and news organizations.  While it provides me lots of useful information to follow these fine people, I think most of them don't know or care about what is going on with my life.  Some Facebook friends, on the other hand, really do seem to care.  

There are loads of people I consider "friends" due to the amount of online interaction between us who, turns out, were really only Facebook friends.  During this month, I've not spoken to many of them out here in the real world.  I honestly feel some relationships may have been set back due to my being "offline" FB.  My closest friends have said they can't wait until November so they can know what the heck I'm up to these days.  

And yeah, they don't really like it when I say "you can follow me @GreenGalTX on Twitter."  

My Addiction

I do pride myself on the fact that I always checked my email BEFORE checking Facebook first thing in the morning.  75% of Facebook users log on there first before checking their email and spend 6 hours a day browsing the site according to a survey I made up for the purposes of this blog post.  I am in front of a computer for at least 10 hours of every day and a tab with Facebook open was always my default webpage. To exemplify the extent of my addiction to Facebook, let me tell you about a dream I had about a week into my fast:

I'm planning a Switzerland.  The bride's name is Greta and I'm on my way to the venue, riding in the back of a horse-drawn wagon full of hay.  However, I realize that I need to get some important information from my email, so I pull out an iPad and turn it on.  Lo and behold, Facebook was already open! Being that I am in the middle of Switzerland in a wagon and no one is around, I stealthily sneak a peek at my newsfeed.  

Yes, I really had that dream.  It was a scene much like the one to the right, but it was me instead of that shaggy dog in the back.  And an iPad.  Sigh.

Anyway, my point is that the Fast did nothing but prove to myself that I have some self control and I can avoid Facebook if I want to (knowing is half the battle), but it really has not made me feel like I could do without it or afford to be on it less often.  I would miss so much in my friends' lives if I were to log off permanently.  Old friendships that were re-forged through the miracle of Facebook would be lost again.  I'd never be "in the know" on cool events.

My online life is an open book.  Read my info page and flip through some of my photos and you can pretty much know everything there is about me in 5-10 minutes.  This is both a good and a bad thing.  My long lost friends could catch up, but new friends gained an almost instantaneous intimacy that might have taken months or even years to cultivate.  I recently started dating someone this month and guess what?  We're not Facebook friends, at least not for another few days.  He's had to get to know me the old fashioned way...through Google chat and texting.  All joking aside, it's nice to be able to share facts about myself in the right circumstances and have him be continually surprised at my varied interests.  In a few days, all the mystery goes away when I get back on Facebook.  That is, unless I decide not to accept his friend request.  {mischievous grin}

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