Facebook has a lot of value to a lot of people. But like anything too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Facebook, like cigarettes, is made to be addictive. Scientists at the company figure out ways to keep you coming back, to have you have ways to come back and share and basically remember of Facebook all the time. It is designed to be an addiction and like any addiction, it can wreak havoc upon many lives.
I’ve tried to log out, to use programs that lock me out, to give myself a daily quota and nothing worked. The more I tried the more I failed and the more productivity suffered the more I wanted to leave but could not. Somehow through messenger, events, need to post and keep up on the many groups I created, I kept on coming back and just like with “just one cigarette”, “just one post” I arrive and spend hours searching, posting, looking up profiles and doing that which our brain is made to do, seek information about those around us and provide them with information and get their feedback through likes and comments.
Then one day there was the incentive. Two things cause people to change: inspiration and desperation, I had been desperate but not enough, but finally I had inspiration. I learned how Facebook refused to take down videos and tutorials for terrorists in Israel who showed in those videos how to more effectively kill people. In essence Facebook was ok with terrorist members of Facebook teaching other terrorist members to kill Israeli members of Facebook. Somehow that sat well with their community standards but my satirical post about Bibi continuing war in Israel was not.
So I made my last post and said that’s it. “I boycott for a week.” I had to make sure my tweets would not end up on Facebook, I had to make sure that no presence of me was on Facebook as it is impossible to truly check out but I had to do my best.
First day wasn’t as tough as one would think. Every urge to post on Facebook I replaced with posting on twitter. Twitter doesn’t have the same friend interaction. Maybe if they had a friend channel that would work better but at the same time, because they don’t have that, and because i can’t make posts longer than 140 characters, because I have to think how I make a post, it becomes less of a time suck.
The first day was spent in meetings and rushed by and only several times did I accidentally log-in or stare at that blue screen of death to quickly close it.
I missed the posting at that point most of all and that dopamine rush from having feedback on my posts. Since every post gets a like or two.
I survived day one however and was able to go onto day two.
Day two was tougher. I was afraid I’d forget why I did this but I didn’t. My morning routine altered a bit. I could no longer stream and check out the different stories and check out the likes. I did cheat in a way, check out the updates or if anything was important or messages but I didn’t respond to any likes or comments and didn’t respond to messages on fb and logged out within ten seconds and considered that a success.
I had to work around some things, like using evite for an event I was putting on which was easier than I thought especially for inviting people as I was able to import emails and not being able to put in a picture did not seem that big of a deal.
As I drove I had the urge to check facebook but I held off and that made my driving easier since I did comment and like and browse fairly often while driving which is dangerous. I also realized that not using facebook made it easier to not text also. It’s like facebook was a gateway drug. I made it through day two and posted my accomplishment to twitter and continued with my more productive life.
As usual I wanted to check in the morning and had to resist. The withdrawls were certainly there and I say and read news and watched videos on other sites for sometime. I noticed myself going to facebook as soon as I turned on the computer or opened a browser nd having to close it.
I noticed a few times during work when exasperated with a tough problem going to facebook and beginning to browse but getting out of it fairly quickly as most people around me knew at this point about my fight.
I even asked for help from friends by asking them to check details of events so I didn’t have to even though I could.
I left the phone logged in just to give that lifeline but I rarely would use it. One of the things that was tough was contacts. I couldn’t reach many of the people because our contact was only on Facebook. Also some conversations on facebook included information I needed so I’d have to go in and do that. However all outwardly signs of my botoctt continued and while first day had 32 missed notifications, day 4 only 12. Slowly but surely, Facebook world was starting to forget me but for me the fight continued.
The struggle continues although I no longer think of using Facebook in the morning or for communication. I sometimes get a desire to look someone up who I communicated with by email or LinkedIn but realize that is a somewhat shallow thing but at the same time recognize how much more information there is on one another than before, and how it is available but only if you login. At the same time, it is amazing to see people I crossed paths with, who I’d never really keep up with but see their progress through life that I can’t do if I’m not on Facebook. I realize that they inspire me to do more, to travel more, to read more and I to them.
Day five is the weekend, and in a way that is when you have the most free time and thus the most desire to login, catch-up, browse, give friends that bit of endorphin by liking their progress in life and share your thoughts, feelings and progress as well. I logged in for a second and saw that a friend proposed. Maybe it is because we are on facebook that we don’t interact enough for me to text to tell me, but I saw it and it made me happy and I texted him. Maybe if I was just on Facebook, I’d comment and like but texting allowed the more personal touch.
Me: Congrats buddy! So happy for you man!
Matt : Thanks so much man! Watch out for a save the date 🙂
Facebook is a tool, and just like I like beer and a cigar here and there, it is the advertisement and nicotine they put in to make us abuse that substance that is bad. Facebook is really great on so many levels. Never could I imagine advertising in such a cheap and effective way. For 20 bucks I can reach 2,000 with a video or graphic ad and only those who love Star Wars on Tuesday. That’s an amazing power to promote but at the same time it relies on people being on all the time and to do that implies manipulation of our most vulnerable part of our brain, the ID, the feeling, the primordial instinct over which we have little control.