Facebook Fatigue, Friendship, and Focus

Came upon this article and I felt it was quite interesting..
Hmm…
food for thought indeed 🙂

Original Source: http://theextinctexistentialist.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/facebook-fatigue-friendship-and-focus/

I call it Facebook fatigue. It seems I develop a case several times per year. In the past it has led to the deletion of my Facebook account, and the urge to do so is upon me again. There are many factors that contribute to the development of this debilitating neurosis. Let’s discuss some of them.

1. Facebook games. These games are a ridiculous waste of time, but I can’t judge people for playing them because I also waste time, just not in the same way. The difference is that I’m not spamming my friends’ newsfeeds with updates on my time-wasting activities. These super-annoying notifications are easily disabled by the perpetrators and therefore entirely unnecessary. To combat this bothersome blight, it is possible to hide the games so as not to receive further updates, which I have done. Nevertheless, new games are continually overrunning my defenses and pillaging my newsfeed.

2. Sharing Of Private Information. Ok, I really don’t need constant updates about the progression of your diarrhea. Our society has almost completely removed any remaining barriers between public and private lives. I wonder if reality television is partly to blame. Certain things should not be broadcast to the entire world.

3. Public Displays of Affection. Flaunting relationships on Facebook is an egregious offense. I’m not talking about announcing engagements. That is perfectly acceptable. But “I love you, pumpkin” can be said in a private message. Or in a text message. Or on the phone. Or in a note. Or in an email. Or in real life. What purpose does it serve to write it publicly on Facebook other than to announce to everyone “Look at me! I’m in a relationship!”?

4. Obscure References. I am as guilty of this as anyone. I have written plenty of status updates that only a friend or two could understand. Why? I don’t know. It amused me. But I find I get annoyed when others do it (especially when I don’t get the reference), so I’ve stopped. What is the point? If you want to talk to a few friends, send them a private message, an email, or call them.

5. Negativity. I don’t want to read about how awful your life is again and again. We all have our burdens to carry. When going through rough times, there is nothing wrong with getting support from friends and family on Facebook, but it’s not fun to be around a consistently negative person.

6. Look at how awesome I am. I remember posting a status update that said something like this, “Listening to every Beethoven symphony in a row. Not going to attempt that with Haydn.” Wow, did you notice how sophisticated I am? Not only am I listening to classical music, but also I apparently know that Beethoven wrote only nine symphonies, quite listenable if you have a free afternoon, and that Haydn wrote slightly more than a hundred, a much more daunting task. I was basically posting “Hey, look at how smart I am!” Mea culpa.

7. We Are Boring. We need to be more judicious with our status updates. Why should others be interested in the mundane details of our daily activities? If we climb Mount Kilimanjaro or swim the English Channel, those are update worthy (please post pics). But buying a new pair of shoes and eating a salad for dinner are not. Once again, I wonder if reality television is to blame. Facebook gives us a platform for our own reality program. We believe we are captivating and that others are fascinated by our every move but, in reality, we are quite boring.

These are minor annoyances and easily ignored. In fact, I have only myself to blame for my Facebook fatigue. It goes like this: I log on to Facebook daily. I read every single status update. After a week or more, I dwell on the many productive things I might have done instead. I become frustrated with my lack of self-discipline, but I don’t struggle with the problem, I eliminate it completely. I delete my account. After a few glorious Facebook-free months, I miss my friends. I create a new account. I log on to Facebook daily… Like I said earlier, it’s a neurosis.

Facebook is an excellent way to stay in touch, but forgive me if I also think it the scourge of society. It seems to me that if we spend less time updating the world about our lives and reading about other people’s lives, we spend more time actually living. We can cultivate friendships face-to-face instead of maintaining superficial, virtual acquaintances. I would rather have a few strong relationships with friends I visit on a regular basis than 500 “friends” on Facebook. I realize this is not an either-or situation. We can have both. But I can’t shake the notion that somehow we might be better off without Facebook.

Not that some vague notion of mine means much. I have a constant internal struggle with the use of technology. I will occasionally even despair of the ubiquity of email. Whatever happened to letter-writing? It was an art form, a more personal mode of communication. I picture myself sitting upright in an old wooden chair, dipping my feathered quill in an inkwell as I begin my correspondence by candlelight. All the while, I am eating piping hot leftovers from the microwave and my cell phone is in my pocket. See what I mean? I glorify the past but am quite thankful for technology when it is convenient.

The truth is I have an addiction. I constantly check my email. I’m always glancing at my phone. I refresh blogs every few minutes for the latest update. I read each tweet on Twitter and as mentioned, every last status update on Facebook. Our constant connectedness creates a positive feedback loop with many short-term advantages. Refresh a blog and we are rewarded with an interesting new post. Check our email and we receive vindication in the form of a friendly message. Log on to Facebook and we are instantly aware of our friends’ and family’s activities. This can become problem.

There comes a point when we are no longer connected but are instead tethered and chained down to a rusty old anchor that runs on Windows Vista. Soon we are investing embarrassing amounts of time and energy feeding the addiction. This valuable time, so easily wasted, could be spent reading a book, playing a board game with friends, making a homemade meal, or enjoying some fresh air. You know, living. Once again, as in an older post, I am reminded of Thoreau’s words, “We must be careful we do not become the tools of our tools.”

I recently finished reading Focus, a new book by Leo Babauta of Zenhabits (a great site with wonderful tips to help simplify your life). Mr. Babauta is offering a free downloadable version of Focus at his site. At just over 120 pages, it is a quick read discussing the author’s philosophy for work, play, and life.

Inspired by the advice in this book, I am taking control of my connection addiction. Instead of checking my email twenty times per day, I am checking it perhaps two or three times per day. I have already started limiting the blogs I read to just a few of my favorites. As for Facebook, Saturday is my designated day for logging on. That’s right, just one day per week. And in an unprecedented move, Sundays are completely internet free.

I’ve only just begun these new changes, but I have already noticed the effects. Before, I would mindlessly log on to Facebook out of habit. I didn’t even think about it. It was part of my routine. Now I find that I can’t be bothered. There are too many other things that I would rather do. As I disconnect from the virtual world, I find myself more connected to myself and my immediate surroundings. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a letter to write.

Thanks for coming by,

Be Bless
Love,
Amanda

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About avnjl

Amanda is a lifestyle blogger who endeavours to better herself through reflective practises. She is known to be witty and analytical although at times she seems to be talking to herself. Cooking (food and literature) is therapeutic to her, so Indulge in her and perhaps drop her a note or two along the way? ;)

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