/ facebook

Hi, my name is Michael, and I'm addicted to Facebook

I don't remember life before Facebook, and that bothers me. We recently went on a week long vacation, and while we were there, I never once checked my Facebook. Sure, it kept bugging me with updates to my phone (which then buzzed my smartwatch), so it was a constant annoyance throughout the trip. However, when I got back from vacation, I was on Facebook within minutes of walking in the door. I didn't even unpack first.

I suddenly felt rotten inside, a feeling I haven't felt since I was a teenager and experimented with an addictive drug. The morning after the party where I tried it, I was digging through the carpet in my parents' house trying to find a drug that I knew wasn't there. I knew it had done something to my brain and I didn't like it. I never touched it again. The same thing happened the other day with Facebook. Once I realized what it had done to me, the feelings I got with the instant gratification, I immediately decided to stop being a user.

Upon reflection, I now realize that much of my life was being driven by my Facebook interactions. I was filtering my life by what experiences would make good posts and which thoughts I would share later. It is crazy the effect Facebook has had on my personality. I was running every experience and thought through that Facebook filter in an effort to come up with the most clever post I could and save it for later when I could get to my phone or my computer and write the earth-shattering post. I would feel sad when my posts didn't get any likes and satisfied when lots of people liked my posts. Seriously, all they had to do was press the "like" button. It's not like they actually performed any task that was out of the ordinary or exceptional to show me how much they cared. They literally just clicked a button on a web page. I was guilty of the same thing. I would find myself liking someone's post because they had liked some of mine in the past. I was "paying them back" by clicking that silly button that means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.

I found that I was allowing my Facebook friends to influence what I spent my spare time on. I have a very diverse set of interests and I jump from one hobby to another very quickly. I used to be heavily into hobby electronics. I then switched to model robot building (Gundam Plastic Models, or "Gunpla") and was really enjoying it until one of my friends innocently commented that he liked it better when I posted about electronics. He was not being negative, he was just telling it as he saw it. I was deflated and immediately began to spend my free time on electronics and put the models to the side. I now realize what a ridiculous act that was. I should spend my time doing what I enjoy, regardless of how it affects the rest of the world (as long as I'm not hurting anyone or interfering with their well-being, of course).

I was also seeing things that I just shouldn't have spent my energy on, like extremely biased or negative "news" articles, click-bait, and outright lies. These are the things that I spend a lot of energy avoiding in my real life, yet I was exposing myself to the garbage online by reading Facebook.

Life without Facebook is hard, because I miss the instant gratification of peeking into the lives of people that I have met in my lifetime and learning more about them, but I have to think that they're in a similar place that I was, I'm seeing their life through their Facebook filter. I'm not living the pain with them, or the sadness, or the joy of real life. It's superficial and artificial. It's unhealthy in my opinion and I've decided to eliminate it from my life.

I am still keeping my Facebook account active, because I do believe it has value in that I can contact old friends easily. The messenger app from Facebook is great and I like that I can chat with my friends easily and conveniently send money to loved ones.

I'm not totally doing away with it, but I've removed the app from my phone and I no longer access it from my PC. I've also turned off all notifications from Facebook so I won't be interrupted with things that ultimately don't matter.

Life has gotten a lot more peaceful without it in my life and I highly recommend that you give yourself a break from Facebook if you've found your life revolving around your online interactions.

Michael Earls

Michael Earls

Michael has been a computer nerd since he was ten years old and he begged his parents to buy him a computer for Christmas. In 1982, he was the proud owner of a TI-99/4A. He's been coding since.

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