Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Facebook Addict (Facebook Addiction)


Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol,cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others. 
(source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/addiction)
You woke up in the night having to use the bathroom, but the first thought on your mind is checking for likes.  It's like a drug.  You reach for your phone, feeling exhaustion.  You know looking at the screen is going to affect your sleep quality.  However, it is more important to see if your comments and posts got you the popularity that you crave.  After all, that would mess with your sleep, too.

So, you grab the phone and turn on the light.  Your eyes flinch, you feel a daze.  Your thumb moves to the Facebook app without thinking.  You are so used to going to that button that you could do it blindfolded.  Nope, no likes, you hiss in your mind.  You feel a bit upset.  You spent five minutes coming up with that status message!  You edited, erased, rewrote, edited and thought it over over it until you hit the enter button. And nobody even seemed to notice.  What gives?  You check to see who is online.  Earl, Judy - Even Ray is there.  Ray usually likes everything you say.  But not this?

Did I say something wrong?

You turn off the phone and lay it under your pillow.  I'll check in the morning you tell yourself.  But you can not sleep.  Half an hour goes by and you realize, looking at your phone, that you never let go of it when you went to put it under the pillow.  In fact, you grabbed it right back out and you have been looking through Facebook the entire time.  You see that your sister posted some more pictures from a vacation she went on two and a half years ago.

Those posts all got at least 10 likes each!

Seething, you move to some posts that some of your old high school and college friends posted a while back.  You do not follow most of them because they mostly post pictures of their kids or things you could care less about.  However, you are curious how a couple of them are doing, and what better time to check up on old friends than at 3 A.M. when you are already somewhat annoyed and upset?

You first check the guy you never really cared for in high school.  Why you are friends on Facebook is beyond you.  Perhaps it is because he was one of the first people you added when signing up.  It asked you where you went to school and gave you some suggestions and since you wanted a nice little network of people, you sent him a friend request.  Now you are looking at his profile with a scowl on your face.  He's a vice president at a consulting firm.  Great.  Moving on.

You wonder if you should play emotional roulette by checking up on another person from high school that you were ultra competitive with.  You decide to and check another profile.  His profile picture shows him with a puppy.  How cute.  You roll your eyes.   It is time to dig deeper.  You can not help but grin when you find out that he's actually proud of his job as a used car salesman.  You feel a bit smug for a second.  I did better than this joker, you tell yourself.  And his wife is ugly to boot.

You are feeling somewhat more tired, but you are on a roll.  Why sleep now?  After all, you do not have to work until 10 am.  So, you continue to look through the profiles of old friends.  Why not check out that girl that you had a huge crush on in college?  Sometimes she actually likes some of your witty posts.  It looks like she works at the post office.  Sadly, she is getting married to a guy who has two kids as baggage from two previous marriages.  What a catch...  Surely she could have done better.  She could have done me...


Do you sleep easier at night knowing that you are acquiring "likes" as you sleep?

You do this for a while longer and then wake up.  You realize you fell asleep with your phone in your hand.  Some of those profiles must have been a dream right?  Who knows, the only thing that is certain is your eyes are bloodshot and there is a streak of crusty drool running down to your chin.  It's wakey wakey time, and it's almost time to get to work.

I slept in until 9 am?  Reaching for your phone, you check to see if that post got you a like.  It did! Oh wow, who liked it?  Oh come on, my mother?!  She auto likes everything when she logs on once a month!  

On the way to work you are still thinking about Facebook.  You can not stop.  While others are eating breakfast, you are hungry for likes.  While others are spending time with their families, you are spending time wondering what to post, how popular you are, and what your life would look like if Facebook somehow disappeared.  What horror of horrors!

As you work, you are constantly looking behind you, to see if your supervisor is watching.  She knows you sneak on Facebook, but you do not know that she knows.  In fact, you are oblivious to the fact that your computer is being monitored while you work.  But do not sweat, almost every employee you work with also uses Facebook at work while the boss is not looking.  When the layoffs come, you can bet that those who were on Facebook the most will be likely to be let go of first.

I wonder if my ex girlfriend ever got into Stanford you ask yourself.  You really do not want to know, but secretly you wish that she was denied.  You never used to wish failure on others so much when you were not on Facebook, but now you feel that you have to compete with everyone.  You think back to when you spent three hours making your profile background picture.  It was time well spent. You got so many compliments on that picture.  The lighting, the angle, and the content were just so right.  It was a proud moment for you.

Your glazed eyes pass along your newsfeed.  You are exhausted.  Why would you not be?  Every night you have spent more and more time looking at your phone instead of actually sleeping like a normal human being.  Behind the wheel you check your Facebook profile every chance you get.  You actually pray for red lights and traffic jams as you sit there, phone in lap, waiting for the next chance to connect to Facebook and disconnect from the world around you.  If you could exist in the phone and erase your regular world existence, you probably would.  In fact, you wrote an essay about such a topic in college.  It got you a D- in college writing but at least 35 likes on Facebook.  Your friends agreed the professor was a douche; how could he not see it your way?  After all, you were not alone in your desire to make Facebook your permanent home.  Life, along with all it's hassles is a drag. You lost points for the bad grammar (use of it's instead of its) and for the fact that your essay sounded like it was written by an angry fifteen year old with a serious attitude problem.  How could that professor know anything?  When he was in college there was no such thing as internet!  

You have realized that your day has gone slowly and has been kind of depressing due to your post not getting any likes.  What gives?  Perhaps people are jealous of your awesome wit.  Maybe they are trying to come up with something better?  It is too much to think about.  Fine, you finally say, I will write something new.  I will give them something to LIKE!

However, you have always been bad at forcing something likable.  Sometimes it just comes to you. The witty stuff is often the stuff that just rises up out of that twisted and Facebook obsessed mind of yours.  You sit there, in front of the screen, as the Facebook shines its mesmerizing glow towards you.  On your lap your phone sits, also opened on Facebook.  Your fingers quiver, yet nothing comes forth.  You are somewhat shaking now.  You could care less if your supervisor sees you or is even behind you.  This is more important than your job.  After all, Facebook is consuming you.  It has become your life.  If you can not use Facebook at work, after all, you do not want the job anyway.

Meanwhile, your sister's post is gaining likes like a truck driver gains miles on a desert highway. "Those pictures are ancient!" you yell out loud.  Everyone looks over towards your desk.  You do not care.  How dare she be more popular than me!  Her Instagram is also probably ticking like an angry time bomb about to explode.  She may have 10,000 likes on that picture of her standing in front of the Pyramids of Giza looking like a doofus.  It's probably because she's a girl, you tell yourself to make yourself feel better.  It works.

Later in the night you find yourself enjoying a nice warm bath.  You have to just let go of the day. You have to let go of Facebook and all that stress.  Yet, right there in your hand is your phone!  You have been taking it with you to the tub lately.  You have been spending every second of free time, no matter where you are, on Facebook.  Whether it is on the toilet, in the bath (this is, in fact, why you do not shower.  You have not figured out a good way to shower with Facebook), or even at your last job interview, you are popping Facebook like it is a drug (and you wonder why you did not get that job you wanted).

"Zeus said that he will invent a website in the future that lets me do this in front of all my friends."
You may think that this type of story sounds unrealistic.  But I have found these aspects are true and honest for many people who use Facebook.  Most will quickly pop out the excuse that "I only have Facebook to keep in touch with my friends who I would not be able to otherwise."  Yet, at the same time, I see an obsession rising daily by those who are dubbed "users" of Facebook.  I see their social lives become so wrapped with Facebook that they can not keep in touch with those who are not on Facebook.  Their actions say "if you are not on Facebook, I do not want to keep in touch with you." So, then their excuse for using Facebook becomes moot.  If they were so interested in keeping in touch with other people, they would try to do so with or without Facebook.  The excuse "I only use Facebook to keep in touch with old friends" is an excuse to continue on with the destructive addiction.  You do not use Facebook to keep in touch with friends.  The real reason you use Facebook is to show off your life and your accomplishments.  The reason you use Facebook is to feel better about yourself.  If you wanted to keep in touch with others, you would e-mail or call others.  You would have one-on-one conversations with other people.  Instead, you opt to converse with everyone at once.

"I am not addicted to Facebook..."
There are many people out there that believe that Facebook does not cause them harm.  It may not seem harmful on its face.  However, when analyzed, Facebook causes great harm in ways of creating narcism, causing depression, causing people to compare their lives with others, and wasting vast amounts of time (in this sense, we are not talking about it as a hobby, but as the fact that many users of Facebook spend every free moment checking their phone or computer for status updates).

People were meant to be social creatures, to interact with their environment, and to live a full life with variety.  Instead of being social, we turn to our phones into an (a)social world. Facebook is not a social place.  The moniker, "social network" is a false moniker.  Spending your life alone on the internet is not social at all.  Writing to people who may or may not be listening through a screen is in no way the least bit social.

Many people combine every task with Facebook, whether it be work, cooking, driving, laying in bed, using the restroom, taking a bath, chores, reading, listening to music, or spending "time" with family. If you are this type of person, you are highly likely addicted (or beyond).

MY OWN ADDICTION WITH FACEBOOK

I have talked about my own use of Facebook in previous posts.  I have seen people become irate with each other because of something said that was of no importance.  I have seen people get angry with each other over political topics that probably should have not been said in the first place on the internet.  I have seen people become mean and hateful for no reason other than they feel safe on the internet.  I have seen people spend hours a day on Facebook and have the nerve to tell others (and themselves) that they do not have an addiction.  I, too, was addicted, and felt that I had to be honest with myself.  I had a problem.  The solution was simple (yet challenging): Leave Facebook.  Leave the site that the world wants you to be on.  Advertisers want you on Facebook.  It's where many peddle their products.  They want you to be seen liking their products.  Facebook wants you on the site, it's how they make money.  They are not providing the site out of benevolence or to create a better world.  By creating an IPO, Facebook is stating that their purpose is to bring in revenue and income, not to "make the world a better place."  Facebook does not make the world a better place.

ARE YOU A FACEBOOK ADDICT?

Look at your life.  Are you a Facebook addict?  When is the last time you went a day without logging on Facebook?  Did you feel shaky?  Did you long for the blue glow of the screen?  How often do you think about what you say on Facebook?  How often do you lament over what someone else says?  Do you feel jealousy for the friends who got good jobs, have nice houses, or who went to better schools? Do you feel anger when you see that your sibling is living a better life (or portraying he does) on Facebook?  If so, you are human.  We are not meant to compare ourselves constantly to others, yet Facebook throws the lives and accomplishments of others right into our face.  No wonder we feel depressed.

It is time to move on.  Go, right now, and delete your profile.  Never look back.  You have to take drastic action to end a powerful addiction.   You have to say enough is enough.   It is a choice. Facebook has literally become an addiction to millions of people.  Do you want to share with the world that you too are addicted to Facebook?  If you are on the site you are basically stating that you are addicted and too weak to do anything about it.

Good luck.  I hope that you find a way out.


Interesting articles on Facebook Addiction: 

Signs of Facebook Addiction:
http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/facebook-addiction-signs/

What Facebook Addiction Looks like:
http://www.livescience.com/49585-facebook-addiction-viewed-brain.html

Facebook Addiction
http://www.facebookaddiction.com/

2 comments:

  1. You nailed it about the neurotic analysis of likes I get versus the likes others get. I've been guilty of thinking my self worth is the amount of likes and comments. So I decided to experiment a little. Most of my friends claim to be Christian, often posting about going to church, asking for prayers, etc. I looked back and my posts that are the most popular are inane things like complaining about the weather or talking about the new star wars movie. Posts with a religious nature receive very few likes if any. Only superficial triviality is appreciated among my circle on Facebook. So why should I let them determine how I feel about myself?

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    1. I think FB brings out the fake in people or maybe the real in people how ever you want to look at it I found if your commenting to a FB friend they aren't the same its as if they are different on FB like they cant be the real person you know because other people will see their comments so they are reserved in what they say! or what they would say when one on one with you!! I dont think that is a good thing it makes you wonder about your so called relationships on FB!

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