What I learned from overcoming my addiction to Facebook

Guest post by Mrs Wamz

November of 2007 is when I first opened a Facebook account, and I was hooked on social networking. As I got older and I gained more and more friends through gaming and having the same account for nearly four years, I found that the only way I connected with people was through Facebook. When I was around my friends and wanted to share some good news, they already knew about it because of Facebook.

Then, when I was engaged, things got weird. Someone took advantage of the information I had posted on Facebook to harass me. So I blocked her. The breaking point came when my fiancΓ© and I went out to eat, and this person showed up at the same restaurant. Granted, I had updated my status saying where we were going for the evening right before we left. But since I had already blocked her, I thought I was safe to post those details of my life.

After that night I started wondering how much I actually needed Facebook. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was addicted to Facebook. I was addicted to immediate information and pretending to be connected with 400+ people when in reality I didn’t know half of them. So, I deleted my Facebook account. And my Twitter and Photobucket account. (Who else remembers Photobucket?) I deleted all my online accounts except for Amazon and my email.

And you know what I learned?

I became closer to the people who were closest to me. Sure I struggled at first because I’d pull up my web browser and automatically go to Facebook before realizing that I didn’t have an account anymore.

In the mornings my routine went from: coffee, Facebook, food, to: coffee, face- oh wait I deleted my account, food. I felt a little removed from my friends and felt like I didn’t know what was happening anymore. Then I learned that the ones who really wanted me in their lives called me, or went out of their way to spend time with me. Slowly my lifestyle changed from fast-paced-connected to slow-down-and-enjoy. And I loved it.

After the wedding I’ll admit that I relapsed. My excuse is that I could think of no better way to share the honeymoon and wedding pictures. So I started over and got a new account. What I found was that nothing was different. I also found that instead of enjoying breakfast in the mornings with my new husband I was on my laptop seeing what the new drama was. OH THE EVERLOVING-DRAMA!

One morning in March my husband got up from the table and I didn’t even realized it until he was about to walk out the door. I was right back where I had started the July before. I was right where I didn’t want to be. I was ignoring real life for internet life. I woke up and said “No really guys, I’m done with Facebook.” And I don’t regret it.

It’s more than just banning social networking sites and it’s not because Facebook uses your information to sell you stuff. It’s about knowing what is important in your life and what distracts you from those things. It’s about knowing what your personal limits and needs are. I know that I get addicted to new fun things, and I need to keep that in check.

I also know that if I’m going to ever be a successful adult I need to keep my priorities straight. I don’t really have room to be dealing with Candy Crush and “OMG did you see so-and-so’s status update? She is so mean.”

Take a moment to think about your priorities and consider the ways in which social media may actually be making many anti-social in real life.

Comments on What I learned from overcoming my addiction to Facebook

  1. good for you. i am not quite *that* strong, but i admire those who are.

    on a slightly different note – but related… over the past few months i have really changed HOW I use facebook. i have changed the settings for all those people i don’t really know (people i went to high school with, that i barely said hi to then, for instance) so that i only see ‘most important’ updates from them, i ‘unliked’ everything corporate, etc etc. And, i made a restricted list so that people who are peripheral to my life but i have no reason to ‘unfriend’ don’t actually see a lot of what i post. and i don’t post anything that really can’t be public anyway. it took a few months of dealing with individuals/businesses as they popped up, but now when i look at it, i see updates from the people i know/care about/find interesting. and that is it. it means i don’t waste time wading through pages of crap to find the stuff i care about, and i don’t get sucked into anything that really doesn’t mean anything to me either.

    i also have been trying REALLY HARD to put my iPad in another room when me and my husband have a rare night at home together. so i am present (last night i had to check myself again – i pulled out the iPad while we were watching Arrested Development, then i realized i would miss all the good stuff if i wasn’t paying attention – a good lesson for lots of things).

    • Hey that’s great! Most people have a better sense of self control than I do and I’m glad you were able to weed out all the things you didn’t need on your timeline. I know that was one of the big things that got on my nerves my second time around on FB.

  2. I haven’t been quite so complete about leaving facebook, but I have been making a point to connect to the people in my house more. I make a point of getting up and hugging my fiance when he walks in the door, for instance, or just getting everyone to sit down to watch a movie. We all get too wrapped up in the internet some days, it’s nice to break off the net and be social.

  3. I am on facebook, but I use it as a way to stay more connected. I’m more like to write someone a private message than post a status update. I don’t twitter or flickr or anything else. And I don’t have a smart phone or a laptop. I seriously hate it when I’m out to dinner with someone (or any other social arena) and they pull out their phone and start tapping away. I feel ignored and like I’m not interesting or engaging enough. Then I get home and see that they were like “omg heather and i having the best time eating waffles!”. And I’m like wtf mate? It was apparently more important for it look like we were having fun on the internet that to actually have a good time! Drives me crazy… /rant

    • I agree! My husband has a smart phone and I don’t, and all it took was ONE meal at a restaurant and ONE dirty glare for us to establish rules for it, hehe. It’s not as easy for your friends, though. I’m prone to saying things like “what’s the internet say?” to help someone snap out of it.

      Be in the moment!

      On the converse side, I wish I would make the effort to take more pictures of my friends and family, just to HAVE, not to document our social outing on social media.

    • I totally hear you. My man and I don’t have smart phones either and I know that once my mom got one she said she didn’t know how she would live without it. We get teased sometimes, but then I think about all the money we’re saving for vacation. πŸ™‚

    • So true. I am upset that my boyfriend is apparently addicted to it. Been on holiday and he spent hours videoing n messaging n uploading … Ironically oblivious to the present moment but uploading how brilliant hol was to friends(!)
      Not to mention the exes who love to get in touch thru Facebook. What can I do??

  4. I’m to the point where I think I’m going to cut out all those who create even the mildest of drama and follow them up with staying in touch via phone and email.

    I did recently quit all FB games and the like that drained my time. I do find the groups helpful though.

  5. I am glad that this was a good solution for you and that it brought you peace in your life. Personally, I appreciate Facebook for keeping close with my family and friends that live far away from me. I am now in closer contact with those people than I was before I had Facebook, and that means a lot to me. I, however, am not obsessed about checking it frequently. I have also limited the people that I follow on Facebook to only those that I really want to hear from, and I never post my location, ever.

    • It’s good to hear that there are people who have good experiences on FB still. My dad has all his high school friends on his FB and when ever he goes back to the city he’s from he always have a free place to stay.

    • I’m much closer to a lot of people–family, especially–because of Facebook. It’s how I keep in touch with people literally around the world after I have moved away and so have they.

      I think it helps that I never got into Facebook games, and I regularly weed out people who are a drain on my enjoyment or simply no longer relevant to my life. I do have a couple people around because make me think and check my assumptions, but I enjoy that kind of thing anyway. I don’t have a lot of extraneous people there, so the ones I have I really want to keep in contact with. I know which ones don’t use FB that often, and despite my best efforts it means we aren’t as close as we were before. (I do have a couple people from high school that I still have no idea why I keep them around. One is a girl who used to bully me constantly in elementary school! But she’s nice enough now and even if we don’t have much in common, she’s still on the planning committee for our reunions. I guess that’s probably why I keep her around.)

      I like that Facebook helps me keep up with people’s daily lives. I don’t find that there is an issue with people already knowing something I want to tell them, because FB doesn’t get all the information. At most, they know to start with “OMG Congrats on graduating! Tell me all about your plans now because I know you and I know you have some.” Facebook rarely gets any more information about the important things than your typical announcement card, and it saves me postage!

  6. I learned long ago to be careful of what I put on my FB. I don’t post where I’m going until after the fact – when I’ve already left the location and am safe at home. I don’t worry about privacy settings because I only post information that I don’t mind the whole world seeing. I only like a corporate page if I really like the company and they don’t spam my feed. I do subscribe to a TON of photography, artist, crafty pages because I like seeing other peoples creations. I realized not that long ago, I don’t post on FB all that often. Though I do have to admit that due to ADD, when we are watching TV I will be constantly checking my feed.

  7. This is a really great post.

    I think it’s really important to be aware of how much you’re using the internet, in general. Facebook is just one of many, many sites that you can easily get addicted to.

    Facebook is probably the most common right now though. It’s not really a problem for me but I have friends that are clearly addicted. And as the friend, it can be pretty frustrating at times. I blame smartphones. Smartphones = 24/7 access to Facebook anyyyywhere. I hate sitting down to dinner or a movie etc with friends and half the time their noses are attached to their phone screens. I just… want… to hang… out… πŸ™

    • Smart phones are the culprits to many social crimes. I am also a big believer in making eye-contact when I talk to someone and I expect the same. Since I’m only 23 though, many of my peers don’t share that idea; or forget about it since they are too busy checking their timeline.

  8. I have been debating getting rid of facebook lately, but I keep holding back. I don’t have a cell phone anymore so I have been using facebook messages in lieu of sending the odd text. I also use it for girls night event invites and such, so I feel like without facebook I really would be out of touch. Plus, I’ve been telling myself it’s a great way to share photos and news with relatives (we’re having a baby in just a few weeks!) and it just wouldn’t be as easy without it. Instead, I keep trying to restrict how I use it. I don’t update my status hardly ever, and I am trying to trim down my friends list. It’s neat to see where my old elementary school friends are these days, but do I really need to know considering I’ll never see them in person again?

    • Congratulations on your baby! I can totally get where you’re coming from. Many of my friends have family who are out of state and that’s the only way to keep connected. Plus if you don’t have a cell phone you definitely need something to keep in touch. πŸ™‚ My entire family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins) lives in the same three counties. We can’t help but keep in touch.

  9. I quit facebook a couple of years ago too! I LOVE IT. At first I quit because I was tired of some of Facebook’s policies, especially around groups making fun of rape, but I found I hardly missed it. Before I quit, I sent an email to my friends letting them know how to get ahold of me, and I was able to really connect with people who wrote back. Occasionally I have friends or family members say they wish I were on facebook so I’d see all the photos, but I love seeing them when we visit, or email. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I’m happy with my choice!

    • I’m glad to hear your success. Not a lot of people are brave enough to do it and it takes some guts. Plus I like learning about a person by talking to them as opposed to seeing the About section on their page.

  10. I had to learn to about managing my FB page and the people I interact with. Someone complained one day about a post I had shared, she was upset about the content, she is very religious and I am not, the post reflected my non religious view. We worked in the same building and she came to me very upset and said I had to make changes to my posts or she would have to delete me.
    I am not sure why she didn’t restrict me or change how my newsfeed shows up at her end but I listened to her and decided it was a good oportunity to manage my FB page.
    I sat down and reviewed the people on my page and made sure that some went on the restricted list, some went on an aquaintance list and then there are the rest on my regular old friends list. Clearly, she was the first to go on the restricted list.
    Even a year later I still go through and make adjustments to the lists once in a while. I don’t keep a giant list of friends, I am not about collecting people and over time I have found that some people don’t need to see my every post and I don’t want to see their endless amount of posting.
    Taking control of my FB page felt really empowering and in the end I am glad that she complained to me, I feel much more in control of who see what and how much I see from others.
    When I quit working at my last job, same place as the woman that complained, I deleted her from my list all together, not to be spiteful but the work place was the only thing we had in common and I had already put her on the restricted list so she wouldn’t be upset by my non religious views.
    I don’t play any of the games, I don’t twitter, or flickr, and I also don’t accept friend requests from people that I don’t know, even if they know a bunch of my friends. As an artist I have a page for the business end of things but again I don’t accept personal friend requests from the business page unless I have met that person.
    I see why some choose to give up FB, it can take a lot of time away from other real life moments, good for you for recognizing the need to put your real life first.

    • I take a different approach to this same problem, and I do not “friend” people I work with. Unless we are friends outside of work, too.
      I don’t need my work colleagues hearing about my family, my politics, my funny cat videos. I don’t think it’s professional and we see eachother and talk to eachother enough to not need to spend more time together after work.

      • I totally agree with this! My policy is typically not to friend people from work until I no longer work with them OR we become super-besties outside of work. Otherwise it’s drama.

    • I agree with a lot of this, and am quite restricted with my Facebook use. The people I friend are people I’m friends with in real life (Have never understood why one would ‘friend’ people you don’t actually know). Friends who update constantly or constantly post crap are taken off my newsfeed, and I don’t subscribe to any companies, games or groups.

      I’ve also made it quite clear to my family that I won’t friend parents, aunts or uncles (cousins are OK, I only have 2!) I want to be in control of what information I give my family (although, having said that, I have a very boring life, with no juicy scandals). I do use email a lot however, and email family and friends holiday photos and life updates. It creeps me out to know my holidays snaps might be floating around the internet until the end of time.

      Ultimately I love Facebook, because I can keep updated with all my expat friends from around the world, and I’m truly interested in what they’re up to. I find that my social networking reflects my social circle – I’m friends with interesting, funny people who use social media responsibly and my FB experience reflects that.

  11. I’m totally on the same page with you here! An overdose of drama a year ago (blatantly aimed at me for the first time, something I couldn’t hide from or explain away) prompted me to delete my own Facebook account.

    At first it was difficult – I never knew what was going on with people, and making plans even with my close friends (DnD night, parties, etc) became a hassle when everyone else was still on Facebook. But it got easier. People who wanted to be around me knew that I had “dumped” FB and remembered to send an email. I got a lot more into blogging, and building a group of “online friends” that were just that, and not high school/college acquaintances that I felt required to keep in touch with online.

    I know someday I’ll have to open one back up again (the joys of trying to become a published author), but at that point it’ll be part of said writing platform, and more business than personal. Now if I can just kick the World of Warcraft habit too… πŸ˜›

    • Yeah I find that the people who really want to be around you will make it happen. And I totally love to read blogs. I’ve tried to have my own, but I could never keep up with it because I work retail and my schedule is nuts. I’d love you read you’re some time!

  12. I really changed how I used Facebook over the past few years. When I first got it I was like you: always checking, always updating. I RARELY will do a status update anymore. The only time I do is when something particularily hilarious/unusual is happening (like the homeless man who asked me to take him to a restaurant for a full-course meal), if something life-changing is happening (moving to a new house) or political stuff (I live in a conservative province so I think social media is a great way to bring issues a lot of people don’t realize to the forefront…or when recently the staff of my piercing/tattoo shop was illegally let go).

    But even then I don’t post those things. I still haven’t posted that I’m pregnant or that I’m moving!

    What I do use Facebook for are the following:

    1) Browse what people are up to. 90% of the time is useless crap so it’s really just to scan. But every once and a while some interesting stuff pops up. Plus, my sister lives in South Africa…it’s very handy to communicate with her.
    2) Set up gatherings. As much as I would love to just call people and set up a pub night, or a BBQ…phones are not the best way to get a hold of 50% of my friends…Facebook is. And usually everyone is so busy you need to set things up 3 weeks in advance. Facebook is handy because you can create your event and then everyone gets emails about it.
    3) Deals. I “like” a lot of small businesses and online businesses on Facebook. It’s nice when I check my Facebook in the morning and I see that Online Business #1 is having a shipping deal, Local Business #1’s new spring line is out and Local Business #2 is letting you know they’ve been illegally let go. (This is how I found out about my piercer, and how I managed to track them down again at their new shop).
    4) Post Instagrams and other photos. But I rarely Instagram, and I still haven’t put up photos from my honeymoon.

    I mostly use it for #2 and #3.

    • I have gotten so many deals, and found out about so many cool events through Facebook fan pages. I really love that people and businesses are using social media this way.
      If you really love free stuff, start using Twitter. I follow some of my favorite authors, and they’re always retweeting free novels, free music, great events, etc.
      So I use social media to find out about things not happening online, and then I go do them.

    • First, your sister living in South Africa is pretty flipping awesome. Second I like that you keep your uses specific. I couldn’t do that. My second time around I swore I would only add family members. That didn’t last.

  13. I committed Facebook social suicide 18 months ago. I couldn’t (and still can’t) delete my account completely, because I use it to administer all the Offbeat Empire’s pages… but fall of 2011 I removed 400 personal Facebook connections one by one.

    At first it was irritating, but then I realized it was being a neat opportunity to do some thinking about each person, and consider stuff like:
    * do I have your email?
    * do I follow you on twitter or Flickr or Pinterest or RSS?
    * could I easily find you again if I wanted to contact you?
    * have we interacted on Facebook recently? (…and enjoyed it?)

    At first it went slow, but then it was freeing. Favorite deletions: my first love, and that stupid raver boy I had a massive crush on in 1996. FAREWELL, EMOTIONAL DETRITUS!

    My biggest priority with the cull was to cut back on the time I spent on FB. When I removed all the personal connections, it effectively removed the milk from the social media teat. I couldn’t keep myself OFF Facebook, but when I made it so that my newsfeed was empty, I found myself not wanting to check in very often.

    A few friends have whined hard enough to be added back (I’m at about 35 friends at this point), and there have been some awkward social situations… but it’s felt great.

    Facebook was not good for my soul.

    • You have totally made my day. It encourages me to know that a person who runs a site like this doesn’t have to have a large internet presence. And I love this site. πŸ™‚

    • “when I made it so that my newsfeed was empty, I found myself not wanting to check in very often”

      This. After I pared my friends list waaaaay down there wasn’t much to see went I went on — which REALLY cut down the amount of time I spend on Facebook.

      For each person I asked, “Would I be interested in spending a whole day with this person one-on-one (i.e., do I know/still know them well enough AND enjoy them that much)? Do I think they would be interested in spending a whole day one-on-one with me (i.e., am I just Facbook-stalking them out of curiosity or envy)?”

      • Whenever we get an advice question on Families or Home about how to make friends, I’m always like, “step 1: stop reading this website and go talk to a neighbor.”

  14. I think the main takeaway from this post (in my view) is that we should take time to go do the things we’re reading about.
    I watched a Ted talk a few months back about how there isn’t really such a stark divide between “online” and “offline” now. We go on our honeymoon: onto the Internet it goes. We watch a funny cat video: my partner is the first to hear about it from my POV. It’s all interactive.
    But I think we need to practice moderation versus instant gratification. Instead of clicking “refresh” we can call our friends and family, we can set up a meetup at the bar or a park, or we can ask our family for Great Aunt Jean’s turnip soup. We can still be connected without being “connected” all day every day.

  15. I didn’t delete my facebook, but I did stop using it because it got to a point where I had anxiety issues from all the drama on facebook. I haven’t used it in a year and I feel great. I do feel bad that my friends don’t have easy access to me when they want to invite me to something, but to me my peace of mind was worth the social fall out from quitting facebook. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in quitting facebook, thank you for posting this.

    • Not to diminish social anxiety from dramatic conflicts — but I also think that the blue coloring from the main Facebook page contributes to anxiety. There has already been research that the blue light emissions from your screen causes your brain to keep you awake. And just think, if you’re not sleeping, you’re not doing your brain any favors, and things like anxiety can creep in.
      I’ve made a firm rule about no screen time about an hour before bed. Instead I read, or take that time to catch up with my husband.

  16. If I cut off Facebook, there are only about four people I would ever interact with. I’ve never been one to talk on the phone with people (I haaaate talking on the phone with people) and the vast majority of my friends live far away now. Plus, Facebook is the lowest-pressure way to cultivate new friendships from acquaintanceships- meet someone, add on Facebook, interact super casually for awhile, suddenly it’s not weird to invite them to a party! Which I also do via Facebook! Ha. It’s basically an introvert’s dream tool- low pressure, and only as personal as you want it to be. Frankly, most of my friends are NOT on the super-intimate-one-to-one conversation level, but I like it that way, and it doesn’t mean I want to lose touch with them completely.

    I think if you have enough people in your life that are in close proximity or that you don’t mind talking to on the phone, and going without social media works for you, that’s awesome. If I could get all the people I loved to live in the same town, I could probably let it go. But I also don’t think it has to be the annoying drama-brag-flame-fest that people accuse it of being. So many people complain about the idiots on their feed and it’s like…just…um…unfriend them. If you don’t want people to see personal information, you can make it friends-only, or only share it with a custom group. I have pretty much zero BS on my feed- it’s more fun links, casual updates, and general love-and-support-fest, and that’s probably because I’m very careful about whose requests I approve.

    My husband is a huge holier-than-thou wiener about not using FB. But you know how he knows about his friends’ birthdays? I see them on FB and tell him. Parties or upcoming shows? I see them on FB and tell him. News about our friend’s lives? You guessed it. And I can’t tell you how much I just loooove getting messages from his friends – “Tell T about XXX!” (’cause y’know what? They don’t want to have to use the dang phone either. Though I don’t know why they don’t email him if it’s that important.)

    • This is the best argument I’ve heard for reactivating my Facebook.

      I initially deleted mine because I found it distracting during my university degree, and told everyone that when I deactivated my account. However, after living without it for almost two years now, I find it freeing to not be at the beck-and-call of an unhealthy addiction to the constant update of other people’s often menial lives. I don’t have Twitter, Pintrest or accounts with any other social media sites (even though my age and gender dictates that that should be my life’ current fascination), so I don’t have any ties to the internet (other than my email account), but that doesn’t mean I don’t live in a modern world or do interesting things.

      On the other hand, I have a hard time keeping in contact with most people from my many and varied old social groups. I got my boyfriend to add some of my friends so he could tell me when something new or important comes up in their lives, but he resents me looking over his shoulder whenever Facebook is open (“You decided to delete Facebook, so you get to live with that decision”). People tend to forget about inviting you to their events when you’re not an easy checkbox away. And I’ve discovered that people my age think it’s “awkward” to catch up with them by phone if you’re more of a casual acquaintance than a best friend. A regaining of the effortless contact with people would be one of the strongest motivators for rejoining my friends online.

      It truly can only be my own choice, ultimately, as to how I want to be influenced by others in this argument, but you’ve given me something more to consider in this decision.

  17. I love it when people can totally disconnect from social mediums like Facebook and still function with their lives. I agree, facebook and social media is ADDICTING, and like anything you need to be able to live without it and prioritize the realities in your life.

    I admittedly use Facebook, but I have a serious rule about people on my friends list; if I were to see you on the street would I say hi to you, would we talk? If the answer is no, then you get deleted from my friend’s list. For myself, after years spent travelling across the country for kayaking and then for school and back home again Facebook allows me to keep in touch with family and friends across the country (and now the world), without the need for a long distance phone plan.

    I try to keep my posts and visits minimal (I’ve got other things I can do, like knitting or cooking…or you know, working) If I catch myself on facebook too much, it’s time to disable my account for a week or 4.

    So there are positives and negatives to the medium, it takes self control, and that isn’t always easy to come by. So, I think its fantastic that you did what you needed to do to make your life connections more solid, kudos!

    • Hey thank! I think since I have a relatively small range, so to speak, it makes it easier for me to get away with this. The area I live in is pretty rural so there isn’t a lot of exposure to the big outside world here unless I go to Richmond or Newport News. I think it’s so cool to spread out and know lots of places though. Thank God for the internet.

  18. As a really shy person, Facebook really helps me connect with people, and that’s why I keep it around. It helps me start conversations based on things they’ve posted, instead of standing there awkwardly saying nothing. However, I have to be careful that it doesn’t replace more meaningful human communication, and have to admit that sometimes the craving for human contact makes me check Facebook more often than I should. Facebook has been better for me since I did “The Great Facebook Friend Cull” and un-friended anyone I wouldn’t really want to have a conversation with if I saw them on the street, or anyone I felt wasn’t healthy for me to have around. About 50 people survived and they’re a good group.

    • My sister is in the same boat as you. She is really shy and interacting with people isn’t her favorite thing. I really don’t think dumping FB is for everyone, so I’m glad it’s working out well for you. : )

  19. I use Facebook as a networking tool, and it’s amazing how fast I’ve switched from “social” to “professional” depending on what I’m checking. I’m a zoo keeper; it’s one of those jobs where your colleagues are spread out all over the country and the world, but it’s all about collaboration and sharing information. We used to do this with email list-serves, but Facebook is so much faster and streamlined. I spend way more time on Facebook connecting with other zoo keepers than I do connecting with “friends”, although there is some overlap. There is a disadvantage in that I spend more time at home thinking about work than I should, but the advantages of idea exchange are worth it.

    I’ve put controls on myself in other ways, though. I don’t have a smart-phone, so I’m only surfing the internet when I’m at home, on my laptop. I HATE it when people are on their phones during real social events, and it’s one of the reasons I haven’t upgraded yet. I limit myself to an hour and a half even when I am at home, so I don’t spend all evening ignoring my husband to interact with electronic people. When my husband and I have separate days off, I try to limit Facebook time to when he’s not home, and log off when he comes in to have *gasp* real conversations!

    I do get carried away sometimes, but I could never de-activate at this point, unless a better networking tool presents its self. It’s become important for my professional life.

  20. I’ve moved a lot in my life and I’m only 26. I’m nowhere near my high school friends, nor my college friends (except my fiance!) and I appreciate the fact that Facebook exists because it links me with those places and people of my past. I don’t have any real friends where I live now and it’s nice to pretend I still have friends through Facebook, but is it preventing me from going out and making *real life* friends? I’m not sure.

    I do check Facebook a lot, mostly when I’m procrastinating at work or have a minute here or there. Facebook is definitely a guilty pleasure. It’s like the tabloid magazine of real life but instead of “Stars are just like us!” articles, we’re being updated on what our 9th grade acquaintance did on her lunch break. It is pointless to know these things about people, but it is entertaining. To me at least.

  21. I went through this, myself, about a year ago. I realised that the people I used to be friends with offline, but moved away from, didn’t seem to be the same. I closed my account and provided contact info so they could get ahold of me away from FB.

    One person has contacted me.

    Really showed me who I was important to. Why should I divulge things about myself so people can keep up with me when they really don’t give a damn?

    FB is a cancer of the ‘net. I honestly think it is. The time sink and the feeling of responsibility to electronic friends…just wrong.

    • I hear you. When I closed my account for the first time I emailed the people I really wanted to keep in touch with. None of them emailed me back. I don’t hold it against them, but it did help me learn to differentiate from what people were my friends and what people were just my acquaintances.

  22. I did my facebook clean up right after I started my first semester in college and haven’t looked back since. It is so freeing to not have 300 or so peoples BS in your feed but only the people you actually care about. My friends are really internet connected/oriented and with many living rather far away it is just easier for us both to keep in touch with facebook.

    That being said, I am not an addict and have no intention of becoming one. The first step to keeping myself free was the deletion of my high school morons, followed by restrictive use. I use internet sites for maybe an hour to an hour and a half a day and then either shut off the wireless if I have writing to do on my laptop, or just turn my computer off altogether. This is a strategy I developed to combat my procrastination of school work with internet usage, and it worked wonders. At first it was a little hard cuz I kept almost as a reflex trying to go online but soon didn’t even think about it afterwards. My fiance and I spend more time actually being together as opposed to zoned out on our separate computers.

    I guess what I feel it comes down to, like with most things, is moderation. I have a moderate amount of friends on facebook most of whom I am actually friends with off-line and a few whom are old friends that while we aren’t close anymore we still want to keep in touch. And, with how little I actually use the Internet a day, I feel more connected to my fiance, and myself really….

  23. I think it’s important to note that for some people online activities can be “addicting,” but for others they can be an addiction, in the true sense of the word. Just like with alcohol, gambling, etc. In that case, it’s probably good to stop using facebook completely. (But not everyone who stops using it completely was addicted, obvi!)

    I love all the tips people offered for spending less time online in general, and I try to do the same. I try to make the most of the time I spend on facebook, using it to keep in touch with 1) people I actually care about and 2) people who prefer using facebook to email or phonecalls. I hid or unsubscribed to all those people I know but never see or don’t need to know details of their lives.

    For me, the most dangerous thing about facebook isn’t the time spent on it, it’s how it makes you FEEL. It’s remembering that people only post what they WANT you to see. They aren’t necessarily significantly happier or more successful than you, that’s just the image they are promoting. When I start to feel envy or compare myself to others, I think of all the things I did in the past two weeks that DIDN’T make it to the internet… it doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. I went to happy hour with my friends too, we just didn’t post pictures of it! It doesn’t hurt to remind yourself that you are not your facebook profile!

    • I’ve been thinking a lot about exactly this issue lately regarding this girl “S” that I went to college with. She’s on vacation in her southeast-Asian homeland right now and talk about posting only what you want people to see — she’s posting pictures every day on facebook via instagram and every one of them is hashtagged #kissmyhandbitches. Which makes so explicit the desire to inspire envy in your facebook friends, and makes me want to reduce how much i see of her in my newsfeed!

      At the same time, she was always a really cool girl and I don’t feel the need to get rid of her entirely and so I have been consciously trying to be happy for her (which, if you think about it, is basically exactly the opposite of the emotion she was consciously trying to inspire!). The trip of a lifetime! How many amazing places she’s gotten to visit! She got to bottle feed lion cubs! And of course, she’s gorgeous and stylin’ the whole time to boot… But she worked hard to make this trip happen and she must feel when she’s there the way I feel when I’m in Brazil. So yeah, I haven’t been to my homeland in almost ten years, but I know how exciting it is and I can empathize with wanting to share with everyone. Really trying hard to make other people feel “less than”, not so much.

  24. As someone else who quit the F a long time ago, it is SO SO WORTH IT.
    I had a harassment problem as well (but not with friends, people from work) and I just decided to drop the whole thing. Now I know who does and doesn’t want to keep in contact with me based on if they respond to emails and calls and texts.
    Especially after all of this “Facebook makes you depressed” stuff (http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/24/why-facebook-makes-you-feel-bad-about-yourself/ for example) it really does feel for the best to let it go.
    Then again, for some people, it’s totally manageable. That’s cool. But for me I feel so much happier and better without it for many reasons.

    • Haha, read the last part of my comment above. I didn’t know there was a whole thing about facebook making people depressed.

      • Yeah I didn’t really even think about it until I started seeing the articles pop up online and realizing “OMG I remember feeling sad when I saw XYZ” and that was a cementing moment for me not to go back to FB.

  25. I have done ‘No facebook for 40 Days’ three times – once after overcoming some really tough stuff (couldn’t deal with drama and I was obsessively checking it every 5 minutes), once for Lent and once when I had a lot to get on with – namely wedding planning! The first time I reconnected with people a lot (2009). The second times (2010 and 2012) I was left out of the loop completely and my come back to FB was met with more DRAMA about my non-attendance at a FB-only advertised party. I felt bad, but also frustrated. Unfortunately living two hours from friends and seven from family means that FB is sometimes the best way to contact people. And I’ll just have to live with the consequences.

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