About a year ago I wandered on over to Facebook.com, I was referred to the site by a friend who told me that it was cooler than Myspace. Being a Myspace fan myself I wanted to check into it.
At first the site was confusing and offered me nothing. I didn't
understand the profile page, and hated the lack of customizations that I
could get from Myspace. However in 2 months time I noticed that people I
knew from long, long ago were requesting my friendship. I even had a
girl who used to hate me add me as a friend. I had people who were more
popular than me suddenly wanting me to be in their inner circle, and I
realize now, that the addiction took hold of me due to the fact that I
finally felt like I fit in.
I realized I had a problem with Facebook when I found myself sitting
in front of my PC just staring blankly at the screen waiting for
someone, anyone to either update their status, add a picture, or comment
on my status updates, or pictures.
I laughed when others posted too much information or posted pictures
of their ugly children on a constant. Mostly though I felt this weird
sense of pride, as if I were better than everyone else. Sort of a 'look
what happened to the prom queen', she's so fat now! I felt better about
myself. Facebook made me feel better about myself. I for once, felt
better than the prom queen, and now the prom queen wanted to be my BFF.
I realized though, that this world in Facebook stood there, and only
there. As many people as I made connections with, or caught up with 10
years later, the connection never stepped beyond the virtual world.
After realizing my addiction was deep and likely unhealthy I had to be real with myself. Would I really hang out with the prom queen? No. Would I really hang out with the girl I was friends with in 4th grade? No to that too.
Then I asked myself, does any of this really matter? I'm a grown
adult, with a life, a real relationship, and all in all I'm happy. Yet
here in the virtual land of Facebook, I longed for this popularity and
this feeling of fitting in with people I once never fit in with. I began
sharing too much information, and over thinking my next status update.
This ritual was nothing more than me wasting valuable time staring at a
That is my first tip as far as this addiction goes. As yourself these
questions, and if you can answer them honestly you've succeeded in
realizing you have a problem. If you are reading this article, than
you've already come to the realization that you have a problem.
So how do we fix the problem?
It is hard, like any addiction. I know a lot of folks would say that
Facebook is not an addiction or a drug, however I compare it to just
that. Facebook and similar social networking sites keep people coming
back for more. Like a typical addict you cannot go a day without it.
Facebook was just that for me. My addiction, my drug, my virtual reality
and I knew I had to get away.
Weaning myself off of Facebook came in steps.
I knew like cigarettes, I could not go cold turkey, so instead I set up rules for myself; strict rules that I had to follow.
I only allowed myself to sign on once a day during the work week in
the morning. I set a 1 hour time limit per day. Weekends were Facebook
Following this rule was not as difficult as I thought it would be, but
I did find myself longing to log in at night when I got home and had
nothing to do, or if I was bored.
-The next thing I did once I got accustom to my 1 hour per day time
limit was to stop playing Facebook games that had a strong hold on me. I
was signing in to Facebook a lot in order to play Cafe World,
Farmville, Mafia Wars, PetVille, and FishVille.
I told myself, who cares if my virtual farm dies, or my fishville fish go belly up. Does it really matter? No!
Removing Facebook games from my life helped a lot, because now instead
of needing to spend an hour on Facebook, I could cut my time down to a
half hour a day.
Once the games were gone, and my time limit now set to a lower limit, I
realized that Facebook was a real time killer, and was ashamed that I
had spent so many hours on it in the past.
Soon the prom queens updates and pictures of her ugly kid were no
longer relevant. The girl who I was friends with in 4th grade is
pregnant... so? How irrelevant is this to my life? Nothing that went on, on Facebook was really relevant to my life.
When I realized that I decided to do a clean up of my friend list. The
less information for me to divulge in, the less time I'd spend on the
I decided to delete everyone who I had not seen in over 3 years. If
someone is vacant from your life for over 3 years, there is a good
reason as to why. So being friends with them on a social networking site
is just wasteful. I went through my list of 228, and removed everyone
who was irrelevant to me.
In the end I came out with only 19 people who were relevant to my
life. They included my family, close friends, and family friends.
Everyone else just doesn't matter. When you are able to realize that,
you will see that Facebook itself is pretty irrelevant and unnecessary
to your life.
Soon I found I only needed to log on perhaps once or twice a week to talk with cousins, friends, and siblings.
Facebook no longer was an addiction, because I already knew what was
going on in their lives, as I see them and spend time with them in the real world.
Do I miss my virtual Facebook world? Do I miss updates and ugly baby
pictures from the prom queen? Not at all. In fact, I feel free from my
virtual responsibilities. It's quite refreshing, you should try it.