I’ve been thinking about this question for a while recently, often whilst aimlessly scrolling through my facebook feed for the 40th time in the day.
About 2 years ago I had had enough. I plucked up the ‘courage’ and deleted Facebook. I survived. I found other things to fill my spare, lazy attention. I became motivated.
This year, I turned to blogging as an outlet for my beer free year. Something to spill my thoughts on, it was for myself really. Then I started to get likes on my blog. And that familiar Facebook feeling came back. I started to crave the ‘likes’, the notifications.
In an attempt to reach a wider audience, I broke a 2year exile and re-entered the Facebook world.
This time was different however. I had ground rules. I was not going to accept anyone as ‘friends’ unless they were people I actually speak to. Last time out I had amassed 800 ‘friends’. Or friends of friends.
This time I was going for quality.
But what tends to happen is that you don’t get the same level of interaction from 50 friends as you do 800. So I slowly started to break my own rules. I accepted freind requests from ‘outsiders’ to my world. And then even worse. Started to request outsiders.
Facebook is a very clever psychological tool. It feeds our reward/response system. It speaks directly to our limbic system (the primitive part of our brain)(our inner monkey). When you get a ‘like’ or a comment, it gives us a false sense of worth and belonging.
People are trapped in this social-moral parody. Like a projection of real life. We are very focussed on controlling our avatars and ensuring that they are seen to be morally just.
Like, love, shock, sad face. We are allowing ourselves to be pinned to these set emotions and we comment in a way that is spoken through 3rd person. And boy does our inner monkey love it when another avatar agrees with us.
It becomes obsessive.
And there we find ourselves. Stuck in a mental space of scrolling through the Facebook feed. Our inner monkey is controlling our thumbs. We are glazed over as we flick between Facebook, twitter, instagram, maybe a BBC newsfeed to break things up, then back onto Facebook to see if the notification tab is going to feed us the little red number we so deeply crave.
If not we stroll through the Facebook garden again, searching desperately for new life within the feeds of the same 18 people that Facebook chooses to display to us. Just so that we can comment, like and fertilise the conversation in time for the next loop-around.
I started this year with gusto. I had so many plans. I still do. But my energy and motivation in these areas is being killed as my time is now consumed. My inner monkey is awake and needs feeding more often than a newborn child.
Instead of jumping out of bed in the morning and heading to the gym, the first thing now is to check Facebook.
Instead of focusing on the next thing to do on my list, I pick up my phone and check Facebook.
Instead of talking to my girlfriend at nighttime, we need to check Facebook first.
And then even worse. Sit across from each other and comment on each other’s feeds!
Facebook is another form of addiction.
I was addicted to Facebook before and so I deleted it from my life and i never thought twice about it.
I was addicted to alcohol in the past and I deleted it from my life and my life is getting better and better.
However, Facebook has become my new addiction. It has replaced the alcohol (that and sugar, but that’s a whole other blog).
I want to say that I will just control it. But the nature of any addiction is that it controls its victim. And I don’t want to have to control it. I want my time back. And my mental freedom.
So I’m left with one conclusion.
I need to cut the head off the snake. Just like I have done with alcohol.
So now I’m grateful. I have returned, during the course of writing this short blog to my former self. I have remembered why I am blogging. And that it’s for me! To align my own thoughts. Not to build an audience. Yes it’s nice if people like the blog. But I’m no longer going out to ‘get likes’.
Facebook can now fuck off. My next step is to delete my account. And I am going to welcome back with open arms, my time, my motivation, my freedom, my mental space, my own thoughts, and my creativity.
I’m a human being not a Facebook drone.
Onwards and upwards 🙂