Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I recently spent a weekend completely Facebook free.
For most people this would be no huge feat, but for me I'll admit, it took vigilance, making a conscious effort to ignore the laptop on the coffee table and most importantly stop. checking. my phone.
How did this happen? More importantly, how did this 'addiction' happen upon a self confessed 'technophobe?' I don't quite know. Should I partly blame G for signing me up to this think back in 2008? Probably not.
Let's start at the beginning...
For the longest time I believed that my attraction to Facebook was born living so far from all my family and most of my friends. I keep in touch with those that I miss terribly in Australia- seeing their photos, daily musings and having that contact at the touch of my fingers make me feel like the gap between us is shortened. I love that I can share up to date photographs with my Mum, Dad & brothers with ease. That my best friend Kate, whether in Australia, Canada or Fiji (yes, she has lived in all three since I joined in 2008) is only a short 'inbox message' away.
From that bore a need to express.
I could post notes, status updates, join fan pages, connect with 'idols' and meet people from around the world with whom I shared interests. This connection and creativity became important as I was living in Germany with few friends, surrounded by few people I had any commonalities with before then moving to the South East of England where that situation stayed pretty much the same. I wouldn't say I have difficulty making friends per se, but I have a very low tolerance for bull-shit. It is a fault. But I cannot shoot the shit with folks that I have no desire to share with. This is also a fault. So what can I say? I retreated further into the Facebook world for my social stimuli.
My Facebook usage ramped up whilst pregnant with Avalon. Within the first few weeks I started exploring the option of birthing at home. I knew very few people (READ NONE) that had chosen to birth at home, wanted to, or didn't think it was kinda crazy. Enter Facebook and a myriad of groups and pages for every little thing, activity,lifestyle, activism you can think of. As I found myself making choices different from those around me I retreated to my on-line friends; these funny, amazing, loving, warm, supportive AND interesting women I had never actually 'met'- here I had found my 'people' and they saved my sanity on more than one occasion. My idea of parenting does not follow the 'maistream' and so I have relied on this forum for support and advice over the past 2 years.
But, like any good thing, there is a downside.
I spend WAY too much time on here. Here being the laptop, but more often than not, here is just Facebook.
The time I spend on-line aggravates my husband to no end.
I have met people who have said 'Oh you're [insert name here], I have seen you on Facebook.' WOW. That could constitute a problem.
I find myself constantly referring to it; 'I saw on Facebook...' 'I read on Facebook...' 'The other day on Facebook...'
Kind of sad. I know.
I have been absolutely aggravated, angered, saddened, repulsed and numbed my what I have read on Facebook extending to losing sleep.
I have lost friends, most of those 'IRL' (that would be in real life) variety and even those I have met on-line.
I am a passionate person, I make no apologies for that, but these passions boil over in arguments, debates, conversations over trivial AND serious issues--- all discussed in this forum.
Social networking is an open window into (some) peoples lives... By peeking into that window we see more than we ever should and know more than we ever should. I cringe when I witness the dissolve of a relationship, or snarky infantile, veiled comments from one poster to another. But I also wonder how often I reveal too much of myself?
So, I am going to make a conscientious effort to spend less time on Facebook and less 'computer' time in general.
My Facebook free weekend was positive. I spent some great time with my two favourite people, even though I do this anyway, before I was over-extending my time- or not being one hundred percent present for them. As the time was only 3 days 'leave' from social networking, I got the chance to read through some of my favourite blogs and reply to those emails I complain I never have enough time to.
I will try to limit the laptop time.
So yes. Less virtual me. More IRL me.