This post is written with love. I want to help.
Mark Zuckerberg has tricked many of my friends and family into using their most productive times to browse his interwebs. Don’t get me wrong. I think Facebook is incredible for what it’s done and what it can do. And I should admit that I do my fair share of Facebooking, but I can also admit that an incredibly large percentage of it is counterproductive to what I say I want to do with my free time. On one hand Facebook has provided us with an incredible social networking tool that has allowed me and others to connect with long lost high school friends and family members across the country. You’re constantly exposed to news articles and cultural views you maybe wouldn’t have taken the time to look into. There are so many positives, but somewhere some of us should have taken a left turn at Albuquerque. Zuckerberg gave us a taste of his digital crack and some of us just can’t say no. Consider this the Facebook Abuse Self-Test. If you feel I’m describing you by the end of this, you may need to turn off the wi-fi for a few weeks and put your phone in airplane mode. But more than likely you’ll have the picture in your head of a friend or family member with this new age digital disease.
Your fill 85% of your friend’s timelines.
If you’re like the typical Facebook user you usually reserve Facebooking for those boring Monday mornings, evenings or whenever you literally can’t think of anything more exciting to do. We all know it’s counterproductive, but it passes the time and you get to see if anyone is doing something super exciting and dangerous like kiteboarding or alligator wrestling even though we know that’s probably not what we’re going to find. But even more exciting (heavy sarcasm) is when you log in to 14 straight posts/likes/updates from the same person. Now if you’re friends with a famous superstar, this could be the best part of your day. Unfortunately updates about how you’re tired or what you had for lunch just don’t get me excited to learn more! Let’s use some moderation and judgment when it comes to what you want everyone to know about your day.
You comment within seconds of a post.
Now it’s fair to say that somebody has to be the first to like or comment on a post. But if you’re always the first person, it’s very possible you have a problem. You need to put the phone or iPad down and walk away. They don’t make pills for this. It’s called restraint.
You check in at the grocery store.
Or at any other random daily-errand location for that matter. We’re excited that you’re going to get a gallon of milk – we really are. But unless the banana display turns into a giant banana avalanche that tramples 3 senior citizens and you get it all on video, just use the time to focus on something else.
You can literally walk through your entire day on your page.
Again, you may be a movie star and you breathe awesomeness from sun up to sun down. But if you’re like a normal person, you don’t possess enough exciting information to share all day long. It’s the exact same thing as a 24/7 news channel. There’s not enough newsworthy information for them to share all day long, but they try and it’s called filler. Don’t be a Facebook filler.
And no more pictures of your meals unless you have proper lighting and the fake food fluff stuff they use in real commercials. Your food rarely looks appetizing. Even Martha Stewart has failed at food photography.
You spend an unusual amount of time on Facebook, but never post.
This is called stalking. If you’re not contributing to the conversation and just checking out pictures of your old high school sweetheart, it’s basically like peeking in the window of your neighbor’s house, except the cops aren’t going to show up. Creepy.
You like every post that shows in your timeline.
It’s possible that you are the most agreeable person in the world and everything makes you happy. Sunshine and rainbows all day long! But more than likely you’re just trying to be nice and show your friends that you’re paying attention to their lives. And there is nothing wrong with that – I actually think it’s nice. But if you like everything that is ever posted on Facebook, at some point your friends aren’t going to value your opinion. I would suggest you test your addicted friends by posting something that they couldn’t possibly like. If they bite, don’t panic, but you may need to enroll them in a twelve step program with Facebook Addicts Anonymous (Google it. It exists.) If they don’t bite, you know there’s hope that you will someday get your loved one back.
You provide location information for every activity.
Nothing says “come rob my house” more than a constant barrage of vacation pictures day after day in a tropical location.
You can’t stay away.
Does a week without Facebook seem like a jail sentence? A month? Have you ever been in mid-sentence with someone and then feel the force of gravity pulling your hand into your pocket to pull out your phone to check to see if anyone liked your newest post? You know that you shouldn’t. You’re actually having a real conversation with someone and you’re so close to acting like a human. But the tractor beam has sucked you back in and the power is too great to resist. You’re hooked and it’s part of your daily activities now.
Facebook has become part of our lives for the foreseeable future, but for some it’s possibly taken over too much. Remember, this post is written with love. Sometimes interventions work and sometimes they backfire. You may or may not be addicted to Facebook, but if you felt you fit into a few of these categories, you owe it to yourself, your family and most importantly your ‘friends’ to scale back a bit and re-engage with the non-digital world. One day at a time people. Oh, and no more cat pictures – there’s plenty already.