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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Facebook Freeze

I've noticed that a few of my friends on Facebook...that is to say, these were my friends even before Facebook existed, not friends met ON it...a few of my friends have announced via their status lines that they will be "freezing" their FB accounts. It turns out that this is happening not because they're being stalked, or they think it's stupid. Their basically disconnecting because they feel they are spending too much time on it. In other words, they feel as if they are so addicted to the Book of Face, that they have to quit cold turkey.

We've seen all of this before. It happened in the 80s with bulletin boards, and in the 90s with chat rooms. I remember reading an article in the 90s about something called "techno therapy", for people who were so immersed into their online lives, they neglected their real lives. And it's not just social networking or chat rooms. Remember when World of Warcraft was in the news all the time? I remember those same stories of people who just got so involved in this stuff, that it took over their lives. Much like this young man:

I get it. I mean, whenever anything new comes out, I think we all have a tendency to spend a little more time with it than normal. I remember killing a bunch of times in chat rooms back in the day. But after about 2 weeks, my frequency of usage had dropped considerably. I still used chat rooms, just not all the time. Same things with stuff like video games. Yeah, when GTA: Vice City came out, my PS2 was running ALL THE TIME. But again, after a few weeks, after you get used to the new and exciting, you get on with your life.

Same with Facebook. When I first signed on to it, I'm guessing about 2 years ago, it was interesting. I had only sign onto it because some friends were into Scrabulous, and I wanted to play with them. Then, as more people signed on, and more people started playing "Dope Wars", and sending you Ice Vampire attacks, it was fun! And you could update your status, and read what everyone else was doing, and see pictures of yourself posted by others, and videos and get totally into it. But then, like everything else, it either outlives its usefulness, or you integrated as another tool. And I guess that's where I am with Facebook. I like it to check in on friends, old and new. I like playing Scrabble with one of my best friends who lives in Seattle (and I NEVER get to see). And I can put up photos of my little girl so friends and family can see how much she's grown over the years. And it's a great place to point people to my blog. Useful, effective, and yes, even fun.

I don't know addicted my friends are to Facebook. But I doubt they're as bad as a lot of other people out there. How about this article from CNN, about a woman who wouldn't even help her daughter with her homework, because she was too busy using Facebook. Now, if you're neglecting your children, or your job, or friends for Facebook...I think Facebook is the LEAST of your problems; it just happens to be the vehicle of choice to manifest your deeper issues. But I'm no shrink...

Here are some more articles on FB addiction: 1, 2, 3

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