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The Facebook De-addiction Project

26th March, 2011

Ogglity Wogglity Ogglee Woo,
That’s a nice status message, I like it too.
I know your entire life, well, mostly the good parts,
You’re good at Farmville, hate Bieber and can’t avoid lemon tarts!

The Internet .. the INTERNET!Seriously Facebook has consumed me. I can almost see that news feed refresh with more updates, right above my head. More profile picture updates. More Facebook check-ins. More party pictures, Goa pictures, family pictures and banyan pictures. And witty one-line status messages. And the disproportionate activity on a female’s so-so witty one-liner.

The likes. The comments. The barrage of nonsense emails about unknown people liking my so-so witty one-line comment. Mostly male.

The HORROR! A mis-spelt comnent. A comnent that should have been a comment. And then that split-second reflex towards that elusive and rather nondescript delete button. My heart pulse regains normal composure. I can re-comment now, not re-comnent.

With so many people watching, I have a reputation to keep. They’re judging me, they are. It’s difficult keeping up. I have to carry a stupid bag to parties just so that the camera can come along. The one with a good flash, otherwise how will people see who all were there? How will people see if I was there?

This is just sick.

For anyone not on Facebook, this is blatant peer-pressure. It’s simply a new wave of social approval that doesn’t seem to understand the limit of voyeurism.

I was (and still am) deep into this mess. I needed to breathe, to see the other side, and so I took that – uh oh – suicidal step.

An entire week off Facebook.

Day 1: Sunday

3:00 pm. I pulled the plug. I didn’t just stay off Facebook, I did some serious wormtail magic that removed all elements of Facebook from all websites – stupid like buttons, right-bar-widgets and even Facebook comments. Gone.

4:30 pm. Observed that my eyes were red, soggy and my hands sweaty, fidgety. My mind was racing, trying to grasp the magnitude of what just happened. No Facebook, goddamnit! AARRRGGGHHHHHH!!! I wore my sandals, put on headphones and flung myself out of my house. I was going on a walk, goddamnit!

6:00 PM. After gorging two cups of Latte and tripping out on some nostalgic electronic dance music, I returned home even more psyched out. Every second turned into a minute, every minute into an hour.

Day 2: Monday

Hear me clearly, because I’ll only say this once: Monday morning saved me. The general drudgery of plowing through a barrage of nonsense (office) emails whisked my mind away from Facebook.

A typical work-day morning starts with one tab for Gmail, another tab for Facebook, and around 16 tabs of blogs and articles from various people on Twitter (side-note: thank you for taking away my three hours of productive work.) Facebook’s absence didn’t upset me too much.

But by lunch time, I realized that I couldn’t understand most of the conversations.

“Did you see her engagement photos? She looks so fat! God I thought at least …”

“He got transferred to the US! Real bad luck ya, this is the worst that could have happened to him …”

“Why does Harsha act so stupid on Facebook? Every bloody time! Is that how you try to impress a girl …”

For the first time I realized the true utility of Facebook: lunch table conversations!

Day 3: Tuesday

It had been just two days but I was already missing my usual bout of mindless commenting.

I knew it – I could already tell – that Rahul had uploaded another stupid profile picture. He changes it two times a week, and I have a Service-Level-Agreement with him to crack a one-liner within 8 hours of the profile upload. That was my entertainment, the wait, the nimble moments in between, the excitement of seeing a new photograph and the agony of conjuring up a new comment.

All that. Was gone.

Day 4: Wednesday

By now I had found ways to circumvent my own methods of curbing Facebook.

Email replies, for one, is a bloody good idea! It’s difficult to see the full thread of conversation, but if you’ve been asked a direct question you can simply reply to the notification email.

“Kartikay, you can’t click a decent photograph! You’re useless you’ve ruined ALL my photos. I will kill you”

To which I aptly reply:

“Ok.”

Day 5: Thursday

The biggest problem with email replies is that you don’t get to see the main USP of Facebook: photographs!

For such moments, you pull out your WiFi-enabled phone and/or WiFi-enabled MP3 player and browse (or rather squint) through those photographs! Isn’t it lovely? When people are gurgling and smiling and commenting away about her wonderful ring, and you have no idea at all because the 3.5” screen can only get you so far? It is, it is lovely!

Day 6: Friday

By this time it dawned upon me that I was in the midst of a Facebook de-addiction program. First I went through denial, then moved on to rage and now, at this point, acceptance.

Life was a little greener without Facebook (no really, that white and blue made every other colour seem a little .. off). There were parks to be explored, photographs to be clicked and restaurants to be ravaged.

(You see, since photographs weren’t being taken we could all ravage on the food presented to us.)

A new sense of freedom, it was.

Day 7: Saturday

My last day of my self-inflicted curb on Facebook. It was a day of reflection, indeed, and a day to recollect the moments of revelry the previous night. I literally mean ‘recollect’, as I tried real hard to figure out how I landed up on my roommates bed and he on the floor.

But anyways, this whole exercise made me realize the acute addiction I had for Facebook, and the extent to which it had taken over my life.

Seriously, commenting on Rahul’s stupid profile picture is not going to make me happier. Gloating on the two (yes TWO!) likes on my status message isn’t going to massage my ego any more. Fumbling over the 17 likes and 28 comments on her first cricket-related status message is not going to improve my quality of life.

And yet, it’s not like I missed out on anything important. Twitter is a great source of good things to read: articles, editorials and random rants berating my company. Photographs? People I care about share their photographs on Picasa anyway. And those photographs are phenomenally better because I have memories associated with them.

Facebook, just buzz off from my life.

Day 8: Sunday

12:01 AM. http://www.facebook.com.

29 Notifications
1 New Friend Request
3 Wall Posts
68 Albums to Flip Through

Guess what … I’m baacckkkk!!

… and then this was the first thing I saw:

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39 Comments leave one →
  1. 26th March, 2011 1:06 AM

    **** off…which week was this…I can see some activity everyday on your news feed for the past 2 weeks. i’m tellin you…ur pea sized brain couldn’t take the pressure and a split personality took over and logged in.

    • 26th March, 2011 1:20 AM

      I was off from 6th to 12th March you fidgety twidgit.

      (Get it? twidget = twit + idiot + midget! Bloody three-in-one combo move. K.O.)

      It took me a long while to overcome the procrastination to write this. Please understand. (Also, I Worked-From-Home today).

      Also, no abusing. I’m censoring you.

  2. 26th March, 2011 1:11 AM

    Jhessss! hahahaha… You’re my favorite blogger, you know that? 🙂

    I’m going through a deaddiction too.. but in my own small way (so you know that doesnt help much). 🙂 What I do is come onto facebook in bursts.. never going to be open all day long anymore.

    Awesome post Sahay.. expected you to come up with a cracker of a post like this.

    • 26th March, 2011 1:28 AM

      You call that a de-addiction? I am going to burst out laughing so loud that some rep from the Guiness Book of Records will contact me. HA!

      On a more serious note, add this to your /etc/hosts file:

      127.0.0.1 http://www.facebook.com

      That’s the only way. The. Only. Way.

      Also, next time no niceties. That’s just wrong.

    • 26th March, 2011 1:58 PM

      Nooo.. I cant do that…

      Anyhooo, I haven’t opened facebook today.. but your blog i did, jhesss

    • 26th March, 2011 8:57 PM

      REALLY? See, I know you’re kidding. Yes, you are!

  3. abinash permalink
    26th March, 2011 1:25 AM

    Facebook deaddiction is like dieting, you come back to it only to be more addicted.

    • 26th March, 2011 1:30 AM

      *sniff* .. thank you man .. *sniff* thank you for understanding my pain!

    • Saig permalink
      12th May, 2011 4:26 PM

      I really don’t understand what this facebook addiction is all about. Or May be I’m stupid enough not to know its pleasures.

      my frnds are online probably 247 and i log in probably once or twice a week and dont miss much at all.

      And there were months wen I dint bother either. So I guess I’m pretty safe from addiction, de addiction and re addiction.

      By the way nice blog and I’m sure to subscribe to read other ravings and rantings.

    • 13th May, 2011 11:31 AM

      Really Saig? Wow! I have to say that that is the best solution!

    • Saig permalink
      13th May, 2011 12:30 PM

      Really! If there is something important that needs to be seen, my frnds let me know. And I login then. And I since I keep in touch with them over the fone once a week, der really is not much to miss….

  4. 26th March, 2011 1:31 AM

    Hahahaha….interesting, quite interesting.
    You write a little less frequently but always come out with some damn amazing stuff when you do.
    Liked the turn in the end, and that made the post what it is. 🙂
    Personally, was never really addicted to it. I am immune as mostly nothing holds my attention for a long time and I quickly get bored and move on 😉 And yeah, I have 23 pending friend requests and have stopped counting notifications. 😛

    • 26th March, 2011 8:59 PM

      Ya man, I really don’t write frequently enough. I would like to blame my company and my work, but frankly I know no one buys that argument anymore. 😦

      Also, this gift of yours to move on after getting bored is something you should cherish for years to come. It’s saved you from the wrath of Facebook!

  5. Anand Shankar permalink
    26th March, 2011 3:09 AM

    I’d refrain from a witty comment (Not that I wanted to spare you the horror, but because I think writing “witty” comments is just not “cool”) .
    All in all , a pragmatic article. I must mention that the flow was smooth , hence enjoyable. I could actually see the status messages, the likes , the comments, the red notifications flash before my eyes as I delved into the later portions of the article.

    Keep writing. It was delightful. 🙂

    • 26th March, 2011 9:02 PM

      This is not the Anand Shankar I know. Has he been caught with some phishing attack? Man-in-the-middle attack? XSS?

      DUDE! I demand, yes demand, a witty comment!

  6. delhizen permalink
    26th March, 2011 12:34 PM

    and to breakaway from the de-addiction two things you did were to post happy holi pics on FB and write a post 😉 good going man!

    While FB and I had a social connection, twitter was my addiction fix. I even gave-up on my smart phone for 6 months because I wanted to break-up with twitter… but Patty got us back together recently, and now I’m busy catching up on the lost time, so what it my watch says it 5 am!

    • 26th March, 2011 9:05 PM

      Haha – yes yes – my arms were being twisted to upload those Holi photographs!

      Twitter’s your addiction eh? Wow, mine too! The thing is that I’m definitely sure I’ll crack up if I have to give up my twitter stream. My precious .. oh so precious!

      Also, 5 am? Wow! Twitter has a HOLD on you! Punch Patty from my side, please 🙂

  7. Vishal permalink
    26th March, 2011 4:39 PM

    Unlike your sudden break-up with facebook, I have put it on notice. She has been warned of the doom that is to follow. I hope she will understand. Today, is day two.

    • 26th March, 2011 10:01 PM

      Best of luck on your new endeavour! May you emerge victorious and find a way to use Facebook on your portable devices!

  8. 27th March, 2011 9:42 PM

    Purba Ray likes this ……………

    Is this when you uploaded your rather colourful Holi pics?

    All this agony only to fail? Ahh the sweet taste of failure 😀

    My success mantra….If you love it, why fight it? These are the guilty pleasure of life….so enjaaaay

    • 27th March, 2011 11:23 PM

      The taste of failure is sweet indeed 🙂

      This one week pre-dates the colourful Holi photographs – it just took me a long time to write this down. I would like to blame my work, but I know I really can’t!

      Thanks a lot!

  9. tangyorangesour permalink
    27th March, 2011 11:40 PM

    I need to get that music.

    • 28th March, 2011 1:32 AM

      Haha – it’ll only psych you out more 🙂

    • tangyorangesour permalink
      28th March, 2011 1:45 AM

      no, not really. I prefer the music and not the video. Anyway as it is with ‘addiction’, the fault is the medium and not the person. hmm…

      Monday is coming soon. Shall rest now.

    • 28th March, 2011 12:59 PM

      the fault is the medium and not the person

      That is well said my man, well said!

  10. Mia permalink
    30th March, 2011 1:49 PM

    I’m good at deactivating account for months in a row.

    Right now I can’t deactivate it though.. the WC status updates are fun to read! 🙂

    • 30th March, 2011 6:07 PM

      Haha – the World Cup is THE most important thing right now! Why do you think I timed the exit from my de-addiction project at this moment? The World Cup is too awesome!

      Thanks for dropping by, Mia!

  11. 17th April, 2011 8:52 PM

    Oooh I’m inspired now… feel like shutting down the laptop right away!!! (Btw, in all that excitement of typing this comment, I almost damaged my rep by typing a ‘shitting’ instead of ‘shutting’!!! Phew!!!!)

    • 18th April, 2011 2:08 AM

      Hehe .. go do it! Go do it! By that I mean to shut down the laptop, of course!

  12. 8th May, 2011 9:42 PM

    LOL!! Good stuff! Sadly I’m an addict too..somehow I feel FB has actually managed to polish my pre-existing procrastinating side 😀

    • 8th May, 2011 10:51 PM

      I can totally understand! Try it – try one week off Facebook – see what it feels like to have so much more time in your hands!

  13. 15th June, 2011 7:24 PM

    Man. I gotta try this once. Quitting Facebook that is.

    • 16th June, 2011 9:56 AM

      Then where will we get all our quotes from? Nooooooooo!

  14. salman permalink
    5th August, 2011 8:43 PM

    i read this blog to find a solution to my addiction .. now i think u need more help than i do .. take care man .. lol
    btw .. i btw , i have been off facebook for more than a month recently . but now when am back ., am worse than before .. anyway , from my one month i can tell u that one way u can get some life off fb is by avoiding commenting n shit . that way d notifications r lot lesser , but is really killin me is the useless news feeds i read . ! not fun man .. i need help

  15. Giggity giggity permalink
    6th August, 2011 11:20 PM

    Kartikay,

    Good post. I couldn’t relate with most of it though. You see, I’m a humble (?!) guy from a tier 2 city whose first tryst with social networking was via Orkut. So, when I moved to a tier1 (?!) city, I was an outsider who just couldn’t fit in with people whose talks revolved almost always around Facebook. So you know what I did? I created an account in Stumbleupon 😉 Now I’m fed with such a staggering amount of information everyday, I barely get time to worry about Facebook or any other social networking sites; while I try to get over my stumbleupon and wikipedia addiction 😦

    Once again, nice post mate. Keep ’em coming.

    Cheers

    • 7th August, 2011 9:46 AM

      That was a smart move, Mr Tier 1.5! Facebook is a curse and will hopefully be banned in Middle Eastern countries.

  16. 6th March, 2013 2:47 PM

    Facebook addiction is a dependence on some human being mind. When you’re addicted, you may not be able to control facebook use. facebook addiction can cause an intense craving . You may want to quit, but most people find they can’t do it on their own.

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