The Facebook De-addiction Project
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!
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:
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.
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: