Unsocial social addiction

Late in September, I decided that I was going to stay away from Facebook for at least a month.

I changed my password to a random string of letters and numbers that I had no chance of memorizing. I then gave the super-secret code to a friend of mine and told him that I was not allowed to log in to Facebook until October was over. It’s been the longest I’ve been away from the website since I got into it.

Admittedly, I did log in twice, but I promise I had good reasons. Reason one: When I deleted Facebook from my phone, all of my games on Words with Friends froze because they were accessed through our favorite social network. I ended up logging back in—just on my phone—so I could get my games going again. Reason two: After a while, I decided to just go ahead and deactivate my account entirely, and that required me to log in. And, yes, once again I lost all my Words with Friends games. Damn you, Zynga!

I originally wanted to get rid of Facebook so I could focus on school. Apparently one month of summer break following nine weeks of intense Latin was not enough for my brain, and I found myself becoming possessed by Facebook when I should have been studying. The studying didn’t exactly happen, though. Not right away, at least.

Unfortunately, the Internet has a lot of distractions. For me, a lot of my new free time went into watching YouTube videos. But getting rid of my account did, without a doubt, have some great benefits.

First, I’ve noticed that I’m regaining interest in things that I started to lose interest in. For example, I’m remembering how cool Latin actually is, despite the fact that it’s really damn difficult to learn. I’m also back to playing guitar regularly. It helps that I’m taking a guitar class this term, but I’ve been playing a lot outside of class and playing music with someone on a consistent basis. It’s like creativity and the will to make music is slowly returning to me.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I’m less stressed out. Or maybe I’m just less annoyed. Either way, it’s a good thing. Constantly dealing with the incessant nagging and trivial statuses that some people post can be overwhelming. In truth, we’re all annoying on Facebook at some point or another, but there are those who don’t understand when enough is enough.

It’s also nice that my blood doesn’t boil now that I don’t have to see 20-somethings misspell words that we learned in elementary school. This also applies to not having to see Facebook’s “trends” all day. No one needs that. Giving Facebook the proverbial axe has surely given me some peace of mind.

I guess the question at this point is, when I go back to Facebook, will I want to stay there? It’s very possible that my “addiction” will reform and I’ll wastefully spend time staring at my newsfeed. It does make me wonder why I’ve chosen to be a part of something that doesn’t exactly bring me happiness in the first place.

My main justification for having Facebook was that it allowed me to stay in touch with several people. But I cut my number of friends down from over 600 to less than 300. And why can’t I just talk to people in person or over the phone? Remember phone calls? I used to call my friends all the time when I was a kid. Now it’s just instant messaging on Facebook and texting. My main point of contact with other humans should not be Facebook; it should be face to face.

But, yes, I am going to reactivate my account and see how I feel about it. Although I might get trapped again, there’s also a chance that I’ll realize that Facebook actually is a complete waste of time. Maybe I’ll get rid of it forever. At the moment, I don’t feel as if I’m missing something, so I don’t think Facebook will be adding anything positive or beneficial to my life. I suppose only time will tell at this point.

To those of you who feel similarly, like social media is draining your existence in the actual world, I’d highly suggest leaving it alone for a while. See what you can do with all your extra time. Maybe you’ll win a Nobel Prize or something.