Facebook Junkie? Kick the Facebook Habit

As Speakers Corner is to London, Facebook is to the World

Facebook Is Wonderful, in Moderation

Facebook, the popular online social networking service., is to its world-wide users what 'Bughouse Square' was to Chicago and Speakers' Corner is to London—a place where anyone can stand on a soapbox or park bench, figuratively speaking, and comment on anything from anarchy to Bollywood to Christmas to Zoroaster.

Facebook is relations, friends, and acquaintances staying in touch, sharing photos, jokes, recipes, joys, and sorrows, empathizing, and reinforcing bonds of family and community.

Facebook is news from the home front -- many homes in many communities in many countries -- presented uniquely to each user in a constant stream of algorithm chosen tidbits.

What used to be a reasonable distance to travel to get to a social gathering was measured in walking distance, in horse and buggy ride distance, in train or car ride distance, or in plane ride distance. Now, in the age of the World Wide Web, getting to a “virtual” social gathering is measured by the speed of an Internet connection. I exchange comments from my computer in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA with Facebook friends in California, Scotland, Australia, and other distant places as readily and nonchalantly as I stroll into the next room to chat with my wife.

Frederic Remington. The Smoke Signal, 1905, Amon Carter Museum. Public domain photo of painting from Wikipedia Commons.
Frederic Remington. The Smoke Signal, 1905, Amon Carter Museum. Public domain photo of painting from Wikipedia Commons.

Continuing the History of Communications

How is that different from sending and receiving telegrams, faxes, shortwave radio messages, telephone calls, or video calls? Communication between distant parties as though they were face-to-face has been commonplace since the electric telegraph was developed in the first half of the 19th century. And in the 20th century, turning on a radio or a television allowed a family somewhere in the world to be virtually present at a conversation taking place thousands of miles away.

The development of the computer brought programmable applications, including in communications; networks linked computers together; the Internet linked computer networks together into a worldwide network of networks; and the World Wide Web brought to the Internet multimedia hypertext hyperlinked interactive web pages. Online social networking services, of which Facebook is to date the most successful, facilitate using the World Wide Web for communication between any two or more participants, either in real time or received when convenient. "Or more" could mean anything from three persons to millions of persons. Browsing Facebook can be compared to chatting with other guests at a party, in groups or one-on-one, or to strolling about one's village or neighborhood, stopping in a park to play a game of checkers, stopping at various homes to visit family friends, stopping at the public library to research topics of interest, stopping at a tavern or a coffeehouse to exchange opinions on issues of the day with cronies, and stopping to chat briefly with acquaintances also out strolling and encountered by chance, all of this by whim with the speed of a computer mouse click and spanning the earth.

And Facebook is financed by advertisers and for participants is free. A customized cornucopia of goods and services is displayed off to the side of the screen for each participant.

Facebook is marvelous.

A downside of Facebook is that for some persons it is psychologically addictive.

Poll

Which, if any, of these choices describes your Facebooki experience?

  • I am a Facebook addict and love it and am gladly there a lot
  • Excessive time on Facebook is often a problem for me
  • I have learned, or am learning, to use Facebook in moderation
  • I have never had a problem using Facebook in moderation, or infrequently
  • I no longer use Facebook
  • I have not yet tried Facebook
See results without voting

What makes Facebook addictive?

In the 1975 (remade in 2004) movie The Stepford Wives, based on the novel of the same title, the men of an upper-middle-class American suburban town murder and replace their wives with robots. Each robot looks exactly like the wife it replaced as the wife looked when most beautiful and sexy. Each robot is programmed to please its 'husband'. Whatever sort of sex, attention, or service the husband wants, the robot wife gives, apparently happily, never with any hint of boredom, sarcasm, annoyance, complaint, or backtalk. A robot wife never nags, never argues, never has a headache, always has a gourmet perfectly cooked supper ready on time. When not wanted, it puts itself away in its storage box (if my memory is right).

Facebook is a wholesome for teens to totterers general audience service and does not provide even simulated marital relations, but it is programmed to please the ego of each user. Want to chat with best friends? You can do that. What to unfriend a friend who annoyed you? You can do that. Want to read about the social issues that rile you? You can do that and feel good about signing petitions and sharing them. Want to peek through the window of Facebook at the life of a far away, never met, removed cousin, or of an acquaintance of a friend of a scarcely known long ago classmate? You can (assuming the essential facts) do that. Want a fast and easy way to wish a happy birthday? Facebook provides that. Want to send a private message without leaving Facebook? You can. Want to tell the world, or just your friends, about your latest achievement, creation, gripe, joke, or insight? You can. Want to comment appreciatively, sympathetically, or with gentle disagreement on friends' posts, or give your blessings with Likes? You can. Want to exchange gossip with a clique? On Facebook you can. Want to make snide remarks about those who are wrong and supportive remarks about those who are right? You can. Want to look at and share cute pictures of children and pets? You often can.

After you have been an active user for a while and have added more and more contacts (which may be friends of friends of friends, slight acquaintances, casual acquaintances, friends, best friends, distant relations, close relations, or whatever, all of whom on Facebook are called friends) and after the Facebook software has learned what interests you, there will be an endless parade of interesting posts just ahead on your home page. You can sign off at any time, or you can read just a few more posts— a niece's daughter has gotten engaged; Congress seems on the verge of passing an atrocious bill; a friend has shared a hilarious photo; a notification says that someone you admire has commented on one of your posts; one of your liked Pages has shared a petition that wrenches your gut and tugs your heartstrings; a sibling is on a trip and posting beautiful photos; a good but far away friend who has not posted anything in a long time has posted sad news that requires a sympathetic response; .... When you do finally sign off, pulled away by duty or sleepiness, you can sign on again whenever your circumstance allows and you get the urge, Some people never sign off. For them, life is a disruption from Facebook. (I have not even mentioned real-time text message chatting or numerous choices of games.)

Facebook is psychologically addictive because it is designed to please the ego of each user in “just a few more” little doses, asking in return only the opportunity to show advertizements.

from Live Life Live by Caitlin Morski

There’s no instant replay, there’s no rewind
There’s no playback, but I find
If you give it your all the first time by
You’ll do okay!

You gotta live life live
If you think you’re goin’ nowhere, you can revive
No time to worry, just rear back and dive
Woah, you gotta live life live. [1]

Action Steps to Break Free of Facebook Addiction

If unmarried, go on dates until you find a sweetheart who is little interested in Facebook and much interested in you're in the flesh attentions. If married, romance your spouse more, offline.

Put more time into gainful employment or self-employment, or into looking for that, or into finding and doing volunteer work for worthy causes or charities.

Create something, such as (to give just a few suggestions) write a novel, make up a story to tell to children, paint a picture, learn to play a musical instrument, join a community theater, grow a flowers garden, or learn a handicraft, such as woodworking or quilting.

Get active in a social movement or a community organization or a charity that you believe is making our home planet Earth an even better place to live, at least in your locality at least a little.

Do what you have been going to do when you get “a round toit” (which the hardware store seems to never have in stock).

If applicable, spend more appreciative time with your spouse, and your children, and your parents.

In general, get a life, and live life live.

But then, what if you do all of that and then at bedtime you tell yourself you will go on Facebook for just 10 or 15 minutes and instead you get to bed two or three hours later, leaving you short of sleep and of focus in the morning? What might help is to find ways to get your Facebook session interrupted. Drink lots of water so that you will have to take a bathroom break. Send a Facebook message asking a friend to phone you. Set an alarm clock or timer in another room. Put something in the oven or the microwave oven to bake or cook. Make a wine or herbal tea and poetry date with your spouse. Having to leave your computer even for just a minute might help you free your mind from the "read and Like just a few more posts" endless temptations. As Frankl wrote, "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." [2]

In the interruption, think about the pleasures of your getting to bed routine and of an early fresh start in the morning, such as taking dawn photos outdoors or as improvising an omelet recipe that you can later post on Facebook.

Facebook is a wonderful pastime in moderation. If all of your efforts to break free of Facebook addiction and to use it only in moderation fail, then go cold turkey and uninstall Facebook from all of your devices with Internet access. If you need help adjusting to days without Facebook, start a Facebook Addicts Circle on Google+.

Or is Google+ psychologically addictive, too? I wonder. Don't exchange one hard to kick habit for another. Like, once I start browsing and hubtivitizing, I find it even harder to log off and pull myself away from HubPages than from Facebook.

Update

As of early October 2014 I've freed myself from Facebook addiction by getting addicted to Bubblwews, where I go by &bleekley. Now I just skim Facebook to see how family and friends are doing. I spend a lot of time on Bubblews. The pennies paid for views, likes, and comments are an incentive to post and network. Aside from that, I like being a virtual neighbor with people all over the world. It's hard to have a provincial, ethnocentric attitude after some time reading posts from six of the seven continents and learning from the experience that there are many traditions and customs but only a few basic human needs.

Sources

[1] Morski, Caitlin. "Live Life Live" morskimusic.com n.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec 2013.

[2] Frankl, Viktor E. (1905-1997). Man's Search for Meaning. -- unspecified edition quoted at "Viktor E. Frankl Quotes" goodreads.com Web 13 Dec 2013

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Comments 32 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

It most definitely can be addictive. I have trained myself to do fly-bys on Facebook...I just stop long enough to comment on one of my friend's posts or on something that catches my eye that instant. I don't scroll down to see what has been posted hours before. I am much too busy for Facebook other than using it as a break from my writing.

I do love Facebook because it is so easy to stay in touch with people I care about. I hate talking on the phone and have always been that way. Facebook allow me to have quick communication and then get on with what is really important.

Great reflections my friend. I hope you have a great weekend.

bill


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

Good read! I don't do Facebook and have no intention of ever joining; I've heard of too many bad experiences. I don't have time to sit on the computer more than I do already - yes, you've guessed it, I'm in danger of being addicted to Hubpages!! I spend quite a bit of time on it but now I limit myself to a certain time of day and it works well. Up, useful & interesting.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

I agree with you. It's harder to pull away from HubPages than Facebook. I rarely go into FB on purpose. I usually only go there when I get emails that someone has posted something.

You did a fabulous job of this article. I know many people are guilty of being Facebook addicts. I wonder how apropos it would be to share this on FB? :-)


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

This is great insight. I stopped using FB when it became too difficult to support all of the drama on there! LOL When I was ill, bed-ridden, after multiple surgeries, FB was great. I could play games.....but then it became an excuse not to get out of bed.

I would much rather be on HP too. At least here I'm using my brain for something constructive.


Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 2 years ago from the wadi near the little river

Betty White, American comedian and actress aged 91, did a funny skit on Saturday Night Live. I put the whole quote in my 'Quotes about the Internet.' Here's part of it:

"Facebook when I was growing up. We had phonebook, but you wouldn't waste an afternoon with it."

She got a lot of laughs from that one because everyone knew what she was saying.

Enjoyed your article and voted up!


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, billybuc. Facebook fly-bys is a great idea. I'm going to give that a try.

I'm uncomfortable using a phone, too.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for commenting, annart. I admire your discipline in sticking to a time limit on Hubpages. Sometimes I don't.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, bravewarrior. Sure, go ahead and share on FB if you feel so inclined. I express my fondness for Facebook in the hub


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, CraftytotheCore. I like your insight that FB is great for the bed-ridden, but when you no longer are, log off and get out of bed.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks lots, Writer Fox, and thanks for the Betty White line.


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest

It can definitely be addicting and even if not addicting, a time waster for sure. I actually downloaded and installed a free Firefox addon called leechblock that you can use to restrict access to sites whenever you need to. It's supposed to increase productivity and boy did it ever! I did not realize until I used it how much time I squirreled away checking FB and other social media sites.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, ChristinS. I'm going to give that addon a try. I've tried limiting my Facebook time by Facebooking only while eating. So instead of eating lunch in 20 minutes I take more like 90 minutes and eat way too much.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I don't spend much time on FBK I recently heard over a million South Africans deleted their Facebook accounts I fully agree with their decisions. Fbk is can be addictive and is just a whole lot a nonsense at times.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for commenting, DDE. I've concluded that I'm addicted to frittering. Facebook is just one way that I fritter away time.


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

I love FB and I find it very useful for me to communicate with distant friends and family but I use it in moderation. I agree, it could be addictive. I know some people who'd post everything on FB even a stop at the washroom and I think that's where the problem begins. :)

I'd sit on HP more than FB. At least, I'd earn some cents here and I get to read some good stuff like this one.

Thank you.


LeisureLife profile image

LeisureLife 2 years ago from USA

People are spending too much time on Facebook these days. I myself hardly ever login anymore. Sorry Mark Zuckerberg. However, I am debating purchasing some Facebook stock, so I too can share in the profits from other people's Facebook "addictions".


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

I agree, CrisSp, that moderation is the watchword for sensible living. I find HubPages to be even more addictive than Facebook. It takes an effort to use them in moderation and then pull myself away and back to my work.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

I don't have the spare cash to be an investor but imagine that investing in Facebook would be profitable, LeisureLife. Of course do your homework before deciding.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

I do have a Facebook account, but I am not an addict at all. It is good to keep in touch with friends and relatives. I get mobile updates and if there is anything worth reading, I read it.

I find myself more on HubPages than Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for sharing this interesting hub!


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for commenting, Sharan. I like your sensible use of Facebook.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 2 years ago from Western NC

I get sort of addicted when I want to share things, read another article, and otherwise look at interesting pages. I'm going on a technology "fast" next week when I go to the beach. Haha. Great hub. Voted and shared.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for commenting, cclitgirl. You're not even taking a smart phone or tablet computer to the beach? That'll be exciting to go primitive for a week.


ARUN KANTI profile image

ARUN KANTI 2 years ago from KOLKATA

Facebook is very useful to have communication and exchange feelings very quickly . Although I am not very FB addict like my children I like to go for its sensible use and striking friendship with like minded people. Thank you for a good hub well written.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks for your comment, Arun Kanti, and thanks for setting a good example of sensible Facebook use.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

I have come to realize that Facebook really is a valuable tool for writers, but rather than spending too much time on it I don't think I'm there enough. The problem is that what I am doing in life is way too dull to trouble anyone about. Interesting hub.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Thanks, Mel Carriere. I sent you a Facebook friend request (as Brian Leekley) as I know that life is not dull for a good writer such as you.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 24 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

I have to agree, fb is everything you've said, but my one problem is that people uses the site for almost all their social needs. There's no real communicating anymore. Not everything needs to be in the public domain, fb is great for networking and keeping in touch, but I'm concerned about the amount of personal information people are placing on social sites like fb. Great hub, interesting and useful, voting up all the way.


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 24 months ago from Jamaica

I am getting into social media marketing and find myself doing a lot of stuff on facebook. It takes nerves of steel to stay focused while working on fb.


caseymel profile image

caseymel 23 months ago from Indiana

I am not on there as much as I used to be. I was spending way too much time there!


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 23 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

Yes, tobusiness. And the same goes for Bubblews, if not more so. Before posting one ought to ask what of my personal diary, journal, true confessions, or rants, complaints and gossip file is of interest to the peoples of the world and appropriate to share? I do like to read firsthand about "the world according to" (to use John Irving's phrase) assorted individuals, but why try to convince me to take a side in some strangers' family feud or lovers' quarrel? And human relations staffers considering whom to hire read social networking sites posts.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 23 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

I agree, rasta1. And I don't have nerves of steel.


B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 23 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA Author

I am spending less time on Facebook now, too, caseymel -- because I'm hooked on Bubblews, where I go by bleekley.

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