Friday, April 29, 2011

Addicted to Facebook??

It wasn’t long ago that I was anti-Facebook. For all the people I’m friends with on Facebook, that may be hard to believe. If you talked to me eighteen months ago, I didn’t want anything to do with Facebook. I didn’t want people to know what I was doing or where I was going. After all, what business did they have knowing where I was eating dinner, and why would they even care? I especially didn’t want people to know where and when I was traveling. I was paranoid that iPhone pictures being posted would be embedded with GPS coordinates that would lead a bad guy directly to my front door while I was on a trip. However, I also heard stories of people reconnecting with friends from days gone by. So, after a little more research, I realized Facebook wasn’t all that evil, and signed up.

At first, I was overwhelmed. Friend requests? Status updates? Pictures? Tagging? I almost deactivated my account within the first ten minutes of signing up. It didn’t take long, however, before I was updating my status daily (and sometimes more). I was loading more and more pictures, and eventually, **gasp** telling people where I was going? Throughout the past eighteen months, I’ve reconnected with old high school friends, a few old work buddies who I had no way of finding, and of course, I’ve made a lot of new friends and have been able to keep in touch with them. It really is quite entertaining, and a good way to keep tabs on your friends.

The funny thing about Facebook, however, is that as you acquire more and more “friends,” it’s easier to spend more and more time on Facebook trying to keep up with all of them. One of my status updates once, said something to the effect of, “It seems the number of Facebook friends one has is inversely proportional to the number of real friends they have.” This may not be entirely true, but the social networking site, seems to make some people, less social. After all, who’s more social; a guy walking down his street talking to the neighbors, or the same guy walking down the same street with his head buried in his iPhone keeping tabs on his friends latest trip to Starbucks? I’ve been that guy so I’m certainly not throwing stones, because if I were, I’d have to throw some at myself.

Lately, I’ve noticed I’m spending way too much time on Facebook. It’s become so addictive that I’ll find myself logging off Facebook on my computer, only to pull out my iPhone less than a minute later, and logging back in. It’s easy to become addicted. You post a status update and it’s almost like the number of comments you receive is akin to a popularity contest in high school. It doesn’t help when people tell you they love your status updates (although it is a nice stroke to the ego). And who doesn’t love seeing those little red numbers when you log in? A few personal messages, half-a-dozen notifications, maybe a new friend request...gonna be a good day. But is that really what being social is about? Do I love keeping up with my friends? Absolutely. Do I enjoy seeing pictures from their latest vacation? Yep. Do I enjoy reading a well worded status update. You bet. Do I need to know “John Smith” was at Olive Garden three hours ago with two other people? No.

This piece sounds a lot like something a girlfriend would say right before she breaks up with you. The whole, “It’s not you, it’s me” line. This isn’t that. Some people take Facebook fasts. Some people deactivate their Facebook account altogether. I’m not going to do either of those things. From now on, I’m going to be conscious of what’s going on around me. I’m not breaking up with Facebook (or all my friends). But I don’t want to miss out on life either. I’m going to be social...socially.

Pilots have a saying they use while taxiing around when the pilot who’s not taxiing the airplane is going to look down at the airplane computer, or get something out of his flight bag. They’ll say, “I’m going head’s down,” as an indication to the other pilot to be extra vigilant because there are no longer two sets of eyes on what’s going on outside. And whenever the pilot who was “head’s down” is done doing what they were doing, they’ll say, “I’m back.” So, if you’ve seen me “head’s down” lately, my apologies. I’m back now. I’m going to keep my chin up, so I don’t miss out on things, and trust me, if something cool happens, I’ll tell you about it. Maybe not the second it happens, maybe not even the same day, but if you need to know, you will.