(This post is part of an awesome series of awesome 25swf guest bloggers- read about them here!)
Two weeks ago, I binged. Hard. I kept going and going, unable to stop. I grabbed for more, trying desperately to satiate myself. But the more I clamored, the more I thirsted for more…
No, readers, it wasn’t chocolate or coke. It wasn’t cigs or booze. It was worse. It was Facebook.
I’ve been off Facebook for two weeks now, venturing on (with trepidation) to read messages and monitor postings and photos. After reading fellow 25swf’s post about the perils of fb-stalking, I too took a vow of celibacy. No more information porn for me.
At first it was hard. How could I live without knowing that Tess O. was in food coma from too much Thai food? That Lenny A. just ran 2.97 miles with his Nike-iPhone pedometer? That Mallory just checked in at Whole Foods (with 13 others)?
But I learned to live without this information. I was a happier person, living in the moment. You know. Real moments. I knew stuff about people because they actually told me, not because a virtual vomitwire was spewing it at me.
Facebook became a far-away land that I could just pretend didn’t exist. Sure, I knew in the back of my mind that it had loads of exciting things going on, but they were things that didn’t pertain to my life and so I didn’t really care. Sort of how most Americans felt about the political uprising in Egypt or the Mayoral Election in Chicago.
And then, the binge. A simple click of the mouse led to the page of my ex-boyfriend (the one I dated for 7 years). And that’s how I found out he got engaged. I started snooping, first his profile, then the fiance’s, then the fiance’s sister’s, then the fiance’s brother-in-law, then that girl named Ruthie who commented on the fiance’s photos from their dinner last week at a kosher Chinese restaurant….I felt the binge take hold of me, consuming me, exploding my brain, eyes, stomach to smithereens, pulverizing any sense of stability I’d finally achieved after two weeks of mayhem…
So, I took a lunch break.
As I enjoyed Baja Fresh Diablo Shrimp Tacos (soft shell, extra jalapenos) I realized that while Facebook is a wonderful networking tool, it is also destructive. And so I shouted out, from the steps of Baja Fresh (in my head, of course):
I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE
Like Howard Beale, in the fabulous film, Network, I’m mad as hell that Facebook has taken over lives. We’ve become slaves to a website and the useless information it holds. If Facebook gives us good news, we’re happy (“Hilary had a baby — send her a box of virtual truffles!”); if it gives us bad news, we’re sad (“My dog was run over today. RIP old man — you always did have a thing for motorcycles”). The website has the power to ruin my day or enliven my mood. And that’s way too much power.
And so, as Max Schumacher said to Diana in that same brilliant film:
“You are television incarnate, Diana, indifferent to suffering, insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality.”
Only now, Facebook has replaced television — the common, unifying social force that is insensitive to our feelings, insensitive to our insecurities. Facebook doesn’t care how all useless, hurtful, insulting, and just plain dumb information that it spews forth hurts us. But we recklessly imbibe its poison, allowing it to influence how we see our world — and above all, ourselves.
And on that note, I’m turning off my computer and going to watch some quality television.