Free At Last: A True Account from a Recovering Facebook Addict
emisnowemi realized that Facebook was taking over her life—so she decided to take a stand.—Sparkitors
Click. Scroll. Click. Scroll. Click. Click. Click. Tag.
Those used to be the words that followed me around five hours a day.
Back then, my day consisted of going to school, eating a snack, logging on to Facebook, staying on Facebook for three hours, leaving Facebook to do homework for one hour, and then going back to Facebook for another two.
The next day, I'd wake up in the morning, exhausted and uneasy that I wasn't checking up on what my friends were doing. I'd always think, “Why am I so addicted to Facebook? It's not like I give a flying rat's tush about what they do or don't do.” But no matter what, I just couldn't keep myself away.
Even today, 106 days since I left Facebook for good, I still wonder why I really chose to.
An important factor for me was security. I'd heard things here and there that portrayed Facebook as an unreliable place to stash your information. Apparently, they store every bit of information that you've ever entered into the database—every photo, every phone number, every "about me." Once, a young speaker came into my government class and talked to us about our futures. His first piece of advice? Never put anything incriminating on Facebook. The speaker explained that he'd gone to a job interview where the interviewer immediately asked him how his vacation was. He was taken totally by surprise; the only way the interviewer could have know about his trip was by accessing a private photo album only available to the speaker's friends. He concluded that many employers have ways of accessing potential candidates' Facebook profiles—so you should be very careful what you put online.
But I just couldn't accept this. It rattled my cage. How could they be allowed to do that? Did Facebook sell our information?
Then I started noticing strange things when I adjusted my privacy settings. Like, when I went to preview my wall, I saw a light blue box at the top that said, “This is how your profile looks to most people on Facebook.”
That word echoed in my head a bit, but I shrugged it off. Then came a tidal wave of unfortunate events, and eventually the snicker doodle hit the fan and everything went flying. My friends' accounts were getting hacked and sending me virus links. I thought I'd been hacked too, and Facebook sent me straight to my account settings to change my password, but I knew it probably wouldn't help.
I began deleting my photo albums, one by one, until I kept only the minimum amount possible.
I changed my profile information, leaving only my Facebook URL, which couldn't be set to invisible. I didn't even let on that I was female.
I went through my pages and deleted all 2,000 them by hand except for only twelve—and when I went through I made sure that I deleted the ones that revealed my location first.
Soon enough, I started asking myself questions. Why do I even keep this thing? I hate talking to people via internet—I'd much rather have face-to-face and telephone conversations! I started realizing the hypocrisy of it all; as much as I swore to myself that I didn't give a darn about what my not-even-real-friends were doing, I still kept re-reading the news feed. Over and over. Why did I even bother putting up statuses? I didn't care about anyone else's; what did it matter to them what I was doing?
One day, I just snapped.
Frustrated at the fact that I couldn't delete my account, I settled for deactivating it, and I've never gone back.
Now, I roam the internet in peace. I get stuff done. I work harder in school. I have better relationships with my friends, and I have become closer with my best friends, because I no longer put in the half-hearted effort of chatting mindlessly with people online.
This isn't to say that Facebook doesn't have its purposes—obviously, I agree that it's a great way for businesses to communicate globally with their clients.
But as far as this girl's personal life goes, I would much rather it be kept private and mysterious than open and endangered. After all, as Emma Watson said, “The less you reveal, the more people can wonder.”
We think we might die without Facebook. Are we weak? Do we need saving?
Related post: The Facebook Diet