Wednesday, 5 March 2014

I am home: some thoughts on facebook, again

Today I missed the chance of getting a 500-pound voucher to shop online at my favorite store. I won't say the name of the brand here, but it's a pretty cool, fair trade one. The thing that called my attention, though, was the fact that, in order for me to apply to it, I would need to first 'like' their facebook page and then follow the instructions from the networking site.

Well, everybody knows I'm on detox. I could very well login quickly and enter it without further ado. I didn't, and I feel proud about that. I want to persist on my goal, and return to the site only when I'm supposed to return. It seems such a short period of time (1 month) but trust me, when you're an addict, it feels like an eternity. Perhaps that's reason enough for me to stay away on a more permanent basis? I think the only thing that prevents me from moving forth with a drastic solution like this is the fact that facebook is a means for me to keep in touch with most of my friends and family members. Other than that, I would be happy to be away forever, I guess.

Now back to the voucher I won't get a chance to run for. It's amazing that everyone seems so hooked on to the social network that it's become normalized as 'part of life', at least for the so-called generation-y, and I kinda get worried about it. Whenever I meet someone who doesn't have a facebook account, I can't hide the shock on my face. I know it's bad. It happened yesterday, as I talked to a very nice girl I met at a development course in NUIG. I asked her if she was in the course's facebook group and she let me know that she did not have a facebook account and as I think my face went 'ohhhhhh really' again, she said "I know, it's strange, but I don't have a facebook account". At that moment, I just wanted to tell her that it's not strange at all, that she is my idol for that. Like, really. I so admire people like that. It's like they're telling me: "see, you silly, I need no artifice to feel cool" and, even though I do feel a bit cautious towards people who are resistant to change, I still admire those who value interpersonal relationships on a more realistic basis. I say 'more realistic' because I do feel those relationships we build online are real, even though they lack in profundity in many cases. 

What is insane, though, is that I'm a person who met a life partner online. I have all reasons to celebrate virtual life as the best thing that could happen in one's existence. Yet, I have reservations about that. Only now that I feel sucked up into a very disorganized lifestyle and that messiness is actually disturbing me, that I realized how much time I wasted online. Which begs the next question: is it the existence of the social network in itself that is the problem, or the fact that so many people, including me, are so addicted to it? Or maybe both?

Well, I vote for both. I totally dislike playing the victim role, as in 'oh, I'm such a poor creature who wanted to socialize a bit and felt that if I didn't have cool posts that conveyed profound messages, people wouldn't like me', but, to some extent, that's how I feel. I also don't like the 'total agency' role, as in 'well, this is what I did to myself, no one was pointing a gun at me and I could very well have managed my time better'. Even though the last argument seems so bullet-point to what has actually happened to me, I really don't feel it answers it all. Because, to some extent, when ALL your friends are available ONLY on facebook, you obviously want to be in touch with them and end up going back to the site again and again. 

There is even a metaphor running on the Brazilian circles of fb. It states that being on facebook is like being part of a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon episode. When you want to get out, something happens that gets you to stick around for a little while more. The most obvious thing one could think while reading that sentence is there's plenty of jobless people on the social networking. But then, when you stop and investigate further, people aren't really jobless. On the contrary, they complain that they've been working too much and have no time for themselves. Yet, we spare our precious free hours trying to keep up with information we haven't even asked for, such as your cousin's lunch or the fact that someone is suffering from constipation (trust me, I've seen that on fb). 

So, I come to the conclusion that facebook is a very bad idea for people who tend to procrastinate. People like me, who absolutely abhor the amount of nonsense posted on the site (including my nonsense, I'm no exception to that rule) and still keep on going back for 'just a quick check'. Like we're stuck in a Dungeons and Dragons episode. Like we've never really asked to be in that magic land and are so tired of the endless adventures that materialize in front of us that all we ask for is to be home again. I am home now, and it feels pretty comfortable in here ;-)


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