I admit Facebook wasn’t my first nostalgic friend. My journey of virtual social networking started 13 years ago with Nokia. Texting and talking on phone was awesome back then. Then Friendster arrived. After few months, I ditched Friendster when all my friends and relatives started using Hi5. It was cool until I met Facebook and I fell in love with it. It allowed me to express my views, my emotions, communicate easily with my friends. With the internet revolution, everyone got access to the internet and I was able to connect with virtually anybody in the world. Sending friend requests to relatives seemed awkward at first but became cool later. I avoided my parents and teachers of course.
Many things have evolved within Facebook. How could I forget my Online Farm, the Farmville, The Candy Crush, Mafia, War games, and more. The friendship did last years and years until one day I realized something was wrong with it. My husband already left the boat years ago. I was still stuck on that boat. My husband who successfully ditched Facebook continuously reminded me of my bad habits regarding Facebook. It was nostalgia that I couldn’t miss it. Many people like me, they never admitted that they were indeed engulfed by the magic of Facebook. Why would anybody change unless they admit they are doing wrong? Acceptance of the truth was indeed the hardest part. The realization of my Facebook addiction, in other words, Faddiction, took months. Despite continuous pressure from my beloved, I denied this simple fact that I was indeed a Faddict. Smoking is injurious to our health but many people still can’t resist it, do they?
I after months of denial finally admitted the fact and asked my beloved to help me get out of this Faddiction. He knew how to do it as he has already done that. I asked him how can I do that. He gave me simple tasks. First, he asked me to restrict using Facebook to 11 minutes. During that 11 minutes, I explored beautiful pictures of my friend’s vacation.
Did I feel envy of that? Of course not. Hmm… May be. Did I think about going for vacation like them? Yes. Wait, was that my mirror neuron activated?
Next, I noticed a cute baby. You might have guessed what I did. I scrolled down, down, again down… Did I say I watched 50 of them?
I got bored again. I found a DIY page. I already crossed my 11 minutes deadline. He kept nagging me. I felt furious. He pointed out that that anger I expressed was a part of my Faddiction.
Next day, same thing repeated. There was plethora of things to waste my time and make myself busy in unnecessary stuff. Despite knowing the fact that I am in that abyss depth, I couldn’t resist it. I realized I must take major step.
He kept trying his best. He kept on reminding myself. I kept on ignoring him until one day I missed a very important stuff to do while I was busy on my Faddiction. That led to hours of ordeal to amend my mistake. I took that 11 minutes seriously. Next milestone was 5 minutes at a time. After I got comfortable with that I limited myself to 2 minutes. My beloved challenged me to go for 2 minutes. 5 minutes was already ridiculous, he was asking for 2 minutes? I learned one good lesson from this. When I limited myself to few minutes, I skimmed through very important stuff first skipping unnecessary stuffs I was doing before. High priority first and low priority last. I realized I wasted my time on unnecessary stuff first and missed important things. My first priority was to learn new things from Facebook and to keep up to date with friends. That two minutes taught me a very important lesson. “First thing first”.
The two minutes strategy wasn’t helpful much as I felt irritated. I didn’t get enough time to go through. Everything seemed rush. Despite that I continued.
Beside 2 minutes rule, my second attempt was purging my Facebook friends. Throughout this Facebook journey, I have connected with at least 300 friends. Although not significant compared to my friends, it was too much for me. I didn’t know almost half of them. Isn’t that ironic? The most ironic thing was that when you need there is no body. They were just virtual ones. According to one study, those who have many friends in Facebook are indeed loners. Having friends in Facebook does not make somebody social. Nowadays, real friends feel betrayed when they were not friends in Facebook. Does that make sense to you? At least not to me. How come Facebook connection matters lot more than true friendship? I missed those days when many people get together. People were happy without these kind of online social networks, didn’t they? Does the definition of real friendship is limited to whether you are connected in the Facebook or not? Well, I don’t think so. Having Facebook friends, just like having imaginary friends, although many of them are real.
Purging friends in the Facebook wasn’t as simple as I thought. For millennials and generation X, Facebook has become a valid electronic certificate of friendship. Real emotions and feelings does not matter at all. A friendship is valid until and unless you’re connected in the Facebook.
As there was such nonsense social norm, I was pretty reluctant about purging them. In order to avoid that I started purging those that I have never met and connected accidentally. It was as easy a piece of a cake. That was the first round of purging.
Second round was removing friends of friends. It was little bit hard. I did it.
The third round was removing real friends. That was almost impossible for me. I don’t have prejudice against any of them. Well, I asked my beloved for suggestion as he had already done that before. He decided to take charge of it. Well, after he took charge of it, he swiped away almost all of my friend gracefully. Despite many of them were our common friends, he knew how to filter. His simple rule was how close that person is to you. Is that person close to you right now? Does that person values your friendship?
He was not faddicted but still he had been concerned about privacy years ago before the recent scandal popped up. He started slowing down his Facebook activity 7 years ago. We both started slowing down our activity but I couldn’t completely take control of it. The jealousy, lack of privacy, the potential misuse of information, and creepy relatives were one of the main reasons behind his Facebook purge mission. I know most of our ‘real’ friends were not happy about it. I am sure many of them haven’t noticed that. Some of them possibly didn’t care. Remaining few may be still upset about it because of the social norm I discussed above.
Those who continuously keep communicating were still in contact via texts, email, and phone calls. In some cases, we were indeed back to our very old golden era of snail mail. How can we forget those pen pals? Snail mails sent to relatives and friends living far away.
Although my second attempt helped me to reduce my Faddiction in some extent but not completely.
Finally, on January 29, I initiated my third strike against my Faddiction. I decided not to use Facebook for a year. I wrote on a sticky note that “ I will not use Facebook for a year.” At the bottom of the note, I wrote “ Jan 29, 2018.”
For continuous reminder, I attached the stick notes at the top left corner of my laptop screen.
First day was the hardest one. I felt like using Facebook and I saw the note and I stopped myself. I literally felt like I was addicted to something and I needed it to continue. It made me realize something, that I was addicted to Facebook and I thought that I spend more time in Facebook but it was hard to find out that I was Faddicted like people are addicted to Cigarettes.
Next day was hard as well. Every hour or so I remembered to check Facebook and the small green piece of sticky note reminded me of my strong commitment for a year. Every time, I remembered it I ignored it. The third day was better. I remembered less often to check the Facebook, may be 3 times in the day. That little note was indeed myself strictly reminding me of my commitment towards eradicating Faddiction once it for all. The note worked like a charm.
As day went by it got easier and easier. Gradually a month passed by. I felt very happy that I was able to fulfill my commitment. Now, it has been six months and I feel very proud of myself. I have been able to do many tasks. I taught myself violin and I’m learning Mandarin.
I also feel a sense of achievement and fulfillment knowing that I have achieved my desired goal halfway and on the way to fulfillment.