This is a follow-up from my distress call of a post from when I quit Facebook cold turkey. I am now fine with the whole business and not so jittery any more. I have never smoked, but I believe that quitting Facebook is akin to quitting smoking. I was truly addicted to it.
By the time I decided to quit Facebook, I had already shaken my addiction to the social gaming on Facebook and that was a steep hill to climb. Zygna the makers behind, Farmville really know how to hook you, under the guise of ‘helping’ your friends. Leaving these games will leave your friends stranded as they drop in the game rankings with one less friend. The games are designed such that more friends lead to a better gaming experience. I know of people on Facebook who added perfect strangers so that they could have a huger more powerful ‘mafia’ on Mafia Wars (another game by Zygna). I wonder how much Zygna is making from all this? Social games like Farmville appealed to my OCD tendencies to design, neaten and beautify my plot of land and that took loads of time. I was proud of how pretty my farm looked. It appealed to the mathematical side of my cousin who calculated the best crops she could buy which would yield the most profit. I have to hand it to the game makers – they are darn clever. There must be psychologists on the team. There is also the joy of retail therapy that comes from virtual shopping. And most of all after all the time and effort you put into your farm, with just one day off you could fall behind in the rankings and that appeals to the competitive side, even in the least competitive person.
Even after quitting all the games (can’t wait for the day my family quits Bejeweled, a game with highly annoying glass shattering sounds), Facebook continued to be a time waster. I confess that I was addicted to viewing the status updates of my Facebook friends, as it made me feel like part of their lives. I was checking in too many times a day and it made me fed up with myself. I also plead guilty to being a Facebook stalker and spying on my cousin’s boyfriend – the one her parents don’t approve of. That was so terrible, but since I joked with my cousin that I was stalking her, I guess it’s ok? Facebook was making me such a voyeur and making it so easy too.
Also we falsely feel that we are involved in the lives of our friends and family, but it’s not a substitute for a real connection, that comes with face to face interactions over a meal. Think virtual hug versus real hug.
I feel a huge shackle off me, now that I don’t have to worry about my privacy being violated. I was very irritated that you would appear on the pages of friends of friends. They were then asked to add you which would lead to friend requests and I don’t like ignoring or rejecting people. It was worse when that included some of whom you don’t particularly like. The face of someone who was a horrible mean girl, appearing on my page was probably the last straw. I just didn’t want to be reminded of her. It brought back a lot of negativity which I don’t need right now, or ever. To some extent I also felt stalked. It was too easy to get hold of me and the email function on Facebook was starting to feel like texting on a handphone. There was pressure to reply within the day. It was adding to my feelings of social anxiety and distress.
Quitting Facebook made me realize who my real friends are and they are the ones who continue to contact me through email. These days I spend a lot more time on my blog with my fellow bloggers and even though I am anonymous, I find these interactions real and rewarding. I guess like minded people discover each other through blogs and that’s a great thing. Just so you know, I’m not a total tech phobe. Unless Facebook, blogging feels therapeutic and liberating.
Recently one of my cousins asked me how to quit Facebook and I wanted to do a dance of joy. I feel excited to be a trailblazer.