Hi. I'm Terrie, and I'm a Facebook participant. Okay, enthusiast. Buff? Devotee? Okay, okay. ADDICT. Happy now?
It all started innocently enough, as a great way to keep in touch with my kids who were scattered around the planet at the time. When our first grandchild was on the way, we were able to see immediate ultrasound pictures even though his mother was 1500 miles away.
Naturally, more friends became Facebook friends, both those near and far. I was soon reconnecting with high school classmates and teachers I hadn't seen for 30 years!
Then I started my own blog. Every time I put something new on my blog, I posted a link on Facebook and within minutes, several friends would be reading of my latest escapades. What's not to love?
I think what I like best about Facebook, though, is the way it makes us appear more witty than we are. You know all those times when the perfect sassy comeback occurs to you the next day? Well, with Facebook, you can make your comment when it comes to you, knowing the participants will see it sooner or later. The thrill of being seen as that clever was irresistibly attractive to someone hungry for affirmation. And who isn't?
Besides, I knew I could quit any time I wanted.
It was the day I set myself up for accountability that I realized how hooked I was. It was my "writing day" at home and if I wasted time poking around Facebook, I'd never reach my goals. But with no boss looking over my shoulder, I also knew I wouldn't have the required self-discipline. So I posted this as my status: "Catch me on Facebook before 8:00 tonight and I will owe you ten dollars." Then I logged out as fast as my fingers would fly. It was 9:00 a.m.
By ten, I was beginning to wonder who might have commented on my status. But I kept working. At noon, I took a lunch break. Well, everyone knows that lunch goes down so much better when seated at your computer, checking Facebook. But I had to resist or it would cost me. Yes, I am shamelessly motivated by money.
By four, I was getting touchy. To make matters worse, I had created a new blog post but couldn't tell the Facebook world about it! By five, I wondered whether there might be a patch I could stick on my arm to ease the craving. By six, I was seriously considering taking the risk. "I'll just lurk, I won't comment," I thought, even though I knew full well people can tell when you are online.
At eight, I realized I had checked off every single thing on my "to-do" list. I wanted to celebrate! What better way than to log on to Facebook and tell everyone?
To my surprise, no one had commented about my ten dollar offer.
That's when I made an interesting, technical discovery. A few days earlier, I had updated my status and set it up so that it was visible to only five other people. Unknown to me, each update since then had defaulted to the same five people only. (Five people who had not wasted time on Facebook that particular day.) Not only did no one care about my daring act of resistance, no one had even seen it!
But it had worked nonetheless.
And I had to face the ugly truth about myself.
I'll be joining a support group soon. Suppose they have one on Facebook?