Who aced the analogies on their ACT/SAT? Anyone…? Ha. Those were terrible. But an analogy occurred to me recently, and I’d like to know if it makes sense to you.
facebook : me :: a bar : recovering alcoholic
The fact that I blog notwithstanding, the age of social media presents difficulties for me. Facebook was the worst. Here are a few questions I asked myself before finally deciding to delete my account:
-Why are so many people taking pictures of their feet?
-Do I have to friend him? Will he notice if I friend him now and unfriend him later?
-Whose album am I looking at again?
-How long have I been on here?
I realized I could easily waste a couple hours each day checking my newsfeed. And, much like televised news, about half of it was garbage. Why did I keep going back?
The sad answer is that I felt as if I had to. For me, facebook was a drug. I checked it obsessively. It was hard for me to finish a four-hour shift at work without checking it. What if I missed something? What if the newly-married friend (whose wedding I attended) had posted wedding pictures? What if someone had sent me a message or gotten a new haircut or commented on a post?
Account termination was the only way for me to end my own unhealthy facebook habits. I’m not saying anyone else needs to do that. I am saying I was incapable of spending less than half an hour a day in that rabbit hole, so I had to fill it in.
It cost me. People I really care about think that facebook is The way for modern humans to stay in touch. Sure, it’s convenient. But facebook is to me what a bar is to a recovering alcoholic. It seemed that my facebook-devoted friends didn’t understand when I stepped away. They were sitting there, a happy group around a table of appletinis and rum-&-Cokes, chirping, “This is fun! Come sit with us; we can catch up! You only have to stay a minute!” They didn’t understand that I couldn’t stay “a minute;” it would turn into an hour. I couldn’t say “no;” I’d suddenly be saying yes to gin-&-tonic–which is to say, the photo album of an acquaintance’s fun-looking friend who set the photos’ visibility to “Everyone.”
I’m not trying to make light of how it feels to overcome an alcohol addiction. I’m saying we should accommodate each other when we can, even if it’s not convenient. I have friends who’ve done that. Friends who call, and a blessed bunch who write–yes, actual letters sent to my mailbox. It’s amazing! I’m grateful for them.
And I still like the friends I feel I’ve lost to that happy, shiny social hub where I no longer go. But of them I ask, “Please–stop telling me I should come back. Can’t you meet me at a coffee shop–er, I mean, send me an email?”