One new notification: get a real life

Has today’s youth gone overboard with social networkings latest F.A.D. Facebook Addiction Disorder?

Photo By Hannah Williams
Photo By Hannah Williams

My fingers trembled; my eyes stared blankly at the computer screen before me.

Mozilla cannot open the page

My life was clearly ending at this point. My Sunday night was ruined. It was 10:30 p.m., prime time for Facebook chat.

So I did what any normal Facebook addict would do, I curled into the fetal position and hoped for the page to return.

I layed there until finally the page reloaded. The Facebook home page was open. My heart finally returned to a normal pace and I stopped sweating. I had just lived through the longest seven minutes of my life.

How sad is that? Seven minutes and I feel like I’m on the verge of losing my mind. I honestly never thought of myself as a Facebook junkie but I spend nearly two hours a night on it chatting and creeping on people. (We all do it; don’t act like you don’t.)

According to a poll administered by Passage staff, the average NW student spends 15-30 minutes on Facebook each night. I personally don’t believe that. I can’t be the only one that would come close to pulling a great freak out like the kid who got his World of Warcraft account shut down. (See Ed Spaunhorst’s column.)

My seven minute breakdown got me thinking: How would I react if Facebook shut down for an hour, two hours or, dare I say it, one week? Would I make it out alive? Is Facebook the machine that controls my life? If it breaks down, will I break down? There was only one way to find out; I would have to break contact from all my “friends” in the Facebook world. I needed a Facebook detox. I wouldn’t log on for one week.

* * *

Day 1 was rough, but Day 2 of my detox was the hardest night. I again lay in my room staring at the ceiling wondering what in the world I was going to do with my night. Should I just get on Facebook for a little while? I found my way to the desk where the silver Macbook lie. C’mon on, nobody would know. The home page stared at me, waiting for my password. No, I couldn’t let the my readers down (I love you all too much).

Did I really need to get on Facebook? Overall, it is just another way to waste my time instead of doing something productive. I doubt I can change the world through a social networking site.

I finally got the courage to shut the laptop and read a book. It actually led to me going to bed at a decent time rather than staying up chatting with my friends. Maybe I could live without Facebook.

* * *

I failed. I lasted a mere three days before I broke down. I learned a lot on those three Facebook-free days. I learned chatting with friends in real life is much better; physical exercise is more rewarding than taking quizzes all night; and creeping on people in real life is much more creepy than it is on Facebook. In fact, life was much more pleasant when you stay away from the “Book” (I hear that’s its street name.)

So, why’d I give in?

OK, fine, I’ll admit it. My name is Jeremy Allen, and I’m addicted to Facebook. Turns out, though, I’m not alone on this. The first night I was back on the “Book” I separated my friends list into categories based on the amount of time they spent on chat. I discovered that most of my friends, 96 of 127, spent three hours or more online. Yes, I think somebody lied on the survey.

So what is the root of this addiction to a social networking site? Is it the fact that we can instantly know about somebody without ever having to meet them? I sure hope not. It actually scares me to think about a world where people meet first on a website and may never meet in real life. I’m going to find a cure for this social networking addiction. I don’t know when or what it will be. But be sure that when I find it, I’ll message you on Facebook.