First thing I do in the morning is go online. This is how my day goes: Facebook, professional email, hotmail, the news, the gossip site, instagram, the weather (2 or 3 apps or sites at least). I do this over and over again throughout the day. Even when I go to the bathroom at work I bring my phone to have a quick look. It doesn’t stop me from doing my job, but any spare second I am on that phone. Looking for something.
So am I a Facebook addict? The answer is no, I’m not. But according to this test I did, I am on the border. Click on the link and you can do it too. “You answered this quiz consistent with people who may be close to being “addicted” to Facebook. You appear to spend a lot of time on Facebook and may sometimes feel a little anxious when not connected to the service. You are on the borderline of being considered a “Facebook addict.” “Facebook addiction” may suggest an unhealthy focus on your status amongst your online acquaintances, and what they are doing at any given moment in their lives. You may find it beneficial to spend more time doing things in your own life — even leaving your smart phone at home one evening when you go out.”
I’m not that surprised. I spend far to much time on Facebook. The truth is that Facebook does cause me certain amount of anxiety. I do worry about peoples perception of me online. Do I post what I want, share what I want and like what I want? No, not always. I don’t want to post too many pictures of my dog or my garden or share all the links about subjects that are close to my heart . Other people might find it annoying. I find Facebook a bit of a minefield where deleting someone or making a certain comment is perceived as passive aggressive. I know this, because that is that is how I myself perceive others. I get annoyed when people share things that so obviously are not true. Like that picture of the old man with a sign saying it’s his 100 birthday. He must have been turning 100 everyday for a year and a half now. It annoys me when people are so publicly displaying the fact that they don’t think about what they are doing. However, I’m not writing this to judge people or suggest that people are stupid. I think the problem goes much deeper then that.
I think part the answer lies in what is it that I am looking for. What is it that I am chasing? I don’t know. Am I worried that I’ll miss out on some good gossip if I’m not looking? Not really. Most of the time I don’t even remember what it is I’ve just seen. I think in this consumerist, commercialist society we are constantly bombarded with messages on how to be good consumers. You need this new smart television, this new iPhone, that new Sony Playstation. Play Candy Crush or Farmville. Send requests. I am as guilty as the next person to buy into it. I have to constantly have my mind and fingers occupied with at least two things at the same time. These days I can’t even focus on just a television program. I have to flick through a magazine or play with my phone at the same time. Chasing. Perhaps I do this because if I were to put my phone down I would have to let my mind think. Think about whatever it wants. And it’s that I couldn’t cope with. Because then I would have to think more often about how powerless I feel in this society. I would have to think about the fact that I am working in a supermarket even though I am a fully qualified counsellor with nine years of university studies under my belt. I would have to think about how sad it is that all that matters is money. How more and more people are living on the poverty line, even having to steal food. I would have to think about politicians telling us public spending needs to be cut at the same time as they discuss tax cuts for the rich. I would have to think about how five teenage boys can gang rape a teenage girl and be freed because she didn’t shout for help loud enough. I would have to think about how Nestle buys up freshwater supplies for their bottled water in Pakistan so that the people are forced to buy that instead . I would have to think about how the disappearance of honey bees is affecting our whole ecosystem. And so on. And so on. I feel powerless when I think about these things. In that sense Facebook is nothing but a curse. A curse that keep us numb.
So let’s do it, let’s put our phones down!
I’ll leave you with this quote: “The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor – not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.” – Albert Einstein, The World As I See It (1949)