Sunday, November 2, 2008

Facing up to Facebook

So, here it is, day two of NaBloPoMo, and amazingly, I'm writing my second post in a row. Okay, my second post in a row for quite a long time. NaBloPoMo is a kind and user-friendly group that encourages creative writing through blogging, by offering advice, support and incentive to bloggers to commit to daily postings for 30 consecutive days in November. Believe me, I WANT to post everyday. I have plenty to post about, and given that blogging is so much cheaper and convenient than therapy, you'd think that I'd be running off at the with postings.

I have a deep, dark confession to make. The real reason I have fallen off on blogging is that I've been cheating on my blog with this little hussy. Yes, I can now admit that I've fallen into the clutches of an Internet social networking site. Oh, it started innocently enough--a funny "status" comment here, a peek at a friend's photo album there. I'd check my page in the morning and then again when I got home from work. Every day I added another friend or two--always someone I already knew and either worked with or had social dealings with. Some of my friends were even children of my friends. We all were gradually sucked into the vortex.

Next I found myself surreptitiously checking my page at work. Quickly, and only when I was done with a project or having a short break from the intense and important work of shuffling paper from one beaureaucratic desk to another, I'd bring up my page, and feed my "virtual pet" (as if I don't have enough real ones) or add a plant to my "virtual" green plot (while worrying about how my victory garden was going to get weeded this week.

I started checking my "friends" lists of friends to see who they knew that I might know. I started searching for people from my past--co-workers, classmates, cheating dirty dog ex-boyfriends who by all rights should be in jail or under an NFL stadium end-zone. This simple little tool became a means of checking out people without having to actually deal with them and scope out the lives of those I was better off without in the first place.

Like any other addiction, weaning myself from this black hole of a website has been a challenge. I tell myself "if I check my page before going to work, then I promise I won't even peep once during work." Of course then a message will pop up in my E-mail in-box telling me about a comment or photo post one of my friends has made, and the urge to go check it out is overwhelming. Like the siren song of a coffee pot when you've already had your limit for the morning, these maddening little reminders that someone you know is also online tease and tickle your attention.

I'm getting better though, really. I'm learning to save most of my Facebook checking and posting for the weekend. It really is inconvenient to try and post things during the day. The time I spend on Facebook is time I could spend cooking, helping Dear Daughter with homework, sorting clutter, snuggling with the Norwegian, hugging a bunny or even blogging. I guess it all comes down to remembering that those things that are really important to me are the ones most deserving of my time. And that probably doesn't include a page that takes and takes, and gives only little soundbites in return.

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