Last week Phil gave up Faceook. But he couldn’t shake the cravings and now he’s back on it. This is the story of one man’s on-going struggle with social media.
Yeah yeah, I was quitting Facebook and now I’m back here explaining myself. I feel like a fat kid caught at the cookie jar; an alcoholic at the off license; a smoker outside a pub.
“You’ve quit haven’t you?” “No, no, no, I just thought about it.”
So why can’t you quit Facebook? I’ll tell you why, because the theory that “people will call you” doesn’t stack up. Quitting Facebook and expecting to arrange your existence in the real world is like throwing away your telephone and expecting correspondence by pigeon. It’s just not going to happen. Facebook have claimed modern correspondence as their own.
In my haste to quit in a shower of explosive glory, I wrote down my frustrations and posted them online along with a link on Facebook.
“I shall not allow myself to be aroused by the mental stimulation of the countless notifications that will no doubt follow my wonderous article,” I thought, “because, I QUIT!” and with that, I terminated my account.
Only, upon deleting my account I inadvertently deleted the link to the article as well, and not a soul had read it. In fact, I terminated my entire online existence. I hadn’t so much ‘quit’ facebook, as ceased to be.
I suppose if this were to happen in real life it would be like a member of staff just failing to come in one day with no explanation, then a week later someone saying “Where’s Phil?” and when no explanation is presented, life carrying on as normal.
Finally, someone noticed I was no longer there. An old friend emailed me: “Hey, I just tried to post on your wall but you’re not there, what’s happening?”
That’s when the withdrawal really kicks in. What has she posted? Maybe September 11th part two just started? Oh god what is it?! I would quickly check reddit to eliminate my fears that North Korea had successfully invaded the South. Another friend called and told me: “I tried to post a new band on your wall that you’re gonna love, but you’ve gone and quit haven’t you?”
I can handle it
Suddenly it dawns on you that there’s a world taking place that you’re not a part of. You’re that cold kid in Santa Clause the Movie peering in from outside with only tid bits of information leaking through the frosty window of a Facebook free existence. “They only talk about themselves in there,” I thought, “it’s rubbish anyway”.
But the craving is still there and you start to make oh-so-reasonable arguments to yourself as to why you need to go back.
In my line of work, I need to have a Facebook account. Not long after I quit I landed a piece of work in which I had to set up and monitor some Facebook ads. Well, I thought, I must set up a new account to do it. Just out of curiosity, of course, I typed in my old details. It felt distant and estranged, like that first meeting with an ex girlfriend. “I’ll just see what happens.”
My account had been sitting there all this time waiting to be reactivated. It was like nicotene receptors in your brain kicking into immediate, hungry life after laying dormant.
If you can’t stay off Facebook for more than two weeks then they reactivate it when you log back in! They know how addicted we are and they know how to keep us checking back.
Six notifactions later and we’re back to square one, though I maintain everthing I said in my reasons for quitting. If you must know I check it around once or twice a day now, rather than 10 or 20. I’m much better now. Really, I am.