Is Facebook more addictive than cigarettes?
Last Saturday, at about 1pm I deactivated my Facebook account. I was fed up with social life related bullshit and wanted to get some work done. Thus, I cheerfully went […]
Last Saturday, at about 1pm I deactivated my Facebook account. I was fed up with social life related bullshit and wanted to get some work done. Thus, I cheerfully went to my Account Settings, found my Security Settings and clicked on ‘Deactivate your account’.
After going through several warning screens and being forced to give an explanation for my decision for exiting the grid, (“This is temporary, I’ll be back” was my response – I am not a luddite; for me Facebook is and will remain a communication platform, on the same plane as the mobile phone), the process was finally complete. I was logged out and told that in order to reactive my account, I’d simply need log in. All in all, fairly easy.
Unfortunately that’s where the ‘easy’ for me ran out.
Within an hour of writing my essay I found myself minimising my word processor and clicking over to my browser, having already forgotten my earlier pledge. Whoops. And there were my login details cheerfully remembered by AutoComplete. I simply needed to hit enter.
No! said my brain. You are stronger than this! Facebook can be an instrument of narcissism and a recipe for self-hatred, often crapping over your relationships! Go outside and read a book! So I did, and yet the following quickly ensued: for no apparent reason I took my phone out of my pocket. Then it dawned on me why: it had been approximately twenty minutes since I tried to check it on my laptop. Damn.
I also hadn’t smoked any cigarettes for a couple of days after having run out of filters, (I roll my own in order to avoid the nanny state’s beloved £4.50 sin-taxes). When I ran out I was a bit peeved, but thought, hey, I’ll get some eventually. I didn’t.
Despite my obsessive itches, phone checks and compulsive cravings for my hourly dose of Facebook I never once ‘needed’ a cigarette.
This fact alone worried me less than the intensity and frequency of my Facebook cravings. Thankfully they dissipated when I went to a visit a real life friend and to tell her about my ordeal. But still, it made me think: why was my need to validate myself socially through Facebook so strong?
The Soton Tab’s esteemed tabloid peers have long held the link that social networking sites have been “rotting our children’s brains” almost as badly as asylum seekers have been gang-stealing our benefits, but now it seems that actual academic bodies have been identifying Facebook addiction as a real disease. Coupled with the fact that its a sedentary exercise that keeps our obesity-ridden nation even further away from exercise, and you’ve got me worrying.
Ironically, Facebook is so engrained into our lives that I had to go on it simply to get this article posted. Yet, I still haven’t had a cigarette.