Social Overload

As I am penning this entry, I am in the second day of trying to curb my Facebook habit.  I check Facebook more than I drink water. 

Why don't you just pull the trigger, then? 

Why don't you just pull the trigger, then? 

There are obviously things that i like about Facebook. It makes me feel connected to people's lives who I might not see all the time, or haven't seen for quite a while. I can see what they're up to without taking up their time, and I like that. 

Before there was a Facebook, I had a blog. I started it when I left the first job I had after I graduated from Cal Arts. I wanted to give friends and colleagues a way to keep up with what I was doing. Little by little, blogs begot more blogs. As the field got more crowded, the climate changed for me. Comment tallies became a merit badge of how popular/successful you were. For me, reading a lot of them was a good way to get immediately nauseated. I would look at other people's blogs and see hundreds of comments, people effusively praising one other, and feeling gross because it was impossible to tell what was sincere, and what was just written to climb in bed with that person, or simply to get others to go to their own sites. There was the other end of the spectrum, too... the no-face-no-consequences commenter- probably feeling omnipotent while living under a rock, like a scorpion. I stopped writing because I couldn't take it, and it's why I decided not to allow comments on here (I left the option to "heart" my posts, mostly because I like the little heart explosion that happens when you click the button). 

I'm not sure if you know this about me, but I'm a competitive person. I can imagine my dad acting like he has no idea where I get that from, and if he's reading, he is most assuredly making at least one of these two expressions: 

Mom, you'll have to tell me later which one was the answer.

Mom, you'll have to tell me later which one was the answer.

Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram... everything has a thumbs up or a heart or a share  button, not to mention everyone can comment however they want on anything (I know, I know, "Settings>blah>blah>blah"). Even though I wish I was too cool for school, I am totally, totally not. I feel excited when people like my posts, and even more excited when things are reposted, retweeted, etcetera. It makes me feel like I'm successful for a few hours, sometimes for nothing more than discovering a high-fiving otter a couple minutes before everyone else. When nothing happens I feel like I failed a little bit. 

For me, the worst FB side effect is how it riles my competitive side. On a bad day, when I'm not feeling so great about myself, and filling up with festering thoughts about the nothing that I'm accomplishing with my life, looking at Facebook can make me feel even farther down that hole. Inner monologues include: I'm not hitting the life milestones I should have by now, I'm already too old to accomplish my dreams because I'm over 30, I haven't figured out how to live the great life that everyone-in-my-news-feed-that-day-who-I've-just-unsubscribed-from figured out 2 minutes ago while posting the most-popular-Insta-tweet-of-all-time, all while waiting for their coffee at Intelligentia. For a while I tried posting a lot, checking in whenever I went anywhere, feeling like I could show everyone I was also living the dream. But it didn't make me feel good. It took away from enjoying the moment, taking away from it just to brag about it. Ick. 

My solution for now is limiting my FB time to Fridays, taking a cue from my friend Will. I feel stupid for being so obsessed. So stupid. I know I should be spending time improving my skills, and doing things. Doing things other than feeling bad about not doing things that I'm reading about other people doing on FB.  I feel even stupider for admitting that it's been a difficult couple of days, discovering what a habitual ritual checking FB has become. I am glad for you if the burgeoning internet doesn't affect you the way it does me. I wish I could care less. Likewise, I know some of you feel how I do, and I hope this pile of words has given you some solace.