With more than 500 million users (The Facebook Blog) – this amounts to more that 7.3% of the world population – Facebook might be ‘the’ niche of the 21st century. It is undeniable that it has changed the idea of social networking in the whole world.
You can now befriend your best buddy from kindergarten without talking to him or her and know that he or she is in Russia studying Oceanography, or you can un-friend your flatmate after you had a fight with him or her about the fact that she did not clean the kitchen properly.
You might also have caught some mice, been bitten by a few zombies and know that your ex just got dumped by his current and now ex girlfriend/boyfriend while you were working.
What makes Facebook so addictive?
Many social networks have existed before Facebook and many have cropped up after it, but it still remains the most popular. The main reason behind this is that Facebook plays on the basic human nature: that of self-obsession and curiosity. Facebook has become a tool for humans to put forward these instincts without having anybody to point the finger at them – one can share whatever they like and one can read whatever they like. The Facebook platform also allows the user to keep in touch without really doing so: a wall post, a ‘like’ or a poke is all that is required.
Gone are the awkward meetings on the streets with someone you haven’t met for ten years or more – you do not even need to catch up because Facebook already did it for you. Gone are the awkward moments of forgetting a close one because Facebook already did it for you; you can even send a ‘gift’. Gone are awkward actions of trying to get everyone together for a party because a Facebook event is all you need to finalise your guest list.
When does it become addiction?
The average student spends half their week on the site, keeping up with the newsfeeds, messages and events. The average parent spends half the same time trying to see what their child is up to. Facebook becomes a portal for communication; people “Facebook”, people stalk. The need to know increases by the minute when the tool is available to do so; during some free time, Facebook users find themselves on the site, trying to ‘catch up’ with what others have been up to.
Facebook becomes a tool for procrastination because it is much more interesting to stay up at night to browse the photos of your friend who has just been travelling than to finish your assignment due in the morning. In brief, Facebook is the form of voyeurism which people love engaging into – because it’s legal to do so.
How to get rid of the addiction?
It is hard to break a habit when one is so used to it; Facebook, in most people’s life, is equivalent to the mobile phone, the TV or even regular meetings at the local coffee-shop with your best friend. When did the fun of Facebook-ing stop and when did the need start? And how to regain control of your life?
Keep track of every single minute you spend on Facebook
The problem with Facebook is that you do not actually consider the amount of time you spent on the site; the amount of information increases exponentially by the minute and there is not enough time in a day for you to keep up with everything.
Social-networking is not a bad thing, too much of it is. Keeping track of your Facebook moments will force you to consider the amount of time you spend on the site and maybe even discourage you from Facebook-ing too much.
Make a list of the things you love to do when you are not on Facebook (And do them!)
Facebook is so tempting that you tend to forget the little things in life that you love; you might be an avid reader but have been struggling to finish that latest novel you’ve bought a few months ago, you might be an amateur chef but you have not tried the sweet and sour chicken recipe you found last week on the internet or even, you might just love to sit down with a cup of coffee and watch the rain as it falls against your window. Whatever it is, the little pleasures of life are what make it worth living.
Explore the world.
We’re not telling you to go travel to China (Facebook is banned there, so they do not actually have that problem), but there is more to the world than a Facebook status. You might actually discover that you love to garden in the time that you used to spend on Farmville or shopping with your friends is more interesting than Sorority Life. The world outside is often full of surprises – learn to appreciate and love it.
Deactivate your Facebook Account.
If everything else fails, it comes down to this: deactivate your Facebook account. The Facebook Team will entice you by saying that your best friend, your mother or your co-worker who is not even in the same department as you and whom you have never talked to will miss you but if they do, there are other means to contact you. It is not the end of the world if you do not know if A and B are still in a complicated relationship or D is sad because his dog died. It will itch you in the beginning, you might activate and deactivate it a few times but it is worth it. Just go out and get a life.
However, the first step to solving a problem is to admit that you have a problem to begin with. Surfing on Facebook might not be considered to be a health hazard but any obsession is unhealthy (Lawrence ASJ). Facebook plays on the human psyche and the basic instincts that morals are often ignored, enforcing the idea of it being a form of permissible voyeurism.