Before I get into my withdrawal for the day I wanted to address something that a couple professors brought up to me today. “Aren’t you cheating by blogging about your experience?” In simple terms I would argue no. Maybe I should have first blogged about the assignment itself. So I’ll go back to the beginning. This is my assignment:
“This assignment option gives you the opportunity to critically examine and reflect upon your relationship to Facebook. For one week (and you must stick to this for one full week), you will unplug from Facebook completely.”
As I stated in my previous entry I didn’t believe that just unplugging from Facebook would be an experience as for me Twitter and Facebook are the same and I use them in the same way. For this to be meaningful I needed to unplug from both. Also, blogging is a completely different type of social media than Facebook, Google connect, or Twitter.
A blog is an online journal where you essentially share your thoughts, opinions, and criticisms, on a public forum. Whereas Facebook, Twitter (and others) are not only about receiving instant information they also keep you in touch with friends in an interactive way. Facebook and Twitter keep me in touch with people, and friends instantly. There is no wait time. I log on and become a sponge soaking up useless information about what colour someone’s babies poop was that day, or about how Jane Doe in Arizona broke the record for largest pizza ever made.
I can go on and chat with friends in real time, send messages, receive messages, update my status to give everyone on my Facebook or Twitter some useless information about something I saw in the hallway, and post endless amounts of pictures of my cat and dog so that my father can look at them on his iPhone and make my mom look at my dog in 6 slightly different poses. In other words Facebook and Twitter are a scary all-consuming addiction.
Speaking of addiction, it’s now been just over 36 hours since I took the plunge and gave up Facebook and Twitter. Even as I sit and write this there is a commercial on TV telling me to “like” the Food Network
on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter. I am being mocked in every way! And in this moment I realize that I am going through some clear withdrawl, as someone may go through when giving up coffee.
Some have told me I am visibly cranky (though that is not the word that they used), and even
jittery, and distracted. Several times I have had to stop myself from hitting the share button on a news article I have read. There have also been several times where I have seen something and I find myself scrolling through my iPhone so I can ‘update’ my Facebook status. Only to remember that: I can’t just post the hilarious thing I saw on the train because I am banned from Facebook, and more importantly I deleted the apps from my phone so I couldn’t go on the sites. Which is an indicator of addiction within itself, that I had to delete the applications on my phone so I could not make the update.
I’ve found in the last 36 hours I go to do this without even thinking about it. For example, I got up this morning and within 2 minutes of being awake I grabbed my cell phone, only to remember I could no longer hop on twitter for the morning news. Instead, I opened my CBC news app on iPhone and impatiently waited for it to load. Why? Why do we do this? I can’t be the only person on the planet that does this.
Once CBC finally loaded I was horrified to see that the headlines were the same as they were when I went to bed last night. This would not have happened on Twitter, or even Facebook. Headlines get posted to Twitter immediately, one could argue that you get the news as it is happening instead of having to wait for someone to write about it. Now I haven’t been on Twitter long, but I have in the past 6 months noticed I will read about a “breaking story” on Twitter and 4 hours later it will get sent to my phone via: QR77 email ‘breaking news’ alert.
I think this shows us just how much we expect instant gratification. I don’t want to hear the news hours later, and Twitter has made it so I don’t have to. I want to hear about it as it is happening. And why? Does it really matter if I learn about some guy being charged for another guys beating 10 minutes after it happens or 8 hours later? Probably not. That said perhaps the instant gratification isn’t all bad. If you can hear about a charge 10 minutes after it happens, you could, can, and do, hear about such things as amber alerts just as fast. Which in my opinion is something that needs to get out to the public instantly. But how do we strike a balance in our lives, is it as easy as everyone thinks it is to just turn off our social media connections?
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