26 October, 2011

Is Facebook Making Me Dumb? - Guest Blog

Is Facebook making me dumb?

Written by Rox-Anne Henderson

*From here on in Facebook will be used to represent Facebook, Twitter, People.com and any other app on my phone that wastes time. Maybe I should write it’s all my phones fault, but I won’t. I love my iPhone and nothing could ever be her fault.

For the past few weeks, maybe even months I have been walking around in a daze. Sort of like a foggy brain where I can’t seem to concentrate on anything.  I was chalking this up to Adult ADD, but I do believe there is another reason.  I believe that Facebook is making me dumb. Yes, I said it.

At work, I have lost all the drive to succeed and excel, at home I have no energy and no housework gets done. All my favorite pastimes are sitting in the corner collecting dust. I love to write and even manage 2 personal blogs, yet I can’t seem to find the time to post anything. I had a fantastic idea for a book based on a conversation I had with my husband. It will be the greatest book since the release of Brave New World. Bits and pieces come to me throughout the day. A scene here, a conversation there. Yet I have not moved past the step of jotting down a few notes on the Notes app on my iPhone.  I feel like I have so much to say and no time to say it in. I get home from work and make dinner for my family. Maybe watch a little tv, or even a movie. I thought it was all that tv watching that was killing my ambition, but we removed the satellite tv and cancelled the cable. Before you know it, its bed time and then the whole day repeats itself. Get the kids up, get dressed, drive them to school, go to work for 8 hours and then back home. I have always been pretty good at time management so what’s the problem? I’m getting nothing done and not moving forward.

So enter the day I would like to refer to as The day of Enlightenment. It’s not like I was mulling this over in my head or even considered it before The Day of E. It just happened. You can’t argue with inspiration, so I went with it.

 I, Rox-Anne Henderson, gave up Facebook for the day.

Actually, not even the day. Just for the morning of a day. And I couldn’t believe how much I accomplished! Work was great, I got a lot done and worked really hard. I was just having the most amazing, productive day ever. I never realized how much time I wasted on Facebook, or even thinking of Facebook. Every song I hear on the radio, I think how it would fit as a status update. Then you obsess over whether it will be well received and get a lot of “likes” or will someone misunderstand and think you’re out of your mind. Every picture I take my mind rolls to “will this make a good picture to post” or like this past weekend at a wedding I found myself having my picture taken by my sister in law. All I thought was “I hope it looks good so I can make it my profile picture” Let’s not even get into the weird obsession I have with trying to understand why some status updates get a ton of likes when the subject matter was really nothing important, and yet the ones that are closest to my heart, no one comments or likes.

Then you spend the rest of your time looking at your friend’s pictures and status updates. This can bring a lot of enjoyment, especially when your family is overseas and it helps to keep those connections. Then there is the flip side. There are always those people whose life is just so freaking perfect that you go crazy with jealousy.  Then you get the real phonies. The husband and wife team who spend all day professing their love for one another over Facebook, when you know they go home at night and don’t even speak to one another. You have the friends who are always so happy, you want to tear them down or the friends who are so depressed, you’d love to give them some Prozac.  Then there are the friends that make you question why they are even on your Facebook.

Which brings us to the all-important “how many friends do you have?” Do you add every single person you have ever met? Do you keep it to friends and family, or include your co-workers? I started out wanting only to have people that I would sit and talk to in person. Now I find myself with people I met once through a friend that I would never sit and have a conversation with and the friends you had as a kid and haven’t spoken to in 20 years and even though you can see their Facebook wall, you wouldn’t post anything to them.

I’m not looking to get anything out of this article. I don’t want to create a “Ban Facebook for the day” event.  I’m not even blaming Facebook. It’s really not their fault. Its mine, its us. We created this Hell for ourselves. It may be small and it may sound terribly obvious, but I think every so often we need to pull ourselves away from the computer, phone whatever it may be and remember what life was like BF (Before Facebook) Go to a park, take a walk. Have a cup of coffee in a coffee shop without updating your status to “Sitting and enjoying a cup of joe” Actually drink the coffee. Sit in silence. Talk to someone. Think thoughts. Do it now before your mind turns to mush and we all become a zombie race of status updaters!!!

*Update- Today I went back to my old routine of incessant News Feed checking.  I got nothing done and can’t think straight. 

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