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The Facebook Fast

-Jessica Ridgway

Mark Zuckerberg is an evil man. He has created a diabolical website that I cannot help but love and hate. Facebook allows me to keep in touch with my family and far-away friends, it’s a great networking tool, and it keeps me informed about so many people at once. It’s helped me find old and new classmates, organize study groups, and locate telephone numbers during dire academic emergencies. Facebook has become so ingrained in my daily life I couldn’t tell you what life was like before it. I am an addict.

And then I woke up one Wednesday, I couldn’t tell you what snapped inside of me, but Facebook made me mad. Pissed. Annoyed. I wanted to get away from it immediately, so I made the impulsive decision to deactivate my account.

I hadn’t set a date for my return until the Flux blog meeting later that day. My fellow bloggers inspired me. I’d go without Facebook for one week—short enough to disappear unnoticed. The rest of Wednesday and Thursday were a piece of cake. I had no desire to log onto Facebook, but this was motivated by my, “I-don’t-care” attitude. I did, however, find myself unknowingly typing in “fa” each time I opened Google Chrome. At one point I found myself on the Facebook homepage without any recollection of typing it in. It was creepy.

On Friday things got tough. I use Spotify to listen to music, but Spotify is connected to my Facebook account. That sucked, but it wasn’t frustrating. Finding out that my Scramble With Friends, Words With Friends, and Draw Something apps are all connected to Facebook—that was frustrating.

But, it was also a blessing in disguise, because that weekend was the most beautiful weekend Eugene has had all spring. And because I wasn’t logged onto Facebook I missed invitations to parties and future campus events—but I spent my time outside with friends. I played ladder ball. I read a book for fun. I cleaned my room and living room. I wrote a letter to my friend. I wrote a letter to myself. I wrote. And perhaps I would have still done all these different activities with an active Facebook account, but it was simply blissful to feel so disconnected.

And then Monday came. And I found myself feeling sheepish because I missed out or wasn’t invited to a certain party because I didn’t have a Facebook. People had started to notice my absence, and when I told them I deactivated my account they reacted as if I had just offended them (until I explained the fast). And then Tuesday arrived, and I was peering over my friend’s shoulders to peek at their pages. I found out that my roommate posted new pictures; I had to fight the temptation from logging in.

Finally, it was Wednesday—but as much as I wanted to log in and absorb the online world I had distanced myself from, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. While I missed the feeling of constantly being informed, I enjoyed my freedom from the things I despise about Facebook. The people that post unnecessary statuses. The people that post too many photos of food. The people that I just don’t like. I did not miss them one bit, even with my growing curiosity.

So, I stretched my week-long Facebook fast a couple more days. When I finally returned and perused all of the pages I wanted to I realized just how much this simple website can take out of my day. While it is a useful addition to my life, it’s also my biggest form of procrastination.

This is how I cured my addiction.