Saturday, September 24, 2011

Eyes Wide Open

Courtesy Google Images

Ever since Facebook rolled out their major changes on Wednesday and I got so turned off to the whole design and that annoying scrolling ticker that was giving me a migraine, I feel like a haze has been lifted. Suddenly, I am aware that I have been spending the past 18 months (or more) sitting in front of my computer screen and my body, my family, and my home have been suffering for it.

Justin has been telling me for years that my inactivity was going to kill me and I'm starting to believe that he might have been right. Because I spent this morning and early afternoon trying to make a small dent in the filth that has been covering my windows, my blinds, my floors...and now I am completely wiped out. Even trying to pace myself and taking numerous breaks, I am starting to feel as if I have been hit by a truck and I know it's time to stop, even if I know I am nowhere near done.

It's amazing how hypnotized we have become as a society by our technology. And Facebook is leading the way in attempting to keep us in front of our computer screens. How is this even remotely a good thing? What I have been noticing lately is that very few people post actual status updates anymore. Mostly it is links to songs they are listening to, other people's blog entries, articles they found interesting, etc. I have been totally guilty of this myself. After all, if I post a new blog entry and you "liked" me at some point, my new post will show up in your feed. Just click to connect.

I fiddled around with Google+ yesterday and when I clicked on the upper left hand corner of my iGoogle, I discovered what appears to be a Facebook like feed without all of the advertisements and clutter. It's simple and looks like it might be fairly easy to use. But what I have to decide is whether or not I want to dive into yet another social networking site. Don't get me wrong. I am entirely pro-social networking. I just want my old Facebook back. And I am not in any way interested in their new design changes. In fact, it has put me off so much that I can hardly bear to even go into it to see what my friends are up to.

It's not a secret that I got really into playing Words with Friends and I was having a wonderful time with it. I was playing games with people I had never met and people I've known almost all of my life that live across the country. But the problem was that every time I wanted to make a move or see if it was my turn, I had to turn off my secure connection and allow the Facebook gods that be access to all of my private and personal information. Does anyone else have a problem with this? It seems like a bad idea to give anyone unlimited access to anything in my computer at any time. Isn't that where the really smart 18 year old hackers get into your computer and start messing with you, just because they can?

I have to believe that there is a way to play interactive computer games like Words (Scrabble) online without jeopardizing my secure connection and all of my information. But apparently, it isn't going to be through Facebook. Nor are they going to change back to the familiar Facebook just because people are screaming about how much they don't like the scrolling ticker or the fact that Facebook now decides what updates you see for you. Am I the only one that thinks that Facebook is getting just a little too controlling?

Of course, no matter how loud I or anyone else screams about the changes, what will happen is what always happens. They roll out major changes, people yell and get upset about them for awhile, and then they get used to it and keep their Facebook pages. But I think I reached my limit on Wednesday. I can't say why this particular set of changes was the breaking point for me, but it seems like technology has just gotten to the point where I can't even understand my familiar and favorite social networking site.

I made a unilateral decision on Thursday that it was time to open my eyes and realize how much I had been neglecting my life. I had known it on some level and it had been pointed out to me on several occasions. I just wasn't quite ready to hear it. Facebook actually is what pushed me into understanding that I had a problem and the problem was that I never, ever turned off my computer screen or my Facebook feed.

In this society we live in, it's hard to separate what we need/have to do by computer online and what is just for fun. At the end of every advertisement on television, there is a "like" our Facebook page. I was listening to the radio on the way to an appointment on Thursday and the DJ was talking about a question he had put on his Facebook page and reading some of the comments. Where does it end? Are we now a society that has to be constantly connected to everything and everyone 24/7? Or was it just me?

Obviously, with my wanting to become at least a little bit popular as a blogger and writer, I am going to have to utilize Facebook and other forms of social media. I think that the new site I will be writing for is probably going to drag me kicking and screaming onto Twitter, something I have managed to avoid up until now. My ADHD is so bad that just the new ticker on the Facebook screen has me in total panic mode as I scroll for the elusive status updates amongst the "shared" blogs, articles, and youtube videos. I can stand only about 5 or 10 minutes of it before I am signing out feeling anxious. I will say this for the new changes - they are not good for anyone who suffers from any kind of anxiety disorder.

And so, after Wednesday, I woke up. Wide awake to the fact that my relationships and my home, my primary jobs in life, were greatly suffering because I couldn't tear myself away from my Facebook feed. I was putting more value on interaction with people I had never even met in person than I was on my marriage and my children and my commitment to taking care of those relationships.

I don't mean to devalue online friendships because I would not have made it through my surgery last year and subsequent year long recuperation without the people I met through Facebook. And I don't believe it's really true that you can't make friends online, even if you have never met them. But I think you have to strike a balance between real life and life online and I wasn't doing that in any way. Maybe it was the changes to Facebook. Maybe it was my mom's cancer coming back. Maybe it was a combination of both. But for whatever reason, my eyes are wide open now and I don't think I'll be spending much time on Facebook anymore.

In fact, I think I am going to ask my mother if we can have the old family Scrabble board game. What better way to actually spend time with my kids than playing the game that I was so enamored with that was opening my computer up to hackers on a regular basis. In real life.




  1. Well I think that kinda sucks. But i can completely understand too. I dont think that the friends you make online are any less important than friends in the real world,if someone is there for you,they are there for you to listen, either way.but this is my opinion. I have tons of friends that arent on facebook,i keep in touch by email or phone.

    Thats a great idea about scrabble with your kids and family!

  2. I'm so sorry. I blame Facebook, obviously.

    I value the friends I have made online and I am sad that FB has made it so difficult for me to be on there more than 5 minutes at a time. I've gotten to a point where I'm dealing with so much in my life that I simply don't want to be anywhere ELSE that makes me anxious...and that ticker makes me freak out.

    I am still on google and using it more every day. will be able to read me on a brand new website after the grand opening of on Monday, September 26th.

    I'm still here! And I will still check in on FB occasionally. I'm just not going to spend my life staring at the screen while my real life falls apart...which is kind of where I see it going if I don't stop.

    Funnily enough, I haven't signed into FB all day and haven't had any desire to. They killed it. What a shame. I wonder if I'm the only one to be so upset with them?



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