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Hi, I’m Coral, and I’ve been off Facebook for more than a week.

OK, I haven’t actually gone a week without logging in. I’m chair of my library’s social media committee, so I had to go in for that. I run (inasmuch as it takes running) Interlibrary Lush – Anchorage (who, by the way, is getting together this Saturday at 7:30 at Henri Hawaii Lounge), so I had to go in and administer that page once or twice. A couple of discussions in the ALA Think Tank caught my eye, so I logged in for those. And I got one or two holiday-related Facebook messages, which I was able to reply to via email, but it still felt like interacting with Facebook.

While I was logged in, I scanned my feed, to see what friends are up to. I have a brand new itty-bitty niece, so I looked at photos of her. (Cute baby! Woo!)

But I didn’t post to my own wall. I didn’t “like” things. I interacted as little as possible. I even turned off the auto-feed of my blog posts to my wall and disabled Selective Twitter, thinking I would feel compelled to log in and look for comments on those things, if I posted them.

So I guess that’s a win?

I found it really hard, the first day or two, which I’m sort of embarrassed to admit. But it’s a common problem. (That article, by the way, is fascinating. It tries to explain the compulsion to check Facebook, Twitter, text messages, email, etc., in terms of the neurotransmitter dopamine. My training in psychology and neurobiology is minimal, so I’m not equipped with a strong opinion about the hypothesis. I think I buy it, though. Certainly, I remembered it well enough to want to share it here.) I wanted to log in and see what people I care about were doing, yes, but what’s interesting is the addictive aspect: I craved the little burst of serotonin, or whatever, that happens when someone I like replies to a wall post or blog post or message I’ve posted. It took a few days for the latter to wear off at all—which is doubly interesting, since I was still on Google Plus and Twitter. Both are far less satisfying, for some reason. I think there’s something about the combination of people on my Facebook—mostly people I know fairly well—and their general level of chattiness/willingness to interact that makes Facebook much more satisfying, on the neurotransmitter/addiction level. Which is interesting.

I think it was good for me to take a step back from that, to back away from the compulsive aspects of Facebook-checking. (You see the past tense creeping in. Wait for it….) But, as I alluded to above, Facebook is also an important tool for me. I missed out on useful information shared by coworkers, colleagues in the ALA Think Tank, and various local and professional organizations I follow. I missed some news. I also missed some baby photos, friends’ life updates, and, I’m sure, some office gossip. Frankly, despite the down sides (and they are many), not enough of my professional and personal communication happens in Twitter and Google Plus for me to rely solely on those two services.

For the time being, I’m kind of stuck with Facebook. I just have to be moderate in my approach to it, as much as possible.

Published incommunicationon a personal noteweb 2.0

One Comment

  1. Thanks for the articles about the addiction. I hadn’t thought about it in that terms, but yes I love the little rush when someone retweets you, or likes you, or whatnot. I think my twitter addiction is bigger than my facebook addiction. Went on a cruise earlier this year with no internet addiction for 10 days. That was a rapid detox and actually quite challenging for all of us.

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