I admit it. I am kind of a Facebook creeper. Actually, I used to be. Now I am a recovering Facebook creeper. For some time I have felt gradually more uneasy about poking around on peoples pages, looking at photos and posts and then moving on – undetected. I didn’t participate much. Something about broadcasting my thoughts and opinions out to people who I am not necessarily that closely connected to, “creeps” me out. I am too private a person for that to be comfortable. So I was definitely taking in more than I was giving out.
Realistically, my original desire to be on Facebook was just to monitor the social media activities of my teenage son, to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid or get into trouble. I made him “friend me” for that reason. Nothing worrisome has happened in three years and I am confident he is savvy enough now to avoid the social media mistakes that can get you fired, or suspended, or sanctioned, or arrested. So I don’t really have that excuse anymore for creeping.
With my “adult” Facebook friends I would casually peruse the various postings a couple of times a day. This started off as a pleasurable activity. However, More often than not I would come away with negative feelings following these perusings (is that a word?) and I began to wonder, why am I angry at this or that person’s strident opinion, envious of their vacations, or dismissive their “ trivial” updates.
I was becoming way too involved in posts that I didn’t have to read, and which had nothing to do with me. I found myself rehashing posts in my head while I was offline. This was clearly my problem, not the fault of the postees. I confessed my angst to our online community manager. Simple solution, he said “Engage or get off. That’s my advice. Either way you’ll be happier.”
So I made the choice – I got off. Cold turkey for two weeks.
An endless stream of status updates passed by… and I was not there to observe them. Did I miss some party pics? A beach outing? A funny video? I was curious. To avoid temptation, I changed my password to a real difficult one with x’s and z’s and numbers , wrote it down, and promptly hid the information. The first couple of days was kind of like kicking a nicotine habit, I kept scrolling to my Facebook url, but was able to suppress the urge to view what was going on. To pass the downtime, I immersed myself in Netflix and watched the entire seasons one through four of Mad Men. That was a great substitute but now that is over and season five hasn’t begun yet. Now it’s been a couple of weeks and I have become adjusted to a non-Facebook existence. Every now and then I do check up on my son, but just to update myself on his life (how else am I going to find out what is going on with him?) I am in a good place with FB and really don’t anticipate going back to my old ways. I’ve even read a few Kindle books.
I will admit, however, that I have re-discovered the seduction of Twitter and have found some interesting hashtags to follow. Jeepers.