Why is Facebook so much like a drug?

If you research “give up facebook,” “I want to quit facebook,” “I gave up facebook,” or any variation, you will find tons of articles, blogs or forum posts about people giving up facebook. Some people went as far as deleting and others just deactivated for a little bit then went back. There are tons of posts about facebook fasts but why do so many people want to give it up, only to slide back like a drug addict? 

I can only speak for myself- I have been guilty of making a public announcement, getting close friend and family’s phone numbers or adding/following them on other social networks, deleting but creating a new profile- promising the next time will be different. It never is. I say I’ll start with just close friends and family-and my number will stay below 50. I’ll do well for a few weeks or months- then I’ll start getting requests from coworkers, former classmates and old friends I hadn’t thought about until I saw the name and I’ll add. I’m not sure why I feel guilty if I don’t accept a friend request from someone I know- I feel like I’m insulting them and I don’t know how many people take the network seriously so I am also afraid of deleting them. I do not want real life drama from deleting someone on my list, because real life shouldn’t be controlled by a website. 

My last time deleting, I was very pregnant.  I got sick of the site and deleted it. 

Then I had the baby. While I was in the hospital, I was running through the list of everyone who wanted to know about when I had her, it was such a random list of family members I do not see often and former close friends I also don’t get to see often, I ended up recreating so I could neatly update. I went through the list and only added the people from the list. That small, intimate list lasted a few months- then requests started coming in. I know I could have easily denied but it has gotten to the point where I feel guilty for rejecting, even an old acquaintance I never liked- unfortunately there are no people like that. I actually like the 122 people currently on my list. I have been going through trying to get less than 100, but my list of exceptions is a lot longer than my list of deletion criteria but I don’t understand why deleting is so hard. 

From what I have read in other blogs and forums, a lot of people use deletion as a last resort, only when people personally disrespect them. I also see posts about people cleaning up their list and deleting people who never talk to them and I understand that. During my last major deletion (went from over 150 to just over 130), I posted (people say that’s an annoying post) and asked anyone who didn’t care about what I post (updates mostly on how my kids are doing along with random rants dealing with either things I’ve saw or read and pictures of my latest pillows, my kids or my cat) and I got 0 people to delete me off their lists. I got more people who liked the status to keep me on their lists and on top of that, I’ve had a few people who never spoke to me mention they love the updates (my oldest was 3 months premature with an almost 9 month NICU stay- she’s 6 now and catching up in a lot of ways)

It has taken me nearly a week of writing this. I have deleted my business pages and my sale group, deleted local yard sale pages and am turning it into a more personal account. I’m currently deactivated for the next week while I do a paid one week diet trial. 

I’m also trying to challenge myself to write- even a little bit, daily. On my breaks at work, I’ve been writing what I can and during my off time during nap time while my oldest is in school, I grab a notebook and try to get some extra writing done. I have a finished rough draft for a fantasy novel I’m rewriting and editing and I am also working on some writings I’m hoping to submit to some sites. I’m hoping taking a break from facebook will boost my off time productivity. 

For me, facebook is a major time-suck and on top of that, it reminds me of the social life I no longer have. Not through my own fault nor any one else, my friends live all over the place and we all have either kids, full time jobs, are in school, married or some combination of the above and as late 20 to 30- something adults, it’s hard to get together to just catch up. Facebook is a great thing in some areas, I have got back in contact with my whole former group of friends from middle school and talk to my friends from high school and college occasionally and it helped me and my long time best friend who was like a sister, as well as family who live out of state so I am not deleting it, but I am deactivating for weeks/month at a time. So far, I’ve been deactivated this time for a few days and before that 2 weeks. The more I do it, the less I want to see when I’m on and the easier it gets so this may be the break that helps.

2 responses to “Why is Facebook so much like a drug?”

    • (I would have responded sooner, but I finally figured out how to do it)
      This was my reason for sticking with a site I really do hate. It may apply to others, but there are other reasons other people end up stuck in the cycle of leaving then going back. I’m trying to think up a follow up interview to write about other reasons besides mine.

      My title was actually asking any reader- why is it like a drug? It’s a website but if you search “how to give it up” you find tons of blogs, sites and articles dedicated to people trying to quit facebook just like someone trying to give up smoking. A website shouldn’t be addicting.

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