Who else is addicted to Facebook?

Column: Facebook: The good, the bad and the addictive

Two or three years ago I made wrote a rather pretentious screed announcing that I was abandoning Facebook. I blamed the proliferation of nonsensical, boring and offensive posts for my decision.

Two or three years ago I made wrote a rather pretentious screed announcing that I was abandoning Facebook. I blamed the proliferation of nonsensical, boring and offensive posts for my decision.

Truth was, I was addicted. I couldn’t stop myself from checking in whenever I had a minute or two to spare. I couldn’t sleep if there was someone to chat with. I eagerly anticipated the invitation to make a new friend, even if I barely knew them in the real world.

But I wasn’t ready.

There was no 12-step program to help me through my withdrawal. No sponsor to take me to a meeting. All my friends wanted to do was drag me deeper into my addiction, suggesting games to play, groups to like or quasi-celebrities to follow.

I resisted, avoiding the games. After all I’d been clean for almost three years after tearing myself away from the horrors of Scrabble addiction. As someone who had fallen into the grasp of Pac Man, Tetris and Solitaire during some dark times of my life, I was pretty proud of myself.

But Facebook was different. And despite the enduring banality of much of the content, Facebook is a pretty swell way to keep in touch with old friends – even relatives – and to occasionally engage in some dialogue with smart guys like Mike Coleman or, dare I say, Al Siebring. Mostly, I’m wise enough to simply observe their comments and stay out of the fray. Too dangerous.

Facebook is changing and depending on who you talk to that’s either a good thing or an increasingly sinister menace that already knows too much about us and is determined to take over our lives.

It’s not clear exactly what Facebook has in mind, but Mark Zuckerberg says “posts that inspire conversations and meaningful interactions among people will be prioritized.” That, Zuckerberg adds, will mean more content from friends and family. Can that be a good thing?

And, there will be more posts from friends and family that seek advice or recommendations, he says. That cannot be a good thing, if you know my friends.

What does sound promising are hints from Facebook that they are going to encourage news articles or videos that prompt people to discuss and interact. OK.

Guess I’ll hang in there for a few more years.

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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