Monday, January 10, 2011

Quitting Facebook = Quitting Smoking

I quit smoking about seven years ago and man, it was hard. The withdraw and the inability to do anything I associated with it like drinking coffee, having a couple of beers or driving to work on a cold January morning was almost too much to bear. Most of my friends were still smoking so it also made me feel like a bit of an outsider to be the guy who spent his 15 minute break in the cafeteria reading his book, rather than outside having a butt and socializing.

I was out of the somewhat secret Social Smokers Network. Don't kid yourself, there are some pretty monumental secrets and juicy bits of gossip being traded out there on those partially enclosed patios ten feet from the entrance to any public building. Non smokers would lose sleep if they knew a fraction of what was being discussed. Mr. Assange, are you getting this?

I didn't really want to do it. I had to do it because it was bad for me. The worst cravings lasted about 14 days and despite the best efforts of my dubiously intentioned smoker friends, i.e: "Hey Ward, you want a smoke? Ha. Ha." I was able to stay clean and remain so to this day.

Yesterday I quit Facebook because I realized it was bad for me too. It was my first (and sometimes only) online destination despite the wealth of good stuff on the net. I needed it in the morning with my coffee. I liked to look an it and post on it in the evening while I was having a couple of beers, and I couldn't drive to work on a cold January morning without first updating my status. As my narcissistic fire was stoked by the idea of hundreds of "friends" that actually cared what I was doing on Saturday night my family was waiting for me to get off the computer and come open the Christmas presents while I was busy typing "Merry Christmas Everyone!" into the What's on your mind? widget.  I'm no psychiatrist, but I'd be willing to bet this behavior falls well within the criteria for addiction.. I would not be at all surprised to see support groups for Facebook addicts start popping up in the next few years.

When I booted up my computer to do the deed, the first thing I discovered was Facebook doesn't want you to quit. Big surprise. Tobacco companies didn't want me to quit either. I could deactivate my account, but isn't this the same thing as trying to kick the nicotine habit while you still have half a pack of smokes in your pocket? Also, the deactivation page has pictures of your friends saying "I'll miss you...". I won't really miss them though, because I see most of them at work every day. This kind of emotional blackmail is beneath even you, Mr. Zuckerberg and I've seen The Social Network. I know what you are capable of.

A helpful tech forum (forums are one of the greatest things about the 'net) provided me with instructions for permanently deleting my account. That's more like it: Cold turkey.

Telling Facebook why you are leaving is disturbingly mandatory. I felt a little indignant at being forced to explain myself so I chose the "other: please explain" option from the list and wrote:

This is nothing more than a highly sophisticated marketing tool. 
My personality is not for sale.
I prefer real interactions with actual people.

I hit "submit" and Facebook informed me that they will permanently delete my account in 14 days. If I log in before that time expires, it will be like I never even tried to quit at all. 

Looks like it's back to the cafeteria with a good book. 


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  2. Ok, let's do this again...I too quit facebook, about 2 hours ago. Guess what my first google search waswas after clicking the "delete your facebook account" button?..."quitting facebook support group". Oddly enough the very first link is a page ON facebook called "facebook support group". It's like being a member of the Gestapo who wants out and goes to hitlers house for tea and light refreshements. I got so sick of it as well. I hated the control it had over me, and the worst part was that I hated most of the people on my friends list. Most people "friend" anyone and everyone. I on the other hand had a very strict rule of friending people I've only met in real life, face to face. And almost all these people annoyed the living shit out of me. It became such a petty game of "my life is better than yours" BS. And trust me, women can be so disgusting when it comes to this and facebook. The random and shameless attention whoring, and "my life is great!" lies got to be a bit too much. Facebook became a place where I would log on everyday just to see what the cunts on my account were up to that day. Most of them facebook addict neglectful alcoholic moms pretending to be epicurious runway moms living the high life. I became filled with hatred and bitternes, and that's just the icing of the cake, a very small example. But I'm strong-willed and I will pull through like I did with quitting smoking 5 years ago which I will celebrate on the 17th of this month. I will not allow anything like that to take control over me ever again. I felt so sleazy for so long. I feel delightfully liberated.