I’ve just deactivated my Facebook profile, so what do I do to ease the withdrawal? Read about Facebook withdrawal. There’s a really interesting article from LiveScience that explains that while Facebook triggers pleasure in the brain similar to that of cocaine or other drugs, it doesn’t quiet the part of the prefrontal cortex responsible for inhibitions.
Which means that Facebook is addictive but that we can probably quit it pretty easily.
We’ll see about that. A friend deactivated her profile a couple of weeks ago because she’s super busy, and she talked about the withdrawal, though she didn’t seem to have a terrible time keeping herself away from the site. Her experience made me consider how much time I spend scrolling through post after post after post – most of them photos of dogs from around the world. There’s no justification for the amount of time I spend doing that. Facebook is an attention black hole.
I should probably note that I’m not at all trying to deny the human need for distraction. We’d all go crazy if we didn’t have something to distract us. I just want to spend my distraction hours elsewhere on something I feel is just a little bit more worthwhile. I’ll probably be in a better position once I figure out what that something is. It might end up being Twitter, though I don’t know how anyone could spend as much time on Twitter as they do on Facebook. And there lies the latter’s genius: remember when we could just scroll through a chronological news feed? We could log on and quickly see that no one had updated anything, then log off and return to our business. Now, that’s not an option: we see a mix built with an algorithm that Facebook thinks we will like and that will keep us scrolling. Endlessly.
Sure, deactivating a Facebook account isn’t at all permanent. After I’d clicked through the various “are you sure???????” screens, I was finally logged out but presented with a big button, front and center, reminding me that none of my data is lost and I can log back in whenever I want to. We’ll see how long I last.
A brief log. Since I deactivated my account about three hours ago, I’ve read some book, washed dishes, and hosted my mother for a few minutes while she petted my menagerie. I also checked Twitter and read the aforementioned Facebook-and-the-brain article. The alternative, of course, was to scroll endlessly through dog pictures. I admit: there are worst things.
When it comes down to it, though, do we really care about anything we read on Facebook, or is it manufactured idle curiosity springing from the knowledge that we can check up on anyone at any time? Do I really care that my old high school friend who lives across the country took her kids to the park today? Does anyone care that my dog played in her pool today? No. I don’t. We’ve just been conditioned to keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.\
But just in case you do care about what Penny did today, here’s some video evidence. At least I didn’t post it on Facebook?