Facebook addicts

| February 16, 2009 | 5 Replies

Over the past week, on two separate occasions, middle-aged adults spontaneously blurted out to me that they had recently become Facebook “addicts.”    Today, I stumbled across this delightful essay by Tara Styles, who has thought deeply about her own recent Facebook addiction.  Styles’ writing style is engaging and you’ll enjoy her many observations about Facebook.computer-addiction

I am apparently immune to Facebook, given that I am already obsessed with writing for a blog.   But Facebook is apparently catching fire, based on the rapidly growing number of times I hear it mentioned on the streets. Sometimes, it makes you wonder whether the people mentioning Facebook so often would rather be at their keyboards than talking with you in person.

From what I’ve seen and heard, Facebook is being used as both a tool to rekindle real friendships but also as a means to concoct the illusion that you have real friends (when you actually don’t).   I’m not a critic of Facebook per se.  As I see it, Facebook is merely a tool and, like so many other tools (knives, alcohol or religion, for example), it can be used or abused.    But perhaps Facebook is more addictive than some other tools.  Certainly, as a communications tool, it seems to be more addictive to most people than a piece of paper and a pen.

[photo with permission by Dreamstime.com]

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Category: Communication

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich and his wife, Anne Jay, live in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where they are raising their two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    At Newsweek, Raina Kelley writes that "Everybody also lies about why they use Facebook." Here is her compilation of the "Seven Lies You Tell Yourself About Facebook":

    1. I Only Friend People I Really Know.

    2. Facebook Made Me Do It.

    3. Wall-to-Wall Flirting Isn't Cheating.

    4. I Use Facebook to Keep in Touch With People.

    5. I'm Soooo Over Facebook.

    6. And I am Soooo Not Competitive.

    7. Facebook is My Friend.

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/185641

  2. Erika Price says:

    Erich, you can't come down too harshly on Facebook. It's just a cleaner, less open-to-customization version of Myspace. And I know for a fact that you learned at some point to take the good of Myspace with the bad. We "met" on Myspace! I found this blog because of it! I shared the blog with my friends and "friends" via a link on Myspace.

    Yet you've stayed off the Facebook bandwagon. If Facebook retains its popularity and increasing age demographic, though, you may find that you simply must join it. Facebook really does serve as a great repository of friends' photos, their life news,and their brief moments of celebration and whimsy (via status updates). It's also a hub of infinite creepdom. But since every Facebook account holder engages in some degree of their own "Facebook stalking", the benefits and drawback somehow cancel one another out.

    Actually, every self-identified introvert should revel in social networking sites like Facebook. It lets you cultivate and maintain connections without the fuss of going before people. It allows those of us who like "alone time" to simultaneously enjoy our solitude and maintain the level of contact that whiny extroverts require.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Erika: You're right, that I should be too hard on any of the social networking tools. They are powerful, indeed. I do seem to be running into a few too many adults these days, however, who are spontaneously raising the issue that they are "addicted" to Facebook and "wasting lots of time" on it.

      As for "meeting" you on the Internet, yes, indeed, we met on MySpace. Without social networking Internet tools, I wouldn't have met Hank, Ebonmuse, Mike Pucinella and many of the other people who are part of this community and my life would have been relatively impoverished.

      As good as it is to share this website with all of you "virtual friends," I look forward when we can all converse face to face, somewhere in the world. Tim Hogan keeps insisting that a face-to-face meeting of DI people should occur in Australia and that Hank should host it.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's a frustrated farewell to Facebook by a (former) user. Here's a snippet:

    Being on Facebook is like volunteering to receive spam, and the more successful you are at finding friends, the more spam you get! In the end, Facebook is really the emptiest, loneliest place on the whole World Wide Web. It's all static and white noise, and the steady streams of status updates start to look like ASDF, ASDF, ASDF after a while.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Julian Assange: Facebook is the "most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/02/julian-a

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