A while back, I wrote a rather tongue-in-cheek column about a question that came across my cell, one rhetorical in nature, because both the Facebook folks and I knew full well that, indeed, I did miss every single one of the 555 updates that my FB pals had posted that week.
And, as I sat in a hotel at the end of a work day in my college town of Oxford, Ohio, writing a column the old-school way, longhand cursive first, before hunting and pecking (somewhere Mrs. Mabel Hoop, my LCC typing teacher, is frowning over my never really having learned her keyboard) it after I returned home to send to my editor, I can honestly say as far as those 555 updates, I thought and still do, that seems like a lot of updating over just seven days.
Now, I suppose that all depends upon how many friends I’ve picked up along the FB way. Truth be told, without looking, I have no idea how many FB friends I’ve accumulated. My FB rule has always been, while I don’t solicit FB friendships, if you want to be friends with me and I know you and like you reasonably well, sure, why not? That’s as long as the FB gods don’t tell me, “Sorry, we cannot confirm your request right now,” which is something that seems to happen more and more. So, please, if you asked me to be friends and it hasn’t happened yet, it’s kind of out of my hands. Talk to the FB gods!
As for the updates, I think I have a pretty good idea which of my “peops” may have popped off the most. Those are the ones who, according to CNN’s Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, may be approaching the dangerous waters of FBA, as in Facebook addiction.
While Cohen in her 2009 piece entitled “Five Clues that You Are Addicted to Facebook” admits that there is no real medical diagnosis relating to such an addiction, she says after interviewing a number of therapists that it’s apparent to her that there are many out there who admit to problems with the site sufficient enough to disrupt their lives in some significant way.
Employing the same phrasing that comedian Jeff Foxworthy does in having his redneck fun, Cohen lists five signs of FB addiction in her article after talking to therapists under the heading, “You know you’re a Facebook addict when….”
The first is if you lose enough sleep by your nocturnal Facebooking that you limit your effectiveness the next day. Certainly, that makes sense to me that any activity that becomes so all-consuming, from slugging down late-night beers to watching QVC and ordering so much stuff that your house is beginning to look like an episode of “Hoarders,” that it’s robbing you of slumber, that’s a pretty good sign your life train has jumped the track.
A second sign, according to Cohen’s studies, is if you’re spending an hour or more a day on FB. This seems rather arbitrary to me. On most days, in the wee hours of the morning before other labors beckon, I’m pretty sure I’m working for at least an hour on some writing I hope to publish. Hmmm, does that make me addicted to writing?
A third sign, and this one amuses me because I would never have guessed that therapists would have come up with this one, is if you become obsessed with old loves with whom you’ve rediscovered on FB. Seems to me sailed ships have already left the dock!
Sign No. 4 of an FB addiction is, according to Cohen’s studies, is if you ignore work in favor of Facebook. To me, this one is pretty obvious. Any monomaniacal pursuit that prevents someone from doing what must be done to bring home that bacon is a real problem.
Finally, the fifth sign of an addiction is if the thought of quitting FB produces anxiety. Really? With all of the leisurely avenues there are, would quitting one really produce anxiety? Listen, I love sports, but the older I get, the more I find my Sundays are vastly more enriching and fun if I don’t glue myself to the tube watching those Browns stumble around between the goal lines while rarely stumbling over one.
So there you have it, folks, another addiction about which to worry! While I’m a perfect five for five in avoiding the behaviors articulated by Cohen’s research, I do worry about my FB pals who posted those 555 updates!
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.