You know you have a Facebook addiction when your "friends" include the parents of the kids you used to know in preschool. You know who you are.
You may have sent them a so-called "friend request," but in reality, they are a notch on your Facebook belt. Have you ever noticed that when your list of Facebook "friends" started growing, your real-life friends started dwindling? No? That's because you are a Facebook junkie! You wouldn't notice if your house was on fire!
When it is an imposition to talk to your mother on the phone, because you have blocked her from seeing your Facebook page, you have a problem. Believe it or not, the phone is still a viable option for communication. Face-to-face is even better. And, really? You defriended your mom?
Does it make sense to post a provocative comment and then check your Facebook page 146 times a day to find out if any of your "friends" bit? Why don't you take 5 minutes out of your obviously nonexistent life to call them and have that conversation?
I used to have a Facebook page. Yes, I lived that insanity for a short time. However, there came a time when I realized that I didn't have time to let everyone know how I was feeling or what I was doing every few minutes. I didn't have time to commiserate with all of those people who wrote stupid things like "Life sucks!" or "Having a bad day..." To be perfectly honest, I don't relate to people who feel the need to dump on every single person they know with their "bad day." I always feel compelled to ask "Compared to... what?" And apparently, that response is not politically correct.
Speaking of politically correct, when did it become socially acceptable to talk about politics and religion in mixed company at 30-minute intervals? By mixed company, I mean everyone you know and possibly everyone they know. Sane people know that speaking about either of these highly charged subjects in a room full of unrelated people is uncouth, and will invariably lead to broken friendships, anger and general chaos. And yet the Facebook pages of the world are full of it. By full of it, I mean the stuff that sits at the bottom of your great-granddaddy's outhouse.
Don't you dare cite First Amendment rights! Nobody wants to see your views on these two subjects on their personal page any more than you want to see theirs. It's like having a political candidate or Jehovah's Witness ring your doorbell every half-hour. It is unwanted. Some may say, "Well, don't answer the door." But that doesn't make it any less annoying. My personal solution to these onslaughts was the equivalent of not having a "house" thereby ensuring no "doorbell ringing."
Perhaps, before Facebook, the major deterrent was in knowing that you were sure to get popped in the nose if you incessantly aired your views in mixed company. Now the only deterrent is being "defriended." Maybe that's why you defriended your mom? Who cares? You still have 311 more friends!
Have you ever thought about the "real" relationships you are hurting by broadcasting your every thought onto a global bulletin board? It's as if everyone has a rare form of Tourette's Syndrome! It's only symptomatic when you post to Facebook! You would never say certain things to some of your friends in person. Facebook gives you a kind of deceptive immunity where you think you can safely say anything you want to everyone you know because you think there are no consequences.
The time you spend on Facebook, posting and reposting every unoriginal thought that comes your way, could be better spent nurturing those few real friendships and relationships that are your true support.
Inspiration doesn't come in 10-second sound bites, or 150 characters. Inspiration comes from a true connection of spirit that you can read in someone's eyes and feel in their touch.
Rather than the tired cliches you insist on reposting "so all your friends can benefit," try taking a walk with someone you love, giving a hug to a neglected child, shaking the hand of someone you admire, or calling a relative who is far away just to say "hello." That is inspiration. That is truth. That is life.
Facebook is a tool. Use it. Don't let it use you. Your Facebook "friends" should be the people who would be willing to save your silly life or carry your casket someday. The people that will do that are right there in front of you. They are the ones who would really care if you are having a bad day. Invest your time in those people.
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.