by Christy Carl-Sillman
The first step is admitting you have a problem. So I’m facing reality and raising my hand.
Hi. My name is Christy, and I’m a Facebookoholic.
I’ve always loved social networking on the Internet. I had some good times back in the AOL days, fell for MySpace, but my heart currently belongs to Facebook. I will admit it – I log onto Facebook a minimum of 20 times a day.
For an anxiety ridden socialite there really is nothing better. I get to voyeuristically follow my friends’ lives without ever needing to leave the comfort of my own home or my sweats, or even comb my hair! I have discussions via status update comments on my own time – which is perfect for the vampire lifestyle I lead as a night shift nurse.
My obsession started when I was put on bed-rest for five weeks when I was pregnant with my son Noah, and continued as a way to keep family and friends updated through the birth. I even updated my status when I was in labor! Now, Facebook is a great way for family and friends who live out of town to watch Noah grow.
Facebook is entertaining on so many levels and it is fun to watch peoples’ Facebook personalities emerge. Here are a few I’ve observed and defined:
Face-whine: the person who complains about his life via status update. “FML” is a favorite of this personality.
Face-boast: the self confident bragging type who uses Facebook as his or refrigerator to hang their achievements on – “just got a huge promotion and bought this awesome new car.”
Face-promote: this person uses Facebook as advertising for their own personal ventures – “check out my band’s show, my radio show, my (ehm) awesome syndicate of amazing writers website”. You get the idea.
Face-random: these status updates have no real purpose besides to inform – “I’m going to bed” or “just went to the car wash.”
Face-cryptic (a.k.a. Face-passive-aggressive): these status updates are geared to someone on their friends’ list, and it keeps everyone guessing “are they talking about me?” – “Some people really think highly of themselves, sheesh, get a life.”
Face-news: these are the updates of updates. Breaking news repeated for all to see – “Obama just signed the health care reform; history has been made.”
Face-quote: status updates of a quote. Sort of related to face-cryptic but usually more inspiring in nature.
Face-TMI: Seriously? In the real world would you say this in a room out loud to everyone you know? Well, you just did the Facebook equivalent of that! – “My hemorrhoids are killing me!”
Face-pray: because God totally logs onto Facebook. This category also includes requesting prayers from others – “God, please grant me the strength.”
Face-politics: these updates are intended to fuel fierce political debates, and usually do. “Obama just signed the health care reform; you’ve won communists!”
Face-foodie: listing what you are eating or cooking and making everyone’s mouth water in the process – “Peanut butter and banana stuffed French toast with coconut syrup, there really isn’t anything better.”
Face-question (Foogle): who needs Google or advice columns when you have Facebook -“Anyone have a good recipe for sangria?”
Face-propaganda: these people have personal causes which they use Facebook updates and links to promote – “ultrasound scans linked to brain damage in babies (link).”
Face-wit: the witty updates and comments meant to give your friends a chuckle or a brief piece of entertainment in their otherwise dull day – “This may be the box of wine talking, but I’m pretty sure that statue of the Virgin Mary in my neighbor’s yard is giving me the eye.”
Face-parent: status updates about their children – “Noah is rolling all over the house now!”
Face-date: this is the single who advertises their whereabouts to prospective individuals – “Going to press club with the girls, come meet up with us if your out and about ;)” Also in this category, and a personal favorite of mine, date reviews – “Just got a text from the blind date I have on Friday: “I’m really glad we’re going out on Friday ;). I was kinda worried. Ryan said you usually only go out with guys who have real jobs.” Here we go again.”
Face-play: bejeweled, farmtown, mafia wars, sorority life. It’s cool you play these, but I don’t really care how many points you scored or if you bought a cow. You know you don’t have to post that stuff to your profile right? I am also totally addicted to bejeweled! One minute of gaming commitment is just my style.
Face-review: movies, television, restaurants – everyone gets an opinion – “Just saw Inception, wow what an awesome movie.” By the way, if you post spoilers I will cruicify you. I hate spoilers.
Face-peeping-tom: these are the people who rarely comment, post status updates once every few months, and yet you see they are “online” via chat almost every day, or in real life they know all about you and your status updates. Sort of creepy, why don’t you just join the party?
Face-popular: if you have 500+ friends you are automatically in this category. If you have never actually met 20 or more of your friends you also fall into this category.
Oh there are plenty more; can YOU add to my Facebook Dictionary?
My Facebook personality is probably:
5% Face-pray = 100% Addicted
How would you breakdown your Facebook personality?
I personally can’t stand it when someone is 100% one personality. That drives me crazy! It’s the mixture of personality I enjoy the most.
The best part of Facebook is the filtering options and hide features. If someone is annoying you, click “hide” and they don’t know you can’t see a word they post. It’s like hitting the mute button on that annoying person at the party while you nod in fake acknowledgment in their direction.
On the other hand there is the “like” button. This is a true acknowledgment of your enjoyment in someone’s update/post/link without actually having to say something.
Facebook can also be a weapon. After all, it is a public forum, and don’t you forget it. Called in sick to work? Better not post about the awesome rides at Magic Mountain. Family feuds, relationship status break ups, and trash talking are just part of what makes Facebook a sometimes dangerous venture. Caution and care is advised. Think before you post that status update you can’t delete.
One must also remember that it’s called FACEbook for a reason. You decided how you present yourself and what information you share with the public. People put on a great face when their reality barely resembles what they present life to be like.
As you can tell, it really is an obsession of mine, but I’m not about to be the crazy parent who neglects their child to log on. I only Facebook when I am off mom duty (Noah is asleep or being watched by Dad). I do however feel my Facebook use hinders my friendships, takes time away from my husband, and distracts me from my other duties (Did someone say thesis paper?).
When I was on bedrest I received only a few visitors and phone calls. I would cry to my husband about feeling abandoned by my friends, but he rightfully pointed out that they most likely didn’t miss me or wonder how I was doing because I posted updates 3-4 times a day. It’s true that I received a lot of support on Facebook, but very little “real life” contact. My husband suggested I give up Facebook in order to entice actual contact from those interested, but that sounded horrible. Who really wants to field a ton of phone calls when a single two minute posting can take care of it all?
I can’t help but love and hate Facebook. I have contemplated quitting, but I know I’m not ready for that. So I’m just going to start limiting my time. Giving myself rules and rewards for when the rules are followed.
This week: only five log-ins per day. If I can hold to that rule for seven days then I get to go on a mini shopping spree. Now the only question is – where I’m going to post about my progress in reaching this goal?