Social networking: Are you addicted?!

“Hi, I’m Craig and I’ve been Facebook free for two months.”

Like a crack addict to Heroin, Facebook was my drug.

Whether we like it or not, we now live in a world of information abundance. From the early days of ICQ, MySpace and Bebo right up to the more prominent Facebook and Twitter, there are a plethora of social networks providing us with a near infinite amount of information.

I’m sure the majority of people that use Facebook could reel off all of the ways it improves their lives till they are blue in the face and I’d probably agree on the most part.

Sure Facebook connects you to all of your friends, allowing you to reach them from anywhere in the world at any given moment in time. Sure you can share with said friends your favourite photos and videos. Sure you can follow your favourite celebrity or sports team.

But is there a point when it becomes bad for your health?

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines ‘addiction’ as “The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved in something.”

The majority of you reading this will have Facebook and I’m willing to bet that those of you that do will check it either when you wake up, at points during the day, whilst you’re having your dinner or before you go to bed… some of you might even check it all of those times and then some more!

What you think is just curiously browsing, is actually a habitual activity that has become ingrained in your daily routines. You are habitually occupied with the checking of Facebook, in other words you are addicted to it.

Now I’m not a doctor or anything but I’m pretty confident the act of browsing your Facebook feed on a daily basis won’t turn your veins black, your blood turn septic or cause you to die, but how is it affecting your mental state?

For me, it got to the point where I would see a status update from one of my 600+ ‘friends’ (mostly people I’ve not seen in years or will ever see again) and it would affect my mental state, sometimes making me angry, annoyed or frustrated.

The majority of my feed consisted of mainly negative status updates from people not happy with certain aspects of their lives. Given the fact I was checking the feed multiple times a day it was bound to have a negative impact on my own mental state.

Since becoming Facebook free, I’ve found my head less clogged up with irrelevant information, I’ve got more time to put into other projects and I can honestly say that I don’t miss it. There will be a time when I set up a new profile but I’d like to think that I’ve learned a few lessons during my ‘cold turkey’ stint and that I will be a bit more select with the people I connect with.

Thoughts? Opinions? I’d like to hear them…

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