One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

Summary: I gave up a social media 'addiction' for a week to get my essays written. Turns out, it's a lot like giving up smoking: difficult at first, but slowly gets easier.

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Giving up Facebook and Twitter is almost exactly like quitting smoking.

The first few days are the worst, but once the cravings start to even out, life adds perspective again. It's not as if you gain willpower per se; it's just that you simply don't need it to get you through any longer.

My mobile phone, however, got me through. Nothing could be better than lying on my sofa on Wednesday just past midnight, blasting out some old retro-tunes on my headphones, tapping away on my netbook as I whopped out some classic academic writing, and sipping on a glass of wine.

I was in a good place. I wanted to tell the world, but I couldn't. Those who know me know full well that I don't relax half as often as I should.

I rang Lisa, my good friend. On the other side of the city, she receives a phone call from me in blind panic, thinking something was wrong. It was past midnight, after all. A mild panic attack later, she recovers, but not before giving me an earful down the phone. Though, she was pleased I was in a good mood.

I went back to my glass of wine.

The one thing I realised after a week without social media, and spending a few days back on each respective site, was how much I adjusted to not having access to social media. My Twitter usage has always been low-to-moderate, but my Facebook activity was through the roof.

My friends describe me as a 'prolific liker', relating to how often I 'like' something on Facebook. But from my perspective, it is far lazier and simpler to 'like' something than to comment. It's merely an acknowledgement of something, but its very nature is subjective and can be taken well out of context.

As Jules Renard once said, "Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired". I sleep five hours a night; I'm always bloody tired.

There is no doubt I am bored of Facebook, just as I get 'bored' of smoking. But arguably, I need both Facebook and smoking in my life.

But the interesting thing was the discovery of needing to reach out to the world.

I could have any point sent a text message to one of my contacts. That text message, under normal rules, could have gone to Twitter which would have updated my Twitter status. From there, anyone and everyone could have commented, opening the status up to variety and a greater scope of interesting comments to read back.

The want and need to be open is a strange thing for the younger generation. It's not that we no longer need to be private, but that we actively want the world to notice us in a strange, almost perverse sense of longing for attention. Perhaps with the burgeoning worldwide population, we feel as if we aren't being noticed?

I didn't finish a single essay during my time off social media, though. Mind you, I did make at least 'some' progress, I'm sure you'll be glad to know.

Oh, and I still smoke. That can wait for another post.

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Topics: Networking, Social Enterprise

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  • Facebook is lame

    Facebook is lame, when parents and grandparents are on there, it is no longer cool... I'm proud of your smoking keep it up, it makes you cool dude.
    Hasam1991
    • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

      @Hasam1991 ... really?

      "Facebook is lame, when parents and grandparents are on there, it is no longer cool..."

      You'll soon learn that with maturity comes a completely different idea of what's "cool". What's cool is when we, as a global community, can all communicate and share through any medium, whether we're 20 or 80, Christian or Muslim, White or Black, and openly discuss our differences and opinions. What's not cool? Personal, private cliques that do nothing but exclude, make fun of, and insult things or people we do not understand.

      "I'm proud of your smoking keep it up, it makes you cool dude."

      I am assuming that this was sarcasm at it's best, which just makes me assume something else ... that you must have no faults, and are therefor perfect ... it's a wonder I've never heard of you before.

      A great woman (my mother), once said "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". It's great advice I think everyone should follow ... having said that, I should apologize to my mother for not following it this time, but sometimes, things just need to be said.

      Ludo
      Ludovit
      • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

        @Ludovit Like
        Gritztastic
      • You are mixing up ideals with reality.

        @Ludovit
        In a perfect world everyone would get along, be kind and not dump all over everyone by posting drivel in ZDNET or other media just to hear themselves talking.

        I recently noted one blog posting that the second reply was an attack against the first person. It had nothing to do with the article or a rebuttal to the first reply. It was an out and out attack. This happens in FB, TW and any other form of communication. The good may not out weigh the bad. I don't know as I stay out of all social media.

        The best cure for smoking (FB, etc) is to never start in the first place.
        dave01234
      • Dave@ ...

        I'd reply directly to your post, but ZDNet doesn't allow third level posting, so ...

        Touche ... subtle, but to the point. You actually made me laugh, while pointing out how stupid I was being ... are you in politics?

        Ludo
        Ludovit
    • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

      @Hasam1991 Smoking is not cool. I wish I'd never started.
      zwhittaker
      • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

        @zwhittaker - Not sure if you'll see this Zach but here's how I stopped smoking and never looked back:

        1. Stop saying "quit". Nobody likes to be a quitter, it has too many negative connotations. Just say "Stop" as in "I'm going to stop smoking...".
        2. Pick a date about three months in the future, preferably a date that has some meaning to you (a birthday, yours or someone important to you) and designate that date as your stop smoking date. I picked my birthday in 1993.
        3. Every day when you get up to start the day, look in the mirror and tell yourself "I'm going to stop smoking on xx/xx/xxxx." Do this every day.
        4. On that day, get up, look in the mirror and tell yourself "Today I stop smoking" then take any cigarettes you have left and crumble them up into the trash.

        This works in three ways:

        The first is that you're psyching yourself up to do this on some specific date. It's a deadline so to speak, with the intent of extending YOUR "Deadline".

        The second is that subconsciously (unconsciously?) you will start to cut back on your smoking knowing the day is coming where you will stop.

        The third is that by picking date (especially if it's a birthday) you're giving yourself (or someone else) a gift of you not smelling like smoke, you not needing to run out to grab a smoke and you living a lot longer and that's a very special set of gifts for anyone, including yourself.

        Anyway, that's how I did it and I've been successful. The cravings were minimal and I only dreamed about smoking a few times before I was free of it.

        Hope you manage to stop soon, smoking really isn't a good thing and it's too bad so many people do it.
        PollyProteus
      • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

        @zwhittaker PollyProteus has a good point about "quitting". I never quit, I just "cut back". If I someday cut back to one smoke every 20 years, so be it :)

        One thing that helps me is the new e-cigs. There's a pretty good forum, ecf something. Google it, I don't want to seem spammy. I've found the ecigs work best if you're just cutting back. All the times you'd normally just mindlessly chain smoke, you can mindlessly "vape". I cut back from 2 packs a day to ~1/2 pack/day, and I wasn't trying, I just wanted to see what they were like. The $60 I spent on my "kit" was paid back in 2 weeks.

        Likewise, I've cut back on FB to about twice a week, not counting when my wife says "you gotta see this!"
        jred
  • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

    When my work gets demanding I need to cut back on lots of things - sleep, time with my family, etc. I also cut back on the web in general and FB usage goes to zero for a week or so. Actually much longer as once I stop looking at it for a while it has less and less appeal. I've not checked in for several weeks now and don't feel deprived at all. I figure, every minute I'm not on FB is an extra minute w my family.:-)
    Deerhaven111
    • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

      @Deerhaven111

      I'll choose my Family and Friends over FB and Twitter every time. I don't tweet and I only use FB once every 2-3 months to see if any "long lost friends" want to "connect". I'm beginning to think that a well connected society isn't always a good thing. Maybe I'll relocate to the mountains and go Grizzly Adams. It might save my sanity and my soul.
      Rob.sharp
    • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

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  • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

    I was going to blast you when I first read the tweet with this headline, but after reading the post I decided to back off.

    I have been a smoker for over 40 years, and was on Facebook for over a year until I grew tired of the nonsense posts made by most of my 'friends' and deactivated my account. While I did miss seeing some of my friends' status updates, I just went back to email like I did before, and never missed Facebook for a minute.

    However, I have tried (and failed) to quit smoking several times, but find that I do not have the willpower to do so(although I have reduced the number I smoke to less than half). Along with the psychological aspect of quitting smoking, there is also the physical craving for nicotine to deal with. Let me tell you, you need to QUIT now. The longer you smoke, the harder it is. My Dad quit smoking after over 40 years, and until the day he died, over 20 years later, you would STILL see him reach for that shirt pocket where the cigs used to be and roll his eyes and laugh when he realized what he had done. It is not only in the mind, and real cravings in your body, it becomes automatic, just like scratching an itch.

    Do yourself a favor and drop the cigs now. I would much rather see you wasting too much time on Facebook than smoking. At least it won't kill you.

    Have a great day Zack.
    babyboomer57
    • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

      @babyboomer57 You too!
      zwhittaker
    • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

      @babyboomer57 Of course, if Facebook is something he associates with smoking (if he smokes while checking Facebook to the point that he closely associates the two events in his mind), maybe quitting Facebook could be a good step to quitting smoking.
      Third of Five
  • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

    I used Fb for a year. Have lots of friends on it. Then I realized the whole thing is pointless and wasting a lot of valuable time. So I dropped it in a heart beat. After 2 days, I didn't even think about it anymore.
    rengek
  • I'd reply directly to your post, but ZDNet doesn't allow third level

    Ludo,

    It's not that you're stupid or naive it just that I've been in tech since 110 baud acoustic coupler modems. I've seen the industry change, mostly for the better, however the one common thing keeps dragging us down or back are people. No I'm not in politics, I hate politics, I'm just an old timer in this industry. The world needs more people like you and less soap boxes, flames and trolls who have no life and spend their time dragging poeple down.

    The biggest loss is Common Sense. It died a slow, horrible death.
    http://familyrightsassociation.com/news/obituary/Common_Sense_.htm
    dave01234
    • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

      @dave@... Common Sense did NOT die, it was murdered by Political Correctness. If someone said something about ones family member, all you had to do was snatch them up and slap some sense into them, and it didn't happen again. But the pu$$ies and crybabies who couldn't defend themselves against a physical attack, just verbal ones went and begged for the judges and congress people to help them and go here we are. Think of it like this, Aaron Burr is famous for shooting Alexander Hamilton who just so happened to be a traitor to America, even though no one talks about how HE started the first 3 central banks in the US. If Aaron was alive today, how many people in Congress do you think he'd pop a cap in? An a$$whoopin was just a corrective measure to ensure that people didn't talk more than they could deliver. Now you have fanbois, trolls and a lot more people in dire need of some corrective measures to keep them in check.
      trust2112@...
    • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

      @dave@... [b]The biggest loss is Common Sense. It died a slow, horrible death.[/b]

      Let us bow our heads and observe a moment of silence for the tragic loss of Common Sense.
      athynz
  • RE: One week on: Giving up Facebook is like giving up smoking

    I quit FB on 11th Jan and haven't felt any urges to make a new profile since then \o/
    bonafide89
  • No, it's like stopping eating tapeworms!

    Facebook--except when your phone line is down and email may be (inexplicably) uncertain--is a worse time-waster than daytime soaps.

    If all the USA's Facebook hours *spent at work* had been put into producing what bosses and customers want--with 10% set aside for self-improvement and continuing education--we'd have balanced the budget three years ago while reversing the un-balance of payments to Asia.

    America--and the rest of the world to some extent--has fallen prey to time-wasting fake-work that makes us feel "busy" without being productive.

    Like my writing in blogs, trying to change somebody's mind.
    archetuthus