Facebook.  I have decided it is the vampire of the 21st century; it sucks up all our time, productivity, and creativity. You think I’m over reacting?  Take a moment and think about how many times you log in just long enough to see if anyone has commented on your most recent status.  Stop at a traffic light on the way somewhere to see where your friends are.  Wake up and say hello to your friends across the world before a good morning greeting to the spouse next to you in bed.

Scott and I were discussing this last night because we decided to not get cable for internet just to see if it were possible.  We have watched many videos by Technomadia and Gone With The Wynns and read their blog posts about going wireless; how hard could it be?  They make it look so easy!  We had a surprise coming.

The husband told me to look at my data usage for the past week and tell me what I saw.  He said he saw a mountain of data used and I told him I was afraid to look.  I did and I was not happy. What made it all worse is that 90% was Facebook!  F A C E B O O K !  How could this be?  I never use it!!!

Apparently this isn’t true.  I may have thought otherwise, but the numbers do not lie.  I looked at my timeline and saw post after post after post for one day.  The day before that, post after post after post; the same every day for weeks, months…..  I was floored.  I thought about when each of those posts were made and I found another bit of information that actually scared me a bit.  I was posting at stop lights and when I was trapped in traffic on the highways.  Had I Facebooked while I was actually driving?

I read an article posted to Facebook by a friend of mine.  It was titled “HPD Issued 65 Tickets to Motorists Stuck in Tuesday’s Gridlock” from the Honolulu Star Advertiser website. Basically the highway had to close their ZipLane (Express Lane, HOV Lane, ect…) for some computer issues.  This caused a horrible traffic jam and people were on their cell phones which gave the Highway Patrol a prime opportunity to ticket people for cell phone use while “driving”.  Wow.  Just, wow.  How many times have I been sitting in my car in the middle of 820 gridlock posting to Facebook or texting a friend?  How many times should I have received a ticket for doing just this?  How many times could I have been in or caused an accident?

Scott said he was having just as many issues as I myself was with the use of Facebook.  When he wakes up, before his feet ever touch the ground, he is on Facebook.  There have been mornings he is rushing around and running late because he has been on FB lost in friends’ posts and commenting.  Often FB is the first and last thing he sees every day.  The other day he was having a face-to-face conversation with a coworker when he pulled out his phone and started Facebooking.  How often have you done this?

The last straw last night was us seeing just how much data usage Facebook had on both of our phones.  Within six days we have used 1.38GB, out of that 3/4 of it was FB on our phones.  You might be saying, “But, Ren, that’s pretty good over six days!”  Unfortunately, we were moving and extremely busy four of those days and we actually didn’t FB much at all.  This usage has been mainly over a two day period!  This is not only shocking, but a bit disturbing.

Go to your preferred web search site.  Now put in “social media kills creativity”.  Sit back and read some of the articles.  I know, I know, you can’t always believe what you read online, but do you really think that many people would be saying the same thing if it weren’t true?  Before the internet we had time to be bored, as my husband says. He is very right on this.

Think about it, before the internet and smart phones we had to read actual books, play games with others face-to-face, day dream, and the list goes on.  How many times today do you find yourself sitting in a waiting room looking through your phone?  Sit at a traffic light and check your FB status?  Sitting in the comfort of your home playing a game online while your family is lost in their smart phones or computers – in the same room?  Because we have instant gratification and an escape from boredom, we are cheating ourselves of time to accomplish things that need to be done and dreams you talk about but do nothing to prepare for.

That, that right there is why we have taken Facebook off of our phones.  It has been sucking up time, energy, and creativity.  Now don’t get me wrong, it is not just Facebook, but that is where we saw the most set of issues.  In order to break this poor habit, we have taken the app off our phones.  We have to physically go somewhere WiFi is accessible and use our computers or pads.  I do not know if this will help, but I know I went to bed last night talking with my husband and I woke up to have a conversation with him this morning.  I also made the decision to go find WiFi to do a quick FB check and status update, two blog posts and meet a couple of new people.  Sure I could have done that on FB, but I would have missed out on some great face time with some interesting people.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t Facebook or do other social networking, but I am saying you should look at your usage and determine if it is keeping you from a life in the real world.  I did and I am ashamed to say, I had to come out from under the rock I was living in.

Ren