Monday, September 27, 2010

Status Update Addicts Anonymous

Book in Hand: Whodunit? edited by Philip Pullman
Song in Mind: Love the Way You Lie - Rihanna

My name is Olivia and I am a Facebook Status Update addict.

They say that acceptance is the first step to overcoming any addiction; so here I am. How I came this far, I have no idea. It was only 3 years ago when I thought Facebook was for the social degenerates of society – attention whores and oversharers of information. Maybe my fall from grace was meant to happen --- I admit my point of view was a bit harsh and needed a bit of revision. Well, a lot of revision.

But I never meant to fall so hard. Not to the point of compulsively checking new status messages from people I’m connected to every ten minutes. Not to get to the point of no return where I start thinking in 420-character mode. Not when I annotate my life in 5 lines or less. Not the fact that those little red flags on top of the page excites me more than a smokin' hot photo of Paul Bettany.

Sure, brevity is a skill for writers, and sometimes, a gift to the people who have to read them. But it also takes out much of the flavour in writing. Not to mention limiting your tone to just one of the myriad possibilities: caustic, sarcastic, whiny, dreamy, happy, bored…. You get the idea.

Facebook killed thousands of bloggers worldwide. Why blog, when you can Tweet or SU, and get more and faster responses from people worldwide? The concept is exhilarating! You actually start thinking you have a fan base now; people who hang on to your every message… and yes, I mean you, Annabelle Rama (I mean, who cares what you Tweet?). I fell into the attention-whore trap, and only managed to snatch my soul from the claws of the Oversharer.

My rude awakening came when a couple of contacts started using their FB account as their online shrink. I admit, I have done my fair share of whining online and more than the usual number of “sad =’( “ statuses. But when I read their status, it just made me feel icky --- begging, begging for people they barely know to tell them they’re in the right, that they feel sorry for them, to be patronized and consoled --- even if they weren’t in the right and they weren’t guileless, at the very least.

FB has become a mechanism for perpetrating self-licking behaviour. In some ways, it helps you feel connected. But in a lot of ways, it infringes on the ability of people to tell truth from fiction because of course, self-propaganda reigns supreme.

And I fell for --- all of that. Damn shame.

So detox starts now. No more petty and trivial status messaging. No more useless “hahaha” or “lol” in other messages that aren’t really that funny at all. My SUs, if I do share it to Everybody, would be few but precious. Moderation is the Way. In the meantime, I return to the blog (and just import it to FB). Although it also poses the same risks of oversharing, it will take a couple more brain cells to express myself, a chance for common sense to catch up with thought, and edit if needed. Quite an effort, but I dare say it’s worth the prize of erudition.

My name’s Olivia and I am a Facebook Status Update Addict. It’s been 10 days since my last update. I plan to make it to 21 days to break the habit completely.

May God have mercy on my soul.

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