Facebook is an insidious little addiction – less smelly than booze, and there are no tell-tale signs like glassy eyes or erratic behavior.
Indeed, using Facebook looks a lot like work — what with all that focus on the screen and type-type-typing.
But it is addictive. It’s a Truman Show kind of world where everyone looks great and seems to be having fun, people you hardly know want to chat with you, and you can pretty easily find with that sweetie you had a crush on in kindergarten which is a lot more fun than prepping for a real meeting.
Alas the use of Facebook has entered the realm of therapists, who say they’re starting to see a lot more people who are not just checking in but becoming addicted to the alternate universe it provides. Meanwhile, in a survey conducted way back in 2007, IT security and control firm Sophos found that one in seven employees admitted bringing their Facebook addiction to work, virtually loafing for the better part of the day.
“The results show that more than one fifth of these Facebook users are actually Facebook abusers. They’re seriously struggling to tear themselves away from the website when they should be concentrating on their jobs – disturbing news for all organizations that are still allowing employees uncontrolled access,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “The problem is that a 20 percent addiction rate equates to an awful lot of loafing.”
Your Facebook use might be bad for business, certainly bad for your career and bad for your real life.
You have a problem if you can answer Yes to any of these markers:
1. You’ve been late for meetings or appointments because you “just had to check” what’s up on FB.
2. You’re losing sleep – chatting and “connecting” well into the night such that you’re dead the next day.
3. You’re ignoring work and putting off assignments to check it out.
4. You spend more than an hour on FB a day. Yes, one hour.
5. You have a compulsion to check on past loves.
And, the big one — you prefer your Facebook “friends” to real friends in the real world who communicate by talking rather than typing.
If you’re an addict, the first job is to admit your addiction to yourself. Cutting off FB cold turkey is pretty hard, but try to restrict yourself to a limited time on the site per day.
Rob Bedi, a registered psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Victoria, says addiction is becoming increasingly common, and suggests trying the following: List your Facebook goals. Why did you originally sign up? Record what you actually do on Facebook. Make a Facebook schedule. Limit time to maintaining your original goals.
And if you’re really stuck, there are more than 150 Facebook Addicts Anonymous groups on Facebook itself – but joining might be counter productive.