The Year of the Quit: my March away from Facebook

In January I quit coca cola for the month, a resolution that tested my self control to a previously unknown degree.

I’ve since returned to my caffeinated beverage of choice like a fat kid to cake – oh the disgrace – although in fairness I have managed to curb the ratio of coke to blood pulsing through my veins.

For my February experiment I quit alcohol, which left friends suspecting I had become a secret Mormon and, even more annoying, confused my immune system enough to spark a three-week cold. I never get colds!

This month I have axed Facebook.

Less than 24 hours into the challenge, my news editor wanted me to find out what had happened to a man involved in an industrial accident.

“What’s his number?”

“I don’t know, we haven’t got his contact details, you’ll have to find him.”

“Do we know where he’s ended up?”

“No. He’s supposed to be in intensive care though.”

“How do we know that?”

“Some man told one of the typists.”

“Some man?”

With a name but no address, phone number, workplace, hospital, even town, it is very difficult to chase someone down.

The phone book offered no help. The Health and Safety Executive couldn’t help. Councils thought my position was very funny. Certain members of other relevant organisations couldn’t find their arse with both hands. You know who you are.

I needed Facebook.

So there I was, breaking my Quit rules before I’d even got started.

Found the guy within ten minutes.

Make no mistake; Facebook is an amazing tool for journalists. Regardless of the ethics involved, it’s become a first point of call if someone dies and the paper needs a tribute photo, or comments from friends or relatives.

Unfortunately, it’s also the virtual procrastination capital of the world – and a distraction that haunts this generation’s global population.

Even at the top of the Eiffel town, one starry evening, I heard an American teenager telling her friend that Sammy’s Facebook profile picture was ‘totally just a way of getting at me’.

Oh brother, get a life.

So I have, and I haven’t missed Facey B as much as I thought I would.

It’s frustrating to have to converse in email again – there’s no pictures and everything is all texty. I feel like I’m working with vinyl. It’s even more annoying not to see photos from my friend’s party. I was there, and it’d be nice to relive the experience.

My generation work hard to regulate and cultivate a healthy online identity. I’m sure this obsession with watching life replayed on the web is warped 21 century vanity.

We try to maintain our online personas, like a growing web garden of the self that needs constant pruning, tending and watering everyday, lest it become unkempt and overgrown – ugly – unpopular.

Maybe online blogging is just another extension of this drive – mankind’s latest weird quest to prove we are alive.

Next month I’m giving up supermarkets. Please feel free to send food parcels…


2 Responses to “The Year of the Quit: my March away from Facebook”

  1. It’s funny that work can make you transgress your own resolutions with so much ease. Important lesson in that, no doubt. Good luck with the supermarket challenge 😀 That’ll be a hard one!


  2. Funny how dependant we can be on these things, whatever did we used to do before ‘publishing’ every inane action of our daily minutae? I’m with you on reliving a good night with friends’ photos though.

    Anyhow, well done for at least trying to last out a month… If you ever do time in South Carolina, USA, perhaps you’ll do better than the rest of us with our withdrawal symptoms:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: