Monday, November 17, 2008

Status Update

Hi, thank you for being here. What I'm about to do is not easy for me. But the time has come for me to step forward and own my addiction.

I started doing it, sadly, because a friend told me to. "It's totally safe. Don't be so paranoid," she told me.

My husband was already doing it, and he seemed to handle it just fine. "Don't worry. You're in complete control,” were his words.

And so, with nothing but an anonymous photo and my back-up email address, I joined Facebook.

Was I nervous? Yes, I'd heard stories. Stories of online predators waiting for me to post something they could use to find my family and hold us captive as musical servants in the hills of West Virginia. Stories of respected citizens shamed by pictures from college resurfacing online. So I set my profile to private, believing I was safe from the dangers of Facebook.

But, alas, no one had warned me of its addiction and the havoc it can wreak on an otherwise nearly-functional housewife.

It started out so harmless, with requests to be friends with people whom I already considered to be friends. My husband, a brother, a couple of friends from college, even a priest for heaven's sake. We wrote on walls, sent free virtual gifts, played a game or two.

But one friend led to another. I found old pals from college, high school, even grade school. Next thing I knew I was a part of a virtual mafia family (thanks, Danny) and planting acres of cyberplants (thanks, Amy and Drew).

And that's when I got comfortable.

I collected flair. I joined causes. I opened up about books I had read, my activities and interests, favorite books. I unleashed with rapid velocity not witnessed by any therapist my entire past and all my hopes and dreams with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Oh, and I "friended" people. Yes, I just used "friend" as a past-tense verb. I've not only plastered masses of ridiculously boring trivia about myself all over my own profile, but I've spent precious minutes, okay hours – whatever – DAYS reading about people I barely know, at the expense of clean laundry and home-cooked meals.

(Is there ANYONE left on the planet who has yet to read Eat, Pray, Love? Or who came of age in the 80's and DIDN'T find "Say Anything" to be life-changing?)

I'm not sure how the sun used to rise each morning without knowing it would find me at work every day tagging photos, managing my wall, and finding friends (and by "finding friends" I should clarify that I 100% mean stalking old boyfriends).

THIS is why my kids suggested I come to Career Day and speak about my role in the Oprah Winfrey Facebook Fan Club or my newest endeavor, United To Get Broeckelmann Onto Facebook. And don’t even get me started on the many perils of Facebooking under the influence.

I've tried to cut back. But the fact remains that I have FBBFF’s ranging from immediate family to mere acquaintances, people overseas to people I see in the flesh every day. And, thanks to the Status Update, I even know, at any given minute, which of those FBBFF’s …is wishing it was Friday, …is enjoying a beautiful fall day, and …is STILL eating her kids’ Halloween candy. How did I get through my days before without knowing any of this?!?!

(sigh) I'm not saying I’m proud. What I'm trying to say is…

My name is Weekly Jules, and I am a Facebook addict. And if any of you know of a Power higher than that of the Live News Feed, I beg you to tell me. Please. My kids are starting to smell funny.

(dedicated to Tracie and all my FBBFF's)


Morgan the (Almost) Muse said...

oh, man. I almost quit my facebook, I was that [-] close.
But it is kind of handy, in a way. I got back into contact with this guy I went to High School with, and actually got to spend time with him and his wife this past weekend. Which is odd in itself. But it would have never happened without the "People You may know" tool. Great.

la_vie_en_shoes said...

Very brave of you to come out of the closet, Julie D.

Adlibby said...

I feel the same way about blogging world. I think I need a 10 step program.

And now, this week, my neighbor, three houses down, sent me an invite to be her "friend" on facebook. Isn't that a little weird? I may have to blog about her.

But in the meantime, what would you say to a facebook virgin? Should I go there? I think blogging is already my gateway drug... is facebook the equivalent of crystal meth?