by Sarah Ray
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to post it on Facebook… did it ever really fall in the first place? I pondered this thought while on my knees in the alley behind a local internet caf’ earning a few free minutes of wi-fi so I could update my status. Then, I couldn’t help but wonder, “How did I get to this point?” Just for fun I tried Facebook at a party, and yeah — I dabbled with it throughout college, but everyone did. As innocently as my habit may have started, there I was with a lot more than reality staring me in the face when it hit me: I had crossed the line from social… to hardcore networker.
I used to log in once, maybe twice a week. After a while, no matter how many times I logged in it still wasn’t enough. It got so bad that I even bought a Blackberry so I could login at work from the bathrooms.
I couldn’t figure out what it was about Facebook that I was so addicted to. Was it “friending” the once-popular kids from my high school days so I could play the game Who Got Fat? Was it the 113 half-sincere wall posts I could look forward to on my birthday each year? Maybe it the way my stomach always lurched when I stumbled upon information that I was better off not knowing.
It finally occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t that I was addicted to looking in on the lives of my 657 closest friends; maybe I was addicted to them looking in on mine. Or more accurately my Facebook-filtered life, which was edited and cropped in such a way that my status should have been a constant disclaimer reading: “Warning: Content viewed on this profile is much less fabulous in reality than it may appear”.
Whatever the reason, I knew I had a problem. I tried to quit a few times on my own, but it was hard to stay clean when all of my friends were still doing it recreationally. It was while in line at the grocery store (admittedly buying batteries for the camera that I planned on holding at arm’s length to snap a new profile picture of myself) that I found my inspiration to get healthy. As I stared at the tabloid rack, it all became so clear. Facebook had become the tabloid that I sold every detail of my life to in hopes of getting my fix… of attention. Inspired by all of the other addicts so innocently staring back at me; I checked myself into a luxury rehab facility.
Three months and five real-life friends later, I had my answer. The tree indeed falls, because regardless of what I thought would happen… deleting my Facebook account did not stop the world from spinning.