Confessions of a Social Media Site Addict

Hi! I'm Lazy Blogger and I'm a SMS addict...

I can't even remember when exactly I started with social networking sites. As far as I can recall, it all started with Friendster. It was really trending that time and everything trendy will most likely be addicting, especially to the new age. Well, I happen to be in the new age at that time. And when your peers start to tell you stories, you just don't wanna be left behind. So I joined the trend and signed up to my first social networking site, Friendster.

With the lack of interesting factors provided by Friendster, I kind of lost the touch with it. I seldom use it for personal and entertainment purposes until my girlfriend introduced me to a new social site that was called Facebook. At that time, Facebook was just starting steady. I didn't really find interest in it at first since my girlfriend just asked me to create a profile so we could play one of its game applications. But for maintaining friends and other relative connections, I still stayed with Friendster.

And then my eyes got opened to a new trend that was brought to me by my "barkada". They influenced me with another social tool that ought to be a micro-blogging site. It was called Plurk. I'd say, I got addicted to this more than I was with Friendster and Facebook. Since it was a micro-blogging site, which is more like Twitter in a sense, I was able to update my status almost every hour and every minute I have. I started to post all my activities as my status even if it's not really that necessary anymore. Things like going to the bathroom, taking a shower, taking a dump, eating dinner, and all the tiny details that nobody really needs to know, I post it on Plurk.

Since I got a little bit more intimate with Plurk, I started to abandon my Friendster profile. I didn't cancel or delete my account, though. But I could not abandon Facebook in the same way because my girlfriend would get mad at me. Getting tired of checking both accounts, I figured out a way to connect the two social sites. Everything that I post on Plurk automatically updates my Facebook status. "That will let me hit two birds with one stone", I said. Getting so fired up with Plurk statuses, I didn't realize I've already flooded Facebook with nonsense posts. Even if you check my Facebook timeline now, you'll get disappointed with how I started it.

After some time, Facebook was getting more and more interesting and I lost my appetite with Plurk. With Facebook we had more options to share thoughts through text, photos, and videos. Most of my friends have also left Plurk one by one. That's when I decided to shut it down as well and just stick to Facebook where my girlfriend was undyingly active.

According to my timeline, I joined Facebook last October of 2008 when on the same date I set my relationship status with my girlfriend. In a Relationship! She'd get mad if I didn't do so. From then on, my Facebook journey began. I started to add all of my known friends and some of my known friends started to add me as well. The most interesting part is that we get to add friends whom we totally do not even know; friends that are added due to a bonus we could get on game applications that we play.

I could not deny the fact that my life dwelled on Facebook by just updating status, playing games, and checking the status of my online friends. That weird feeling when you realize that you sit in front of the computer to wait for status updates of people who are not even online anymore. I eat my meal in front of the computer. I even sleep in front of my computer. I have a girlfriend but because we were both so addicted to Facebook, even when we were together, that's just what we do! I barely see my friends in the flesh. We would only see each other in class and the famous topics would be, just like when "texting" became a trend, "Have you seen this post?"

Going back to those days and seeing myself then before I am now, I get so annoyed! I barely lived a life, a real life! I speak to friends on post status, comments, messages, and chat. I only see their faces on their profile pictures and the pictures they post update. I can only see them moving and hear their voices with videos tagged to their names. It was completely a horrible experience. In my school days, that was labelled as being a "Dead Kid" (patay na bata), no life at all...

No physical games to play with aside from our fingers and eyes coordinating with each other so not to fail a certain video game that doesn't even live up to the major console and RPG games brought to us by Family Computer to PlayStation series. There were no concrete communications, often, only misunderstood chat and private messages that leads to damaged friendships.

I connect to the internet almost the whole day. It wasn't really productive at all. I even experienced being online for more than 18 hours straight, 6 hours were for sleeping. When I was a student, my routine was waking up, going to school, going back home, logging online, sleeping, repeat every day. When I got hold of a job, my routine was the same. Just change "going to school" with "going to work"; and that's when I finally realized that my life was leading nowhere at all.

I began to question myself of what I was doing. When I broke up with my girlfriend, I started seeing things more clearly. I had nothing left but my desktop and an internet connection. When I have no internet connection, I was more like sleeping in a coffin. I began to feel how much I miss my youth. I started missing my friends, my family, everyone. What was I doing in the past 10 years of my life? I could not believe that I wasted 10 precious years of my life. That's 120 months. 3600 days. 86400 hours. 518400 minutes.  Or 311040000 precious seconds, converted! I can't bear to imagine what I could have done in those every second to replace those wasted moments of my life. What's done is done and cannot be undone. I've thrown my life into some petty activity that didn't really give me anything in return except for gaining 749 friends where I believe 85% of those I don't personally know and that 10% of which are pure acquaintances.
*and note that 749 contacts is already less the friends I added because of game bonuses...

I have 2 great parents, 2 cool brothers, 4 of my bestest friends, and a huge family of relatives and real friends who are real people I can interact with. Why did I trade them to 749 online connections? This is why I posted a blog article on why I started to stay away from Facebook as much as possible. I don't really intend to completely detach myself from it. But being the person who got addicted to it like drugs will not be any better. So I've decided to lie low on using my social network accounts.

I don't just have Facebook. I have a lot. I have Twitter, Multiply and MySpace. I even have Hi5, Google +, Yahoo 360, Netflix, Flickr, Picasa, Tumblr, Molome, and a dozen more I don't intend to enumerate, anymore. I've deactivated them one by one in the past but it didn't stop me from using my main account which was Facebook. It really is hard to get away from them.

These social tools, there's no doubt, they really are powerful. However, when you use them in the wrong sense, you'll get yourself dig up a hole you'll regret you ever did. Their primary purpose is to connect people. And it's all thanks to the internet, all the people in the world can reach each other with just one touch of their fingertips. But abusive use of these tools which would probably be out of your own context of life will dilute your connection with your real self and with the real world.

It was a big mistake to have dwelled on it for such a very long time. 10 years is not a joke! I could have been more productive. Look at me now! I have a flappy belly and I can't tuck it in. Had I used all the time to spend on sports, hobbies, friends, families and all of my dreams, I probably wouldn't feel so down right now. I am not a failure, but in my own perspective of how I should have lived the life that I wanted, I think I am.

Right now, I will not deny it. I still have my Facebook account active. I've always wanted to delete the friends who have added me but don't really know me as much as I don't know them. But to keep them on my friends' list would keep on reminding me how I SHOULD NOT waste 10 more years of my life being flashy online just to attract friends I barely know nor see. I am currently just using Facebook to check my closest "friends" every once in a while since I can't be with them for most of the time. I also look up to it for some current events like how they did in the recent flooding. It's also a source of personal news feed since I don't have TV in my apartment. I barely post a status update. If ever I will, I make sure that it makes sense or just to occasionally entertain the friends I miss being with who are far out of reach.

Before, I manage to post 7-10 updates every day, and sometimes more. Now I'm trying to keep it down to two posts a week. I spend more time with family and friends more personally than before. And I'm planning to bring back my hobbies and sports into play.

I think I've made the right decision. Getting out of this fake social life should have been done a long, long time ago. But it's never too late. It's just sad that I've already spent my 10 years and I could not claim it back anymore. I do not discourage the use of social media sites. I just want to reach out to those who are being blinded on the proper use of it.

Manage your time wisely. In a cliché world, Time is Gold. But that saying will never fade as it tells a long story. As long as the one I did now. Do not dwell on the internet. It's meant for good and not to let you down in the end. In the end it will all come down to you, on how you approached life. You have a choice, I had it, too. But the choice I made wasn't the right one for me. Make the right decisions and do the right thing!

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