If you’re just starting out as a writer, you could do worse than strip your television’s electric plug-wire, wrap a spike around it, and then stick it back into the wall. See what blows, and how far.
I don’t have a TV, so I should be all set to start writing my Grandad’s memoir. I should be able to sit down evening after evening and churn out thousands of words uninterrupted because the menace to concentration that is the TV does not exist in my environment.
Mr. King is not of my generation. He did not have to put pen to paper and create childhood altering characters like, “It” with the internet nagging him to take part in its shenanigans every two minutes. Otherwise his quote would be about Facebook, not something as innocuous as a television.
These days we’re used to witnessing people suddenly and openly declaring that they are leaving Facebook and I’m sure many people who do leave, like me, are seeking a respite from the background noise, hoping that it will provide the ultimate no-excuse environment in which they can fixate their interests on something supposedly worthwhile, something that contributes to the deepening of those crevices on the brain. That is by far my main motive.
Hang on a sec, before we go any further let me correct one thing – it’s facebook, not Facebook. It’s not a deity.
Now that we have that sorted, I’ll show you what my dependency looks like:
- I get to the bus stop three minutes early, what do I do? Pull out the iPhone.
- Someone is late meeting me (this is, admittedly, perhaps going beyond the realms of believable fiction as I have the terrible habit of running late – something I am consciously working on improving), what do I do? Pull out the iPhone.
- I am intently reading a book but something in the back of my mind is telling me it’s facebook checking time…and out comes the bloody stupid iPhone.
I’m approaching an age at which self-reflection seems to have become as routine as tooth-brushing. Every day I face a new dilemma about who I am, what I should do, where I should go, what I can do to make myself a better person bla bla bla… One positive outcome of having entered this phase of my life is that I have established something central to determining my behaviour in general – I have an addictive personality. My relationship with sugar was my first encounter with this truth and now facebook and the internet in general are surfacing as joint-second place on my list of biggest vices. Eliminating the influence of the internet from my life would mean my blog would go down the toilet, so that’s not something I’m about to force myself to do, but facebook can take the cut. My personal profile, that is.
I’ve managed to stay in touch with the friends that really matter to me despite moving to various countries throughout my life – Zuckerberg’s (kidnapped) brain child didn’t appear on the scene until I was seventeen. So if I hadn’t been hankering after it before it existed, I shouldn’t miss it if I stop using it, in theory. I’ve just this moment realised that for a staggering eight years, I have been able to scroll through facebook and gorge on the occasionally uplifting, seldom awe-inducing and frequently trivial things my friends (and acquaintances I have added out of politeness) are sharing with their social media sphere. That’s almost a third of my lifetime thus far. Jesus.
Other than it demanding our attention all the bloody time, it also gives way to people being lazy in face-to-face encounters. Facebook ends up providing conversation material, like who of your mutual friends got married, has tattooed their three year old’s ears, eaten an icecream in their bath tub recently, etc. Just because it’s gossip about a friend that you came across on the internet, and not about a celebrity, it doesn’t make it any less pointless or vapid for it to be the sole source of chin-wag material over a coffee with a friend. It’s also sad to think that facebook takes the mystery out of reunions and the like – I am immensely looking forward to seeing some of my friends from High School in May, and if it hadn’t been for facebook I would be in the dark about one of my friends’ marriage and the subsequent arrival of her adorable baby girl. Although it’s thanks to facebook I’m able to initiate a gathering, there is a bitter sweet feeling surrounding the idea that it could have all been a wonderfully pleasant surprise.
Enough is enough. I’m leaving. I don’t have this quality that everyone else had bestowed upon them at birth, I was created unequal – where my willpower should lay there is a void. I have no choice but to be an all or nothing person and facebook falls deservingly into the “nothing” pile.