Lindsey Macdonald | Ethnography

Disconnected: My Two Weeks without Facebook

September 26: Already…Having…Withdrawal…

It’s my first day without Facebook, and let me tell you …it has been strange.

I was at my boyfriend’s for awhile earlier, so there were no problems there. But then when I got back to my place and actually got on to the computer, I didn’t know what to do with myself! Luckily it’s Sunday, so I had PostSecret to entertain me for like 5 minutes, and I look at PeopleofWalmart everyday, so I had my daily fix of trashy weird people, but after that I just found myself staring at the screen wondering what to do next.

My boyfriend is SUPPOSED to be switching places with me and doing the whole Facebook fanatic thing because he hardly ever gets on and never comments on people’s stuff or posts statuses or anything like that, but we’ll see if that actually happens. He’s very stubborn, and I’ll probably have to bug him about it like every day.

I think my goal for all of this is to see if I’ll actually be less “distracted” without Facebook or if I’ll just find some other crazy websites that will make me even more distracted than I already was. We shall see.

In other news, my roommate might get a kitten sometime this semester! I thought you’d appreciate that Dr. Collier :]

September 27: Thinking in Facebook statuses…

The title of this post says it all. This morning while I was taking a shower, I was thinking about the shift in weather and I thought to myself, I can update my status and say “Lindsey Macdonald is super happy that it’s not going to be extremely hot anymore!” but then I realized …no I can’t!! I did the same thing in the car when I thought about updating my status with some lyrics to a song that I heard on the radio. It’s torturing me!!

I’ve talked to a few people about what I’m doing with this project, and pretty much all of them have said something along the lines of “Omg, I would never be able to do that!” I probably would have been saying the same thing if I wasn’t in this class. I’ve known people who’ve given up Facebook for Lent (40 days and 40 nights …ah!), and I thought they were completely crazy. I think that Facebook has become so much apart of everyone’s lives that they don’t remember life without it. We crave to be connected because everyone else is connected, and we don’t want to feel left out and vulnerable. The same thing happens (at least to me) when we don’t have our cell phones. We just feel like something’s missing and like we’re going to miss something important.

So what have I been doing with the time I would normally devote to stalking people’s pictures and status updates? Well yesterday I found a site with all the episodes of The Wonder Years! I’ve only watched the pilot so far, but I definitely plan on watching the rest in my spare time. I also read a few humorous articles about the weird hobbies that crazy dictators had on Cracked.com. I’d like to say that I was productive and got a whole lot of work done, but that would be a lie. I did already get all my reading done for one of my classes on Wednesday, but I probably would have done that anyway because it’s children’s literature and children’s literature is the best. All in all, I’ve still been sitting at my computer screen confused as to what I’m supposed to do with the Internet without my beloved Facebook.

Finally, some bad news …it looks as though there will no longer be a kitty coming to live with me =[ My roommate checked the pet fee for our apartment complex, and it’s pretty much ridiculously expensive. Oooooh well. I can hope for the future.

September 29: Almost slipped up!

So today I was in the Writing Center helping a friend by attempting to look something up on the Internet. After I finished, without a thought, I started typing Facebook into the browser (and of course it automatically came up) and I ended up clicking on it, but I luckily realized what I was doing and was able to exit out before I saw anything. Whew! It’s like I have muscle memory to automatically type “Facebook.”

My boyfriend is actually looking at Facebook right now, but he is stubborn and still hasn’t held up his end of the deal for this project even though he knows how important my school things are to me. Ugh. But I digress…

While browsing around the Internet in my spare time, I discovered some other people who decided to give up Facebook for awhile and blog about it. One person, who refers to himself as nickflight, decided to go a month without Facebook. Although he said that he didn’t really miss it that much during that time, he did admit to to like having that connection with people. I’m actually pretty jealous of him because he said that he was able to be more productive and get more work done, and so far, that has not happened with me. I’m starting to think that maybe Facebook isn’t to blame for my tendencies toward distraction.

My mom told me about a school that is supposedly challenging its students to go without Facebook for a certain period of time, but I’m having a hard time finding any information about it. When/if I do, I’ll provide a link ASAP!

October 3: It’s officially been a week …

I can’t believe it. I would have never imagined that I could go this long without my social network addiction. I know a week doesn’t seem like very long, but when you do something for hours on end every single day, it seems unnatural to even go a day without it.

I found out that one of my friends is also going without Facebook for awhile, and not just for experiment’s sake. She thinks that going without Facebook for a week will allow her to be more productive and get her schoolwork done. Speaking from my own experience of not being on Facebook from a week, I don’t think this will be the case. Apart of me feels like I’m even more distracted because I spend more time trying to find other things to distract me than I would just going on to Facebook to look around for a little bit.

For example, thanks to Olivia and Lenise, I discovered StumbleUpon, a website that asks you for your interests and then randomly generates content that you may find interesting. Both Olivia and Lenise told me that it’s very addictive and that I would spend a lot of my time on it, but what happened was it led me to another website that I now check everyday. And what website would that be called….?

…You guessed it! Daily Puppy! That’s right, a new cute puppy to look at every day and tons and tons of puppy pictures to browse through.

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Meet Quincy the Goldendoodle. The puppy of the day for October 3rd! Very cute.

I think what I like most about this website (besides the adorableness of course) is the little description underneath all the main page puppy pictures. A majority of the owners write the descriptions from the dog’s point of view. For some reason I find this really hilarious, and I just imagine dogs talking and how they would sound. Both my boyfriend and I are guilty of giving his dogs “voices,” which are always quite ridiculous.

Also, thanks to my roommate Andrea, I found Hyperbole and a Half, which is basically this girl telling these stories with great exaggeration and cool little pictures she drew using PaintBrush. They’re pretty lengthy stories (for the Internet at least), so I’ve only read a couple of them, since you know, according to David Nye and Nicholas Carr, I have the attention span of a fly, so I can’t focus long enough to read anything past the first paragraph. This blog is pretty crazy though, so I plan on reading regularly now.

So in sum, what I’ve accomplished for a whole week without Facebook: absolutely nothing.

P.S. – I never found what my mom was talking about with the school giving up Facebook. Maybe she was hearing things.

October 6: You never know what you have ‘til it’s gone

Ok, so the title of this post isn’t exactly what I’m trying to say, but it was the closest cliché quote I could think of. Let me explain more.

So you know how when you become more aware that something exists you start seeing it everywhere? For example, in high school I dated this guy who drove this ridiculous green van that he called the Green Machine, and after I started dating him I started seeing this kind of van all the time, or at least I was noticing it more. The same kind of thing has happened to me since I’ve given up Facebook. Since I’ve given it up, I’m so much more aware when others are using it. Whenever I see someone in class or anywhere else in public on Facebook, it catches my attention immediately. I guess it’s almost the reverse of the van thing. Since I don’t have Facebook, I’m more aware of its presence because it’s not an everyday activity for me anymore.

I mentioned this to Lenise, and she said the same thing had been happening to her. When you use something a lot, you take it for granted and don’t realize the significance it is in not only your life but in everyone else’s.

That’s all I’ve got to say about that
-Forrest Gump

October 10: IT’S OVER!!

So it’s Sunday evening, and I just got back into town from fall break. I also just logged onto Facebook! The two weeks is over!!

I can’t believe I actually made it this long without cheating. Before this whole thing started, I told my boyfriend’s roommate about it and he said, “Nah, that’s not gonna happen. You’re gonna be like a heroin user who finds a place to use where no one else will know about it.” I think I proved him wrong! But he did have a point. Facebook is kind of like a drug. When you don’t use it, you just feel wrong, like something’s missing. You go through withdrawals!

Before I got off I posted a status that said, “Lindsey Macdonald will not be on Facebook for awhile …goodbye!” I didn’t get many responses (I didn’t really expect to), but they all involved a dislike or a sad face, one of those being from my roommate who I see every single day. This just goes to show how important Facebook is to socializing in our generation.

Both of my roommates also decided to write on my wall while I was “gone,” even though they could have just told me these things in person. Also, when I posted the status, “Yaaay I’m back!” the people who talk to me the most in real life liked it. I think we’ve all just become so used to communicating this way that even though we don’t need to, we do it anyways. It’s just engraved in our brains.

So what have I learned from this experience? Well, I learned that I can NOT blame Facebook for being distracted. I found myself searching for other sites that could take Facebook’s place. I guess the only person to blame is myself. This may be different for everyone, but from my experience I’ve come to find that if you don’t want to do something you aren’t going to do it and you’ll go out of your way to find something to distract you from it. This is what I was doing.

So let me conclude by saying sorry Facebook. I will never again blame my procrastination on your social networking. I also don’t plan on giving you up again anytime soon. It’s good to have you back.