I was into Facebook wayyy before I had a Friendster account, which I recently deleted, and even before all other people did. I was into Facebook back when the interface (is that the proper term for the 'look' of a webpage? hah, I don't know.) was fugly; the font small; and the features minimal. I remember having only two friends: Teppie Abella, who introduced me to it, and Amaris Javillonar. We just wrote funny stuff on each other's Walls (which was wayyy worse than what it looks like now) and poke each other, and then log out. There's nothing much really.
I got hooked when people started getting into Facebook and suddenly, before I knew it, almost everyone is on Facebook, and I had 600+ friends. It's like a big international civil registry. The only difference is, not all the information (and even the people) are true/real. You just have to pick which ones to believe, and which ones to take as lies/fake, which friends to "add as friend" (and give access to almost everything about you) and which ones to "add later" (I remember this option used to say, quite outrightly I believe, "Ignore."). Also, there were a lot of stuff to do, other than looking at people's profiles and photos (without leaving a virtual mark that you have viewed such), like make notes, tag people in photos, play games and post links (which became my past time haha).
I could spend all day logged in on Facebook. Yeah, I was that addicted. If I nothing substantial to do, like check and reply to notifications, I would think of some random friend I had and just go to his profile and check/view where he/she has been or what he/she been up to lately. In other words, stalking.
The idea to deactivate my Facebook account--because I was not (wo)man enough to quit the thing altogether--came at a time when I'm in (currently at that, hehe) a very stressful situation called: Finals Week. Finals week, the week where almost all your profs in all your subjects give out final exams to end the semester, a measure to what you've learned and retained from all the discussions, readings etc. In undergrad, finals week wasn't a stressful or dreadful experience for I always aimed for exemption from final exams, or some profs opted not to give final exams. But apparently, in law school, the words "finals week" mean business. Everyone gives out final exams, and no one gives out exemptions. Yeah, as if someone can be exempted by their sheer semester-long brilliance. Anyway, I realized that the time I wasted on Facebook would be better spent studying a.k.a. trying to pass. So I went to the computer, logged in, and deactivated--but not after replying/checking the notifications, as if it would matter later, haha.
But I have to admit, this deactivation is temporary. I plan to reactivate my account as soon my finals week is over. Or maybe, I'd extend the deactivation longer. Who knows?
The Morning After, literally
I still think about Facebook. This blog as a proof and manifestation of that thought. As a way to put myself away from the temptation of reactivating my account, I decided to not go online at all. But this morning, I had to check my email for some writing "assignment" to do for a job application process. When I saw that the "assignment" hadn't been sent yet, I thought of reactivating my Facebook account to pass time. This is called the Withdrawal phase, I believe.
This is what I did: take a deep breath, count to ten, and walk away from the computer. Don't ever get online while having these "fits" because temptation would be strongest. Imagine, you'll be a click away from reactivating your addicting lifestyle. Remind yourself the reasons why you deactivated (or for the "braver" ones out there, quitted). It's all in the mind. But if you do need to go online, think of doing other things... like blogging, which I admit, had been relegated to the backseat with Facebook in the front seat of the car I call, my Internet life.
I know, and expect, many more What-If-Reactivate Moments will come within the week (around Oct12 to Oct 19 or maybe longer) I decide to deactivate it. I'd like to think I'm prepared or well-distracted to not notice the difference. But when the strongest impulse to reactivate comes, I just have to remind myself which "thing" I value most: real life experiences/acquaintances (or even failures, if I flunk my exams) or virtual connection.
PS: To deactivate your Facebook account, do this:
Log in to Facebook, hover your mouse pointer over the "Settings" tab, click "Account Settings" from the drop-down menu, tick off the reason/s why you're leaving, and then provide your password. Confirm and voila! you're off Facebook as easy (and as quickly, too) as you made your account. Good luck.
I'll write about how to delete one's Facebook account when I have convinced myself to do so.