I’ve developed a theory about how online activity (particularly Facebook, but not just that) impacts your real life. It seems like the more time you spend online, the worse your real life gets, and the worse your real life gets, the more time you spend online. I call it the Virtual Vicious Cycle.
I can’t even ballpark the number of times I’ve thought I might spend some free hours doing something constructive and got sucked into a two hour debate with some stranger about politics, social issues, movies, or whether Game of Thrones is better than The Wire. [It isn’t.]
Or you could get lost in looking at people on a “social networking site” (which only seems to make us less social) that you’ve either 1. never met (like the people that are “CEOs” of some vague entertainment company and add thousands of people for networking…that they never use) or 2. never will meet (like “Facebook Models” which seems to be a nice way of saying “unemployed girls who take a lot of pictures of themselves”) or 3. never will see again (anyone you went to high school or college with…anyone). Two hours spent on this is too much, hell, two minutes spent on this is too much, but the more you do it, the more your reality suffers, and the more you turn to an online life.
I can’t say I haven’t lost afternoons arguing with bums and ringers on the internet movie database over the merits of The Walking Dead or how awesome Bill Maher is, and I can’t say the results of those debates have ever made one bit of a difference in my real life. I guess it’s the internet nerd’s version of sports, where your “team” can lose or win and you’ll probably still have the same job/house/spouse the next day.
You get sucked into it maybe because it’s not important. There’s really nothing at stake, and so it’s an escape from things that do matter. Just as long as you know that hoping “Facebook people” will interact with you in a normal human way (which means speaking to you in complete sentences and, you know, actually saying something instead of acronyms) is exactly the same as being a Mets or Bears fan: very, very frustrating with no real hope of giving you what you really want.