> Social networking addiction turns your world into tabloid news.

Before I could even begin to start this article I had to have checked Facebook countless times.

I had to attend to some pretty sinister photos from last night; I began de-tagging almost automatically like the vain bastard I have become.  I checked back within minutes later to reply to comments and maintain social relevance. It’s likely that Facebook notifications are my new crack-cocaine and it is vaguely sociable so no one can have a go at me for spending hours locked away in my room, staying up late at night, getting my fix.

Everyone else hugs their computer when they get home from lectures right?

Procrastination often takes the form of a binge, before managing to get five words of this article down I had purged out some pretentious drivel on twitter about suffering from long term writer’s block and what a tragic and tortured artist I must be. It’s not necessary to do all these things, but along with my insatiable need to be sarcastic and so many outlets to ‘express’ myself it’s not surprising that I whine and complain online behind the safety of a screen, before I do something reckless like go and talk to some of my actual friends face-to-face.

Perhaps we just have more time, the evolution of the Internet and its incorporation into our daily lives has sped up so much of what once used to take ages. We now have more time to spend procrastinating watching pointless (sometimes hilarious) videos on YouTube. The idea of genuinely researching books in the library is pretty dire, it requires leaving the house. I would much rather just search the jist of my latest essay title on Wikipedia and put all my faith in the chain-wanking, KFC-bucket-eating psychos who actually write the Wikipedia articles. (please, please, never let that be me)

I cannot advocate any relationship advice whatsoever except never, ever, agree to enter a Facebook relationship. Why should Mark Zuckerburg give his seal of approval on your romantic life with a little pixilated heart spamming my news feed. It acts more like a digital egg timer, as there is always the inevitable broken heart that accompanies the end of your relationship. I imagine this does little to comfort any genuine feelings of upset and love-loss.

It seems that social network sites creep more into our love life than any other. Older generations had it pretty easy when it came to breaking up with someone. All they had to do was endure the awkward conversation, explain the reasons, drop in generic excuses and then literally never see that person again, they are now free to go on with their separate life. This would be hard in 2010. Everyone lives their lives out so publicly, and even if you haven’t seen a friend in ten years, it takes a click of a button and five minutes to fully reacquaint yourself with them. So to avoid seeing your ex-partner is really pretty impossible. Surely you know their friends, and every night out by everyone ever is documented with incriminating photos resembling out of focus blackberry snaps shot like a paparazzi. Of course the easy way to avoid this would be to delete them, and their friends. Completely isolate yourself. Doesn’t that in itself though, seem sort of…petty? Therein lies the hypocrisy of Facebook, everybody hates it to an extent. Everyone I know is being stalked or stalking, raping or being raped, the important ‘Facebook’ prefix to these previously scary words just shows how this online pseudo-communication has become the new social etiquette.

I think the reason we’re so addicted to social networking is because by reducing everybody we know to uniform profiles and pages it acts as a great social equalizer. It’s not like the old days of Myspace where scene kids could spend hours (I’m sure I spent more than hours) customizing and individualizing their homepages to fit their personality that week. Perhaps the success of Facebook over such other sites is because it puts everybody on the same level. No room for too much unique personalization.

When you log in to read your newsfeed it turns your world into tabloid. Everyone’s business and gossip is available for scrutiny, and it’s a bit like reading about celebrities except infinitely more interesting because it’s real life and you actually know these people.

How many times do people start telling you a story before you have to interrupt saying that you already know? Conversation is a dying art.

Have you ever tried to delete your Facebook? You can’t. They know you’ll come crawling back so they allow you to ‘de-activate’ it. Whatever that means. To quote The Social Network ‘the internet isn’t written in pencil, it’s written in ink’. Something to think about.

Max Grobe