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Why I’ve boycotted MSN and Facebook…for now

Posted by on January 16, 2009

I have a lot going on right now.  I am trying to work a full time job, promote and run two websites ( and, I start a web design class this Saturday for 10 weeks and I’m also fleshing out a couple of other personal projects I’d eventually like to move forward with.  So obviously, time is money.

I commute to and from work in the mornings, and the only thing the train has been good for lately is a series of half-satisfying naps. Any sort of commuting productivity quickly turns into an open mouth and a small piece of drool on the right side of my lip ala Homer Simpson (yes, I have dream of chocolate land, and it is indeed glorious)

With that being said, prime time for brain storming and forward movement on any project needs to take places between 7-11pm on weekdays, or anytime during the weekend.  Lately though, I’ve found my free time at my keyboard is sucked away from me by two devils of productivity, MSN Messenger and Facebook.

MSN Messenger I’ve boycotted before, even going so far as to uninstall the software in one instance following university.  But sure enough, two days later I was finding cognitive loopholes in my own rules.  I would sign on through and then quickly just gave up and re-installed the program. Weak. Weak. Weak.

Last year around this time, during my final month in Barcelona I decided to give up Facebook until March 1st, and though I completed the challenge, the beginning was extremely difficult, as it is now.  And by difficult I don’t mean I’m shaking and ready to turn to a higher power, I just mean when I get an impulse to check a message I have to shake it off and keep working.   My graduation to today started a little while ago.

MSN was the first to go, a couple weeks ago.  It took me a week to get the boycott to stick, as I tried to quit twice and caved both times, and was rightfully ridiculed for my obvious weakness by a close friend of mine.  But it was his ridicule that inspired me to stick with it and so far so good.  I’ll make it to March 1st and beyond without a problem. 1 down, 1 to go.

When Messenger was gone, I looked at what else was sucking precious time out of my life.  Well, apparently a couple women I had been chatting with started subscribing to issues of Crazy Bitch Weekly so those connections were immediately severed and then I realized what was really holding me back, Facebook.

Now I will be the first to admit, I was lightly addicted to Facebook.  Always a message from someone to respond to, always a new photo to check out, and always a funny status update to give me a laugh.  There’s always SOMETHING to check out on Facebook, and that’s the problem.

Even if I go on Facebook to take a break from real work, thirty seconds turns into five minutes, and then five minutes the next time turns into thirty minutes, and before you know it…. its time for me to get back on the train and commute to work.  So as of two days ago, Facebook is gone until next weekend at the earliest, and then after that one time per week.  Even now I am thinking if just posting this blog post to my profile through the SHARE THIS button counts as signing on.  Hmmmm…. the jury is out on that one.

With this being my first full day without either msn messenger AND Facebook it feels amazing.  Its completely laughable how much extra time I appear to have.  I get more done, I can focus better on immediate tasks and most importantly, I’ve reconnected with the part of me that could give a shit about what other people I don’t give a shit about are doing.

Web 2.0 has made a lot of positive changes in society, and given all of us a certain feeling of connectivity and transparency that seemed to be lacking before. However, within that same breath I think it may have given us too much connectivity and choice, and successfully taken away yet another bit of precious time us humans devote to intelligent discussion and cognitive output.

The rise of the blogger and each of us being given more of a social voice, I think, has been the most positive change with web 2.0.  Its given the voice back to the people, and a rise of social conscious has certainly been blogging’s largest gift to all of us. Whereas if you take social networking, it seems to have captivated us in such ridiculous ways that somehow even television has managed to miss.   When you look at Facebook,  MySpace, or Twitter, etc. at its basic level its just a big online high school cafeteria, a local coffee shop, or a downtown hair salon.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I do, on the other side of the spectrum think Facebook has many positive and productive benefits as well, but are those positives enough to make up for its draw backs.

You tell me?

What do you think of Facebook and Social Media?  Would love to hear your comments and thoughts on this.

Below is a great video about social media, how society basically used to drink itself out of a recession, and how the human race is wasting its collective brain power on sit-coms and online websites.  Its a fun presentation, I highly recommend taking a look.

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