Four-letter words. Graphic images of child abuse, animal abuse and domestic violence. Sordid details of a love gone wrong. And just when you think it can't get any uglier, along comes Election 2012.
Sounds like the evening news, right? Reality tv? Nope.
I was the last one in the family to succumb. I had no intention whatsoever of participating in any type of social media. I likened 'MySpace' to a low form of match.com. 'Linked In' seemed too professional (read: boring) - more for lawyers, salespeople and professors. Not for a writer and a happy homemaker like me. And frankly, who on earth would post on a 'status' their private thoughts, or something as mundane (read: stupid) as 'I just had the best tuna sandwich ever.'
Not me. I was above all of that.
But when my family started giving me details on people from our past I thought I'd never see again, pictures of friends new babies, cars, houses and the status of my husband's old high school girlfriend (!) I thought, 'okay, maybe I should give this a try.'
Soon, I too, was catching up with people from all the way back to elementary school, girlfriends from my cheerleading squad and all the friends I'd made in our travels.
Facebook became my best friend when my first novel was released. As a matter of fact I credit it for much of my success as an author. All I have to do is put the word out on where I'll be signing, or when my next work is being released, ask everyone to post and voila! No better way to get the word out to the masses.
My friends list grew by leaps and bounds. My number is at 1,442. Friends and family account for only about 1/4 of my list. Everyone else is either friends of friends, fans of my books/blog, someone I met at book signings or fellow authors just sharing ideas and offering encouragement.
I thought I could hold my Facebook activity at a healthy level. Really, I did. I knew I might have a slight problem when my first morning priority wasn't brushing my teeth, but checking my facebook. Not only was it the last thing I did before falling asleep but it ruled my entire day! You see, it's not just on my computer but also on my iphone. So no matter where I was or what I had to do, I had the capacity to bring everything to a screeching halt and check Facebook. 24/7. Which is exactly what I was doing. When I wasn't checking everyone else status I was updating my own. (I just had the best tuna sandwich ever).
Obsession would be an understatement. Housework went undone. Laundry piled sky high. Supper was whatever I could scrounge around because I'd wasted so much time that I didn't have anything planned. I wouldn't leave the house for days so trips to the grocery store were few and far between.
I would wake up in the middle of the night to continue ongoing 'conversations'. Crazy, huh? Well, it got even worse during the months and weeks leading up to the election. Things got ugly overnight while each of us defended our candidate and did our best to discredit the 'other guy'. Please. Don't give me that look. None of us were immune and all of us know the pain of either being 'unfriended' or the anger of 'unfriending' someone when the conversations got heated.
I had to face the cold, ugly truth about myself when my publicist and I had a 'damage control' meeting a few days after the election.
They say the first step is to admit you have a problem:
"Hello, my name is Kathie Truitt....."
"....and I'm addicted to Facebook."
Deleting my page is just not an option. I need it for business purposes. But I did take it off my iphone. It's been painful. I have nothing to do when I'm stopped at a red light (I never check it while driving), waiting in line at the grocery store, or during commercials. Oh who am I kidding? I didn't even wait for commercials - I lived on facebook 99% of the time. The only exception was during church and okay... yes! I've even been known to 'glance' even then. Not during prayer or service, mind you...only during announcements, so does that really count?
It's been difficult but I'm adjusting. I find I don't need my glasses so much because my eyes aren't squinting trying to read the tiny print of my iphone. I now have time to write on my blog, and work on my next book. The house is clean, laundry's caught up and I'm back to cooking. The best part? I'm back among the living. I'm leaving the house more often, seeing and talking to 'real people'.
And I'm focusing on re-building the friendships almost ruined during the election. I've made a vow to stay away from all political postings in the future and go back to what I do best - posting positive, encouraging and uplifting status', with a little of bit of 'what I'm doing now' thrown in.
After all, 'I just had the best tuna sandwich ever' never hurt anyone.