I'm in the middle of a self-imposed exile from Facebook and other distractions in order to edit the latest version of a screenplay I started a while back.
This means I have only been on Facebook twice today. OK, thrice.
In terms of my film, we have a producer and a director in Manitoba, where I am from and where the story is set. We have no money but it is an ambitious comedy-drama about "lurve and hate" with major budgetary considerations but lots of creativity. I hate the former and love the latter.
My role is to create a memorable, shit-hot (inexpensive to film) story incorporating what ought to be our national animals: understated irony and sliding on ice. I've rewritten it a few times, in order to make it more financially filmable, more likely to succeed.
I haven't yet suggested we set it in Chicago and go after American money, like Winnipegger Nia Vardalos did with My Big Fat Greek Wedding — and my small but perfectly formed team are committed to keeping it in the windy city of the north. They are patient, as am I; we want this to be good.
We're ambitious but skint, which in itself has been the story in many a decent screenplay.
Anyway, I wrote a HUGE declaration status on my FB page 10 days ago about taking a month's break from that never-ending thread generator in order to get the work done.
I even used a feisty emoticon that said, "Feeling determined."
The status generated 27 likes and a few good wishes for the big project, even one "do you really hafta go?" comment which kind of blew my mind.
But I was determined. The emoticon said so.
So it is with considerable self-annoyance to confirm that I lasted almost a full day before checking. They don't call it Crackbook for nothing.
Its newsfeed set-up has long been my main source of mainstream and alternative media — I follow well over 100 media outlets from around the world. It has also put me back in touch with quite a few people I haven't seen for years after living on two continents, and I could never give it up willingly because most are dear to me and I want to know how they are.
But it is definitely time to consider my addiction.
I go to Google, probably the only online thing I use more than Facebook, and type in f-a-c-e-b-o-o-k (space) a-d-d-i-c-t-i-o-n.
Here's what I get:
"Addicted to Facebook? Study shows users are lonelier" (Thanks, Fox News. Working on a tragi-comic screenplay about disintegrating relationships ought to make me much more sociable).
"Twitter and Facebook 'addicts' suffer withdrawal symptoms" (Thanks, Daily Telegraph, for the quote marks around "addicts").
"How to beat a Facebook addiction"
Turns out there's a wiki for that — wikihow.com/Defeat-a-Facebook-Addiction.
According to them, there are seven steps to take to defeat one's Facebook dependency.
Recognize the signs of Facebook addiction. I have three out of the eight listed: Checking Facebook too early and too often (that's two), having difficulty in going more than a day without it (as witnessed by my recent failures).
Start questioning what you are doing on Facebook. Q: What are you getting out of it? A: In my case, a lowered attention span for sure. And far more information than even I, an information junkie (another addiction of mine), could ever digest.
Decide what is of value on Facebook. Q: Boundaries matter, are you enjoying being there? Which parts of it improve your personal and professional life? A: How long have you got?
Try giving up Facebook for a particular event to see how you fare Umm. Fail, so far. It suggests taking time off Facebook for Christmas. Right, and upset the whole family.
Target solutions to enable smarter, brighter usage of Facebook in the future Smarter? Brighter? It says "Avoid fiddling with the periphery," which sounds like a lot of illicit fun. And quit it with the frequent status updates and drop those really stupid applications. You know which ones they are. Mooo! Baaa!
It doesn't say anything about not adding photos of your lunch. I'm adding that as a personal request.
Be careful of the race to add so many friends. Agreed, though I must say I need another 22 to reach 500. That would be one hell of a party, though there'd definitely be more than one fight.
Avoid being a Facebook automaton. Yeah, but there are cats and laughing babies and arguments with creationists and so much infuriating and comically stupid crap about Canadian senators and Torontonian mayors and moping, elusive prime ministers!
But seriously, all this is good advice. If you feel like I do, go to the link I've added above and read more about it.
By the way, to make it even easier you can "like" Wikihow on Facebook.
Wikihow is now "liked" by me. That is my fourth visit to Facebook today.
:: Facepalm ::