The Social Net Worth

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

I recently read somewhere that 1 in 11 people worldwide are active on Facebook and of these people, more than 50% log on everyday. Evidently, this translates into more than 700 billion minutes (per month) that human beings are spending on the social network.

I am one of the 600 or so million users. This, quite frankly, scares me.

I’ve always been somewhat of a non-conformist. As a high school kid, I styled my hair spiky, adorned myself with my father’s old suit vests and wore my jeans frayed at the bottom, so they fell just slightly above my ankles. I prided myself in looking unusual and acting dissimilar to the other kids in the playground. As a college-aged kid, I went to art school. As an adult, I am considering home schooling my daughter. Yet, here I am, swimming amongst the Hoi polloi.

What happened?

Truth is, I can’t remember the exact moment I joined the masses. So it is with addictions I guess. But I do know this… like a dutiful addict, I recruited more junkies. Geoff joined at the same time as me. Mom was a member soon thereafter. Within a year, I had convinced my dad to sign up. More friends and family members followed.

At first, it was divine. I delighted in the ability to carefully select and upload flattering Profile Pictures of myself. That worked brilliantly… until the Tagging began. Still, I reconnected with long-distance family members whom I had not spoken with for years. Old schoolmates found me. An ex-boyfriend messaged me to apologize for the distasteful way he had dumped me 20 years ago. It wasn’t long before I began sharing the minutiae of my daily existence.

I didn’t want to. But I did it anyway.

Looking back, the posts on my Wall read more like cries for help… Want coffee. In desperate need of sunshine. Craving a cheese croissant. In next to no time, I began using meaningful quotes from other people as my Status Updates. I moved to Farmville. I didn’t realize how sick I was. I was in too deep.

Facebook is a problem for many reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that it’s hard to keep track of who your friends are. This became apparent at a recent event at which Geoff commented, “I think that lady sitting there with the purple purse and floral skirt is on my friend’s list.” Her name? Neither of us had any idea. And removing such virtual strangers from your account is no easy feat. I’ve tried to unfriend casual acquaintances, only to have these same people request me as a friend the very next day – forcing me to make up lies to explain my buddy purges.

Let me be candid here. Facebook is wearing me out. It’s just too much work stalking creeping trying to keep up with what all and sundry are doing. I have witnessed relationships blossom. I have seen relationships become “complicated”. I have read about puking children, learned of newly unemployed associates and witnessed drooling drunks. Then there are the success stories. How can I possibly compete with early potty trainers, fancy dinner makers and wonder women who have it all? Comparing my social net worth with others is exhausting.

This crap is permeating my dreams.

So, I’ve taken the first step. I refused to see The Social Network. I deleted every posting on my Wall – right back to day one. I only checked Facebook five times while writing these words. Okay, 10 times. I’m not sure what to do next, but admitting I have a problem must surely be the first step to becoming free.

Okay, now to go post this link on my Wall...
No, really.


  1. (Laughing!) Well, at least you stopped following my blog, so you're clearly on the road to recovery! (I used to smoke cigarettes, too, pack and a half a day!)...


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