I Conquered the Facebook Challenge

John F. Abess




Dear Fellow Grit Readers and Bloggers,


It is with great pride that, though much weakened by the experience of the entire process, I am able to announce the accomplishment of a difficult feat. The feat was so difficult that I was actually provided with an award for the accomplishment. Seen above, the award is a certificate for successfully abstaining from Facebook for a period of 50 days. You can see from the certificate that it is genuine. Indeed, it was awarded by Olaf B. Onekanobe, who has a doctorate in social media from the University of the Internet.   


Naturally, I’m proud to display the certificate. We all can anticipate how difficult it was to accomplish this feat. Most of us realize we are addicted to peeking into the activities of other people. Mr. Zukerberg, by enabling us to gratify our voyeuristic inclinations in a legal and very convenient fashion, has become VERY wealthy. Why shouldn’t he be rewarded? We don’t have to sneak around, lurk around, or disguise out intent. It’s all out there for us to enjoy. We can safely and legally voyeur electronically from the convenience of our home and do so at any time of day or night. One especially attractive feature about getting our “fix” from Facebook is that we don’t have to reciprocate as people once had to do while sustaining non-Facebook relationships. Oh, I also forgot that we can show off our own toys and stuff. That’s fun, right?


Yes, I sense your shock and disbelief. Many doubt that what I did was possible for ANYONE to accomplish. I can just imagine what you’re thinking. You are wondering how I could stand to be without the emotions of glee, humor, shock, envy, superiority, jealousy, and myriad other emotions that come from observing the comments, activities, and photos posted by others. You are absolutely correct! I knew when I set out on this endeavor that it was going to be a tough go. But, I had no idea just HOW tough it would become. I so miss all of that! Plus, don’t forget I had to manage without advertisements. And, I missed out on countless invitations to participate in all sorts of events for “causes.” Also, I missed out on requests to “forward petitions.” Dog photos are okay, but I really enjoy those baby photos. So, you can see there was a lot of suffering, and I should have waited until Lent to suffer THAT much.      


It was really necessary to steel myself in order to get through the 50 days. One unexpected consequence was that I learned avenues exist to derive gratification outside of Facebook. Increasingly, I found I had to rely upon my mind’s ability to drum up ideas that were entertaining, self-reflective, creative, and (sometimes) worthy.   


You might also be wondering about time. If it weren’t for Facebook, we would face a quandary. What would we do with the time we normally devote to Facebook? Abstaining for 50 days was not because there exist 50 shades of gray. (In truth, I’m still abstaining from Facebook.) The award certificate, however, was for 50 days, so I guess for most people, the 50 days would be unimaginably difficult. If we analyze it, however, 50 days amounts to 7.3 percent of the number of days in one year. And, if we take 7.3 percent of 24 (the number of hours in one day), we come up with one and three-quarter hours (or 105 minutes). That would bestow the burden of having to determine how we would spend that extra time each and every day. In my case, I found myself resorting to primitive activities, such as writing, practicing a musical instrument, cutting grass, fixing up things around the house, working on an old car, getting physical exercise, and spending quality time with real people.   


Yes, it was hard - at least at first - to give up Facebook. Strangely, though, I now realize I have more freedom, time, and privacy. And… maybe I’m misjudging, but the “primitive” activities replacing Facebook seem somewhat more fulfilling.