Stepping away from the Time-Vampire

Monday, 9 June 2014


Last week I made a decision to distance myself from FaceBook.


I don’t have any grudge against the site. Admittedly, it’s representative of a large and successful corporation but I have never believed that all large corporations are evil. And it’s not that I think FaceBook is a danger to the fabric of our society, or the welfare of our children, or that it’s running a risk of giving me an unpleasant illness: Daily Mail - FaceBook Causes Cancer

I’m distancing myself because I want to spend more time writing.

I had to upgrade my PC last week. The old machine had suffered so many regular failures it was worthy of becoming a UK government. I spent three or four days transferring files, installing new applications and learning the layout of the new machine.

Each time I installed a new piece of software I asked myself, “Why am I loading this?”

Word and Outlook were easy calls. I need Word to write and I need Outlook for emails. PowerPoint was another no-brainer because I use presentations a lot at the front of the classroom. Excel needed to go on there, because spreadsheets happen. I needed an eBook reader for some of my PhD texts. And I wanted a low-spec sound editing software for the radio show/podcasting.

Every time I loaded a piece of software I asked, “Do I really need this?”

And then someone sent me a message on FaceBook. The message came through on my phone. I responded through the phone and thought, “That reply would have been easier to send back if I’d loaded FaceBook on the new machine.”

But I didn’t bother loading it. I knew, because I lack discipline or any sense of priorities, I would not have simply responded to my friend. Instead, I would have scoured FaceBook looking for fun pictures of cats, rude stuff that makes me giggle, and headlines from outrageous new stories, such as the really cool one about the psychotic woman who went mental because a McDonald’s refused to serve her Chicken McNuggets.


I have no discipline at all. If distractions are in front of me I don’t have the wit or the willpower to remain focused. I simply click on all the pretty links and rub my eyes twelve hours later wondering where the day went. And this means I don’t get to do the writing that I’ve always enjoyed doing.

So FaceBook and I shall be having a conscious uncoupling.

I’m not leaving FaceBook. I’m still going to use social networking apps to update my pages. And, obviously, I’ll respond to messages that are sent to me through FaceBook. But I’ll be using my phone for those. The phone is small and fiddly and the keyboard doesn’t work well with my fat fingers so it will make me less enthusiastic to click on links or spend a long time being distracted.

I’m consciously uncoupling myself from the site and it starts with this small step.


Wish me luck.

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