Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Internet addiction puts on a new face


From page A17 | February 17, 2013 | Leave Comment

Email is the gateway drug. Facebook is where you end up.

“Lurking” on Facebook you begin. “Posting,” “liking,” and “commenting” is where you end up.

And once you’re there, just as with other drugs, you respond to a new master. Your life is no longer your own.

I tell this story from the point of view of an older person, because that’s what I am. Facebook is a different phenomenon if you’re young. People under 30 have had Facebook in their lives since college and if they are addicted to it—many are—they may not experience the same kind of discomfort as an older person, at least not this older person.

I joined Facebook in 2006 but rarely visited the site. I never read everything, only what happened to be recently posted. Three years later, when Facebook offered two ways to respond to other people’s news or photos (“liking” or “commenting”), I rarely did.

Facebook sends reminders about birthdays, but with dozens of “friends,” I would have needed to send birthday greetings every three days. I didn’t do it.

I continued in this state for a long time — lurking, as they say — and responded only one out of 25 times to posts by other people.

Recently, two things changed.

I’m not sure why, but I began checking Facebook more often (about once a day) and spending more time there. I found myself clicking over to links, scrolling through photo collections, and reading more text.

I’m tippling Facebook, devoting a bit too much time.

Last week marked a second stage in my burgeoning addiction. I suddenly felt that I had not been sufficiently polite to my Facebook friends, who now number 154, with two dozen designated “close.” Why didn’t I respond to them more often?

I consider myself a pretty polite person. I open doors for strangers, send “thank you” notes on real paper (sometimes), and I try to follow the “rules” of conversation, giving the other person more than enough time to speak. I always respond to personal emails, even if only in a few words.

But Facebook was one place where it never occurred to me to be polite — until now.

The seed was planted two or three years ago when my son-in-law said, “Marion, why don’t you post once in a while?” I soon realized that the picture-sharing opportunities on Facebook are pretty amazing and perhaps less pushy than pulling out a flipbook of snapshots when you run into an acquaintance at the supermarket.

I learned how to post photos of my grandsons, and the next thing I knew people responded. (By “next thing I knew,” I mean that literally. Responses sometimes arrive within seconds.) Nowadays, I get as many as ten “likes” within the first hour of posting, plus a few typed comments.

I enjoy remarks like “adorable,” “sweet” or “makes me smile,” even from people I hardly know.

By responding quickly, these folks reveal that they spend a lot of time on Facebook but most people do not seem embarrassed by that. In fact, I sense that for some people Facebook becomes, at least for a while, a primary pleasure. They post photos, forward political statements, share humorous videos or comment on other people’s posts so extensively that they show up on my “news feed” 15 times in a row.

I’d be embarrassed to have the world know I spent so much time on Facebook, but then again, what’s wrong with being social on line if you enjoy it? Some of the personal posts are touching and some of the funny posts are hilarious and I would miss all of them if not for Facebook.

My new attention to politeness is, however, more insidious, as if Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has made an incision and is crawling into my brain. Suddenly I feel the need to respond to other people’s postings. How can I let them send me birthday greetings and tell me my grandsons are precious without responding in kind? Am I, who am polite in public, choosing to be a Facebook boar?

A young friend told me, “Don’t worry about politeness on Facebook. No one else does,” but she’s speaking for her generation.

So I’ve started “liking” other people’s photos more often. I’m logging into Facebook, sometimes more than once a day, scrolling through posts in order not to ignore anyone, and writing comments because a mere button click of “liking” doesn’t feel like enough.

Is this what I mean to do with my free time? Last week, after posting a new grandchild photo, I checked for responses 10 times. While at it, I also “liked” and “commented” on other people’s stuff.

Dinner was late.

I feel as if I have come out from behind a tree and am suddenly skiing down a mountain at top speed, high on something, although I’m not sure what. How do I stop?

— Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at


Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy



4-H members prepare for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

Food insecurity remains an issue for many county residents

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12



High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6



DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8





Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11







Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6