Are You A Facebook Addict?

Facebook Addict

Are you addicted to Facebook - the social media website? Do you find yourself logging on whilst at work, at home in bed, on the toilet and in the bath?

Following on from my popular article, The Self-Importance of Facebook & Twitter, I aim to find out just how addicted to social media you are, using this simple story test.

Select the options that best apply to you…

1. It is 8am on Monday morning and you wake up feeling weary, having ended a late-night Facebook Poker game at 5am. You lost $8,456,947 to a guy named ‘Billy J’, who you’ve never met (it’s a good job the money isn’t real). You stare are your alarm clock in disbelief - in 10 minutes the bus leaves for work. Which of these best applies to you?

  1. You get dressed quickly, grab a piece of toast and scamper to the bus stop, with your shoes on the wrong feet and your underwear sticking out of your trousers.
  2. You log straight on to Facebook to check your messages and your poker balance (hey, they give you $10 worth of chips just for logging on, reducing your balance to -$8,456,937). You then post a message onto your boss's wall to say that you're going to be late for work (he'll forgive you because you can get him into trouble with his wife by tagging him in those 'Christmas office party' photos from last year, where he was caught in a compromising position with Angela from Accounts)

2. You feel unpopular, and it’s not surprising. Other than work, your only regular trip into the outside world is when you take the bin out for the dustmen. Your only offline friends are the bus driver (who you’ve known for ten years) and the rat that lives under your kitchen floorboards (who you’ve known for three months). It’s time to think seriously about changing your life to increase your social circle. Do you:

  1. Make a resolution to make changes, find a local club to join and start a gym membership (a good way to meet new people).
  2. Start a Facebook group called "If I get 1,000,000 followers I will get a tattoo of Barack Obama on my bottom" and wait for lots of people to join (which, inevitably, they will).

3. You go to the cinema with your friend (the bus driver, not the rat). Which of these applies to you?

Cinema Screen
  1. You relax and watch the film, enjoying the great plot, dialogue and scenery.
  2. You sit in your chair, posting the plot twists onto Facebook every 5 minutes, thinking you're great. However, in actual fact, you're just ruining it for anyone wanting to see the movie themselves and pissing off the people sitting around you, who think you're a moron.

During the movie, a drunk guy, sitting two seats to your left, passes across a beer label with the following words scribbled on the back: “You have received a friend request from Billy Johnson. Accept / Decline.”

4. It’s your Mum’s birthday tomorrow (a handy message came up on your Facebook sidebar to remind you). Do you:

  1. Visit the shops to buy her a present and a big bunch of flowers, taking time to choose a present that she'll really love.
  2. Send her a 'virtual gift' bunch of flowers, costing $1, and then post "hpapy brithdy" on her wall (mis-spelled because you get distracted by an incoming chat request from a Russian hooker).

Musical Note Icon

5. Musical Interlude…

“If a picture paints a thousand words, then:"

  1. "why can't I paint you?"
  2. "I'll stick it onto my 'super wall.'"

6. You haven’t heard from your brother in a couple of weeks. He has been going through a terrible time recently. He lost his job, his girlfriend dumped him and his goldfish died (of neglect, but that’s not the point!). Do you:

  1. Give him a call, check he's ok, have a long chat and invite him over for a meal.
  2. 'Poke' him.

7. Your best friend, the bus driver, has just called. His wife has just given birth to a little baby girl. Which of these applies to you?

  1. You visit the hospital to congratulate him and see the baby (you'll have to get a taxi, as there is no bus today and the rat has eaten through your only pair of shoes)
  2. You sit there shocked - you didn't even know his wife was pregnant… in fact, you can't even remember him being married. You then do him the biggest favour that any best friend could. You go onto the Facebook website and set his day-old daughter, Dorkis Clapsaddle, up with a new account.

8. You hobble into town, to buy a rat trap and a new pair of shoes, and you spot a man on fire. His drunken attempt to juggle fire has clearly backfired, and now he is well alight. His trousers have burnt away, revealing a tattoo of Barack Obama on his bottom. Which of these applies to you?

  1. You rush towards him and help put the fire out (using your coat, bag or the little old lady standing next to you)
  2. You rush towards him, retrieve your phone from your pocket, take a photo (making sure to include the tattoo) and share it with your Facebook followers (ensuring you caption it with "look, a man on fire!") Then, not wanting to waste the opportunity, you take a quick video and upload it to Facebook and YouTube.

The fire is finally extinguished. Lying on the ground with second degree burns, the guy hands you a beer label… on it is scribbled “Billy Johnson has invited you to join the Facebook group ‘Learn How To Juggle Fire Without Getting Burned.’ Accept / Decline.”

9. You have decided to throw a party at the weekend. You’ve invited lots of people from work, including your boss and Angela from Accounts (you’re hoping to get some new blackmail material). The bus driver will be laying on transport and Billy Johnson and friends from your fire juggling Facebook group will be providing entertainment (you’ve ensured you have a ready supply of fire extinguishers). However, you don’t know what to wear. It needs to be something nice, but also something that allows you to hide in corners and take embarrassing photographs. Do you:

  1. Go out to the local shopping centre and look for a nice outfit that will give a good impression to guests.
  2. Take photos of your current wardrobe and then set up a poll, inviting the current 999,956 followers of your 'Barack Obama tattoo' Facebook group to vote for their favourite outfit.

10. A week after the party, you’re cooking in the kitchen with your brother (the good news is that he is still alive… unlike his poor goldfish!). He makes the suggestion that you might be addicted to Facebook and suggests a ‘Social Media Detox’. Do you:

  1. Agree to it - it can't do you any harm and it'll prove that you can live without social networking. Hey, you might even enjoy it!
  2. Shout at him "I'M NOT ADDICTED," before bludgeoning him over the head with the only thing you can reach - a fire extinguisher.

So, are you a Facebook addict?

Rat on Mouse

Right, it’s a simple calculation. If you have answered with mostly b’s then you have a Facebook addiction, which can probably be sorted out. If you have answered with ALL b’s, then you should proceed directly to the lunatic asylum (that’s not a Facebook group, by the way) for a ‘digital cleanse’ (similar to colonic irrigation, but the other end). Oh, and before you go, don’t forget to update your status to let all your friends know where you’re going…

If you have answered with mostly, or all, a’s then congratulations, you’re not addicted. Send yourself a ‘glass of champagne’ Facebook gift, in celebration.

The Self-Importance Of Facebook, Twitter

Self Important Flag-Bearer

Is Social Networking Breeding a New Culture Of Self-importance?

So, you’ve got 200 Facebook friends and 20 Twitter followers. You feel important - right up there, in celebrity status, alongside Tom Cruise, Pope Benedict XVI and… Susan Boyle. People seem to want to follow your every move - and you oblige by telling them when you eat breakfast, visit the toilet and wash your best pair of pants.

Then, one day, you go through your friends list and it hits you - 195 of your 200 Facebook friends are actually made up of the following:

1) Former classmates from school (who you didn’t really know because you were busy studying in the library or hiding in the janitor’s cupboard whilst they were fighting, smoking and having teenage sex behind the lockers)

2) Old work colleagues (who regularly taunted you for your unusual dress sense and over-large nose).

3) People you met once at a social occasion, but never really spoke to. You just remember their name and the fact that they like bird watching.

4) People who mistake you for someone else (well, you did put a picture of Scooby Doo as your profile photo) and then can’t be bothered to remove you when they realise you’re not who they thought you were.

Despite discovering all this, you still find yourself needing to log on to Facebook and Twitter at every available opportunity to check whether someone has written on your wall (technically, graffiti), posted a follow-up to your comment, or to see if someone has re-tweeted your earlier 140 character creation of genius. Later that day, your only real friend goes through your Twitter followers list and breaks some extra bad news to you: 18 of your 20 Twitter followers are actually just porn pedlars.

The Lives Of The Self-Important

Social Media - Holding Hands

So, why do social networking websites make people think that they must share everything with the world? Perhaps it is down to the questions that they ask: “what are you doing?” or “what’s happening?” (Twitter) or “what’s on your mind?” (Facebook). It’s a dream come true for people with over-inflated egos.

I’m amazed when people tweet that they’re sitting in traffic on the motorway, washing their hair or about to go out and buy a new pair of knickers. Now, if they were about to meet Pope Benedict XVI (or Susan Boyle, I don’t mind which) and present him (or her) with the fore-mentioned pair of knickers, I would be interested (and would probably even re-tweet it to my own tens of ‘interested’ followers). For me, these people put the “twit” into Twitter.

When out in public, the behaviour of the self-important is extraordinary to watch. I observed one such person on Friday night. I was in a busy cocktail bar and as it got towards the end of the night, I glanced to the side of the room to observe a rather inebriated man sit down at a computer screen and log in to Facebook. You could tell he was drunk - it was a real struggle for him to locate and type each letter of his username and password. If that wasn’t a complete giveaway to his drunken state, his next action certainly was, as he got up shouted out “I’ve got my lasagne” and then proceeded to pull a small plastic bag out of his pocket (containing said lasagne) and whirl it round and round his head in celebration…

Now then, at that point I could have considered it to be a monumental moment worth sharing with the Internet world, taken out my iPhone and tweeted ‘just stood in a cocktail bar and watched a man whirl lasagne around his head". Did I? No… damn, why didn’t I?

To conclude this rant, an idea: Perhaps Twitter should change its initial question to say: “so, what makes you think you’re so bloody interesting today?”

Maybe someone should also start a list of ‘self-important people’ (not to be confused with ‘self impotent’ people - that’s a different blog post altogether), gather them all in the same place, with their computers and mobile phones, and see what happens. Forget the Hadron Collider and the Maya 2012 predictions  - this idea could really cause the destruction of mankind!