Status Update: Wired for Social Addiction

I've been fishing around for some ideas for my (fantasy) book. I got a fantistically horrible idea the other day to write about the Facebook craze. There is so much to write about Facebook, I would finish a novel on one topic!

Then I thought to myself... would I get sued for writing about a syndicated free web application? I don't know. Would anyone actually read my book about something that they do for copious amounts of time each day? Only if it was incredibly inticing. I don't know that I can pull that off.

This analysis led me to "nay" the idea of a book on Facebook. Back to the drawing board, I guess.

However (you knew this was coming), I did learn a few things about Facebook that I would love to share. One of the topics I thought about for my book was Facebook addiction. It's a real disorder, classified by the American Psychiatric Association. It's a serious addiction, and several Facebook Addiction Support Groups exist.

In fact, one exists on.... you guessed it.... Facebook. I read through the page for Facebook Addicts and was amazed. I might be naive here, but I'm thinking that maybe Facebook isn't the proper place to hold a Facebook Addiction Support Group. That's like having an AA meeting in a bar, or a Sex Addicts Support Group in a strip club. It just doesn't seem right to me.

So, how do you know if you have an addiction? The DSM-IV (a fancy psychology book that I'm sure I have a copy of laying around here somewhere...) says that an addiction is any act that interferes with the functionality of daily living. For example, if you spend so much time on Facebook instead of working/sleeping/showering/cleaning/taking care of your kids/spending time with your family... you might have a problem. An obsession is the systematic repetition of a single act that interferes with daily living. If you check Facebook, say, fifteen times a day... I would call that a little bit of an obsession. Obsession is a little tricky, though, because I can change my baby's diaper 12 times a day, and it's repetition, and it kind of interferes with our daily lives... but it's certianly not an obsession.

Why do people get addicted to Facebook? Facebook is a magical place where you can get lost in other people's lives and forget your own. You can solicit attention with status updates, meddle in other people's business, and collect friends like a lifelong hobby. These pleasurable events are difficult to obtain in real life, so we are desperate for some "feel good" vibes from social networking.

I think I'll go update my status and see who is online...

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