I first joined Facebook about two years ago. I dallied around for about six months, then quietly didn't log on again for another year and a half. Back then I decided I didn't like it: I felt I was already in touch with the people I wanted to be in touch with via non-FB means, and every time I did log in to Facebook , it would suck me into The Facebook Vortex of Extreme Timewasting. So I dropped it.
Then funny things started to happen. Friends who I shared a lot of actual face time with, with whose highs and lows I was well-acquainted, would ask me (actually affronted) why I hadn't become their Facebook friend? I thought this was a bit weird, and told them so. Then I would receive emails from people who I no longer had any face time with, but wanted to stay in touch with, with requests to 'check out their Facebook profile'. My resolve not to become a Facebook monkey started to waver.
And so, the day before yesterday, after I had checked out my friends' blogs for the millionth time that day, the children were all asleep, Rob was away, and feeling sick from too much QS, I logged in to Facebook again after my long absence. Sure enough, the Facebook Vortex of Extreme Timewasting sucked me into its inky depths, and it was only 1 hr and 45 mins later that I managed to extract myself.
At first, being on Fb is a bit like being at a huge party of people you haven't seen for years. I spent ages going round each little group, catching up. Indeed this is the beauty of Fb: seeing old friends' kids for the first time, hearing about their various adventures. Initially, it made me very homesick. But sooner or later, I was led astray, and ended up nosing around friends of friends, and people who I didn't dislike, but didn't get on with either, and suddenly I felt like the teenager at the party, wondering if everyone was secretly sniggering at my choice of outfit. Then I noticed a comment on someone's wall that wound me up, and I kept myself awake at night constructing a clever riposte. That's what I mean about the Facebook Vortex of Extreme Timewasting - it's not just about the actual internet time, it's the headspace it occupies afterwards.
So Facebook, is it a good thing? Or a bad thing? I'm still not sure.