Addicted to Facebook?

Addicted to Facebook?

The case for seeking cyber solace

A new study from the University of Chicago found social media—Facebook and Twitter—are "more addictive than cigarettes or alcohol." As a teacher, parent and (shamelessly enthusiastic) midlife user of social media, I felt an imperative to determine if I am an addict.

Too late to participate in the U of C study, but not too late to take an online quiz. (One feature of social mediators is we LOVE anything interactive, like, say, an online quiz.)

Apparently I'm 67 percent addicted to Facebook!

Why? Why are so many midlife folks reinvigorating their social lives and networks through social media? I'll share a recent Facebook communal moment I had that demonstrates the healing and healthful powers of my addiction.

The case for Addiction

My beloved 14-year-old bear of a dog, Bernie, was sick—the kind of sick where the vet was saying those horrible, horrible things vets say when it's time. That dog outlived my marriage. How could we let him go?

Facebook Status Update: A Cry for Help?

Looking for, comfort maybe, advice, something...I sat down, opened my Facebook page and wrote a sad sentence about my dog, a sentence called a "status update" in Facebook-speak, and I hit "Enter."
Within seconds my sad sentence posted on my Facebook page.

Within seconds, kind responses started flying onto my page like popcorn. Friends from elementary school sharing stories of their beloved old dogs. Colleagues offering photos of their long-gone hounds, and helpful essays about letting go. College pals and high school buddies all shouting out words of support, kindness, empathy and understanding. Even my students sent notes, wondering if class was cancelled. (Just kidding, or LOL, laugh out loud as the kids say in text-speak).

Then my phone starts blowing up. Family members and friends calling and texting wondering if I'm okay, wanting updates, do I need help, do I need company, can they come to the vet with me. And there it is. Post status, village arrives.

Here's more on a Midlife Woman's Facebook Addiction 

About the Author

Pam Cytrynbaum

Pamela Cytrynbaum teaches at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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