Recent conversations have let me to the realization of the existence of a new social/medical disorder that seems to have only recently spread amongst the adult and non-collegiate populations of the world. I’m talking about Facebook Anxiety Disorder, more commonly known as FAD, and it is a serious condition that we need to cure soon! If you think that you or a loved one has FAD, and then please speak to a doctor or a blogger as soon as possible. FAD is treatable, even if there is no cure. To minimize your risk of FAD, please post this blog on your Facebook profile and share it with at least 20 of your Facebook friends…
FAD, simply put is the anxiety related to Facebook. You know that you are exhibiting the symptoms of FAD when you start to ask yourself questions like the following. Why do I care what the heck my high school friends who I haven’t spoken with in 20 years are doing every second of the day? Is everyone else on Facebook at least once an hour except me? Who is this person that just friended me, should I accept their friend request? When did friended become a verb? Will my boss see those drunk pictures from my birthday party? Should I put contact information on my profile? And finally, is there any way to gag myself with this f****** news feed?
If you exhibit any of these symptoms then you have FAD. The root cause of FAD is a genetic resistance to a new definition of the word “privacy”. Privacy has a slowly evolving definition (exhibited by changing contexts in the OED). In recent studies it has been shown that the initial users of Facebook- internet savvy college undergraduates have a different idea of privacy than the social/legal definitions that are currently in the vocabulary of basically everyone else. Those internet savvy college undergraduates participated in “network socialization” meaning that they had a regional view of their Facebook network- their college campus. Indeed, in the initial versions of Facebook only allowed you to be in one network and to join that network you were required to have a campus (.edu) email address. These college students were interested in meeting new friends, finding connections between their existing friends, and figuring out what any one person or group was doing at that specific time to facilitate the interactions of the network. Basically every default application that comes with Facebook is meant to lubricate the social networking of a college campus.
But you, with FAD, are not in a college campus. In fact you are not in a regional network either via geography or time. The result is that your Facebook friends span both time and space and all the social facilitation that was once applicable in a regional setting don’t translate to a global one, and that causes anxiety. While there is no cure, there is a treatment. For college students it was to change their definition of privacy. For you, it needs to be a change in the way you use the privacy settings of Facebook.
Here are two typical responses: friend no one, friend everyone but avoid contact. Here is the thing with Facebook it is a non-intimate social setting. Email, phone, SMS these are all intimate network technologies. Facebook should not be. The first response, friend only those you want to use Facebook is a very good response- but it eliminates the ability for you to contact people you are acquainted with in a non-intimate manner (intimate meaning that you have communication obligations). The second response eliminates all other applications of Facebook. The middle ground is to use privacy settings, groups, and management of applications to make Facebook work for you and therefore eliminate FAD.
This blog is getting long, so I will get into specifics in a later blog. Just know, there is hope for FAD, and I will give you the tools to treat it!