Forward Living: Facebook — a delicious, dangerous distraction

03/01/2015 6:00 AM |

I am gainfully employed at a lovely assisted living facility; however, I also work from home as a freelancer. Folks comment that working from home is great, and I agree — to a point, that is.

At the assisted living facility, I’m focused and time flies. At home, it’s another story. (No pun intended.) I’ve never had true writer’s block; I always have something to say. (Ask my kids!) The medical billing and coding is a no-brainer for me. The downside when working from home? Distractions. 

Technology saves us lots of time and effort; however, when working from home, technology presents a double-edged sword. Websites are filled with intrusions: pop-ups, ads and YouTube videos — and then there’s Facebook.

Some folks are big fans of Facebook and check their feeds or timelines compulsively, while others refuse to get caught up with the “likes” of Facebook. I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. At first I rarely logged on until I realized that it’s a great marketing tool. I was hooked, against my will.

Tonight I sat down at my computer to write a column, but the devil made me check a post that I was tagged in. I scrolled down my news feed and read a few articles. Then I heard a buzz that indicated I had a message. I can’t ignore my friends, right? Before I knew it, an hour had passed and I hadn’t typed one word. I scrapped my original brainchild and decided to write this article instead: Facebook! The good, the bad and the ugly …

Getting caught up with baby videos and pictures posted by their adoring parents is hard to resist. I mean, really, how can I ignore a beautiful little girl with a bow in her hair doing a dance — then as a finale, she falls down exhausted! The same little girl danced to the lyrics “Low, low, low.” Pretty impressive footwork!

Then I “follow” an adorable little boy about the same age, who has a smile that melts my heart. (Wait until he starts melting big-girl hearts.) I recently watched this little tyke in overalls play with a little green ball. Methinks, judging from the photos with his dad, he’s being coached to become a Mets fan.

The numerous quizzes that are posted are the biggest time-sucks:

“What movie star are you?” I was Sophia Loren. Nice!

“What kind of person are you?” I’d better hang it up if I don’t know by now.

“How OCD are you?” Better not take that one!

“How weird are you?” I already know.

And the crème de la crème of all quizzes: “What four-letter word describes you?” I don’t want to know.

More time-sucks include shocker videos: “He opened his car door and couldn’t believe what he found!” Or the tear-jerker wedding videos. The flash mob marriage proposals are a hoot and I dance like nobody’s looking to the music videos.

I reconnected with an old friend from Staten Island. I enjoy reading friends’ posts, motivational quotes and jokes. As an adoring parent, I post my family pictures. As a wannabe photographer, I post “sky junkie” and “beach bum” photos. My bucket list includes writing the “great American novel,” so I post my columns.

A word of caution: Facebook can be dangerous. Not only is it addicting, but I had a rash of “Hello dear” messages from strange men. After a breakup the ex can stalk you. Marriages have been “put asunder” by “friends” who morphed into lovers. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers cited that in 2011 33 percent of divorce filings in the U.S. mentioned Facebook. And sadly, some folks will isolate and use their Facebook “friends” as their links to the outside world.

They say love and hate are two sides of the same coin. I agree. Am I addicted to Facebook? Nah, I’m too strong-willed for that.

But wait a sec … I just heard a beep; I need to check my new notifications …

Iannelli_CMs. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

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