A few months ago I mentioned that I had blocked Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube on the Linux partition of my computer (the one I use the most often.) I was skeptical at first, and I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d just end up getting frustrated and unblocking them. Well, it’s been a while, and I still have all three of them blocked. Every once in a while I use SSH to tunnel around my restrictions, but it’s enough work that the quick mental reward for useless browsing is lost, and I don’t do it that often. Actually, I only tunnel when I need to respond to messages sent to me on Facebook or I’ve been meaning to watch a particular video on YouTube.
Is this a good thing? I don’t know. It’s been a particularly rough couple of weeks, and I can’t tell if my time wastage has decreased, though if it hasn’t I suspect that it has something to do with the increased stress. At the very least, I suspect that I’m doing more with my time – instead of browsing Facebook, I do something productive like reading. Sure I still procrastinate, but at least I don’t do it by glazing over and watching people’s status updates. It’s not that I don’t like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, and in fact I find them to be useful tools both as a communications platform and as disruptive technology, but I also don’t like the feeling of being addicted to them. Computers make fantastic tools, and personally I love working with computers as tools, but we shouldn’t let them (or the creators of Facebook) use us. Does that sound too “conspiracy?” Do you think Facebook would rather have you browsing Facebook (and seeing their ads) or getting on with your life and using Facebook only as you need it? There’s money to be made in keeping people on the browse; lots of it.