For Will, Facebook was just a hobby but for his mum, Facebook represented the devil himself. It didn’t seem to matter that all Will’s friends were on Facebook or that he was just a normal teenager with appearances to keep up. Only recently, she had dragged him along to the nearest psychiatrist for a second opinion on his Facebook issues. Even after a long two hour session, the psychiatrist had been unwilling to give a diagnosis because his mum was constantly interrupting the proceedings and refused to allow Will to say a single word in his own defence. He could tell that the psychiatrist had a strong urge to strangle someone as he looked so angry! Anyway, based on the limited evidence available, it was the psychiatrist’s opinion that Will was a normal teenager who was experiencing typical teenager issues with his self-esteem. This opinion naturally disgusted Will’s Mum and so, in order to placate her and keep her well away from his medical practice, the psychiatrist had proffered a diagnosis of ‘Social Media Anxiety Disorder’, SMAD for short, despite the fact that it was still not officially recognised by the medical profession.
To be fair to the psychiatrist, even if he had locked Will’s mother in the surgery toilet and had a pleasant one to one chat with Will, he still would have been unable to spot the vital clues needed for a proper diagnosis because Will’s symptoms only manifested themselves in the privacy of his own bedroom, hidden away from the cruel realities of the outside world.
Living with a mum who worked long hours at the family run local restaurant a few miles away, he was often left alone and thus able to devote his life to the fickle world of Facebook notifications: brief messages informing the user of any activity they might be interested in such as replies, feedback to posts, photos, comments, chats, events and so on. Will seemed to be at his happiest when he was excessively checking and posting on his Facebook wall and hungrily examining other peoples’ profiles and photos. He spent endless hours counting how many friends and followers he had for particular topics, bookmarking hundreds of links to articles, pictures and videos despite knowing he would never look at them again. Above all, his favourite Facebook pastime habits were ‘liking’ other peoples’ posts and writing infantile and trivial comments on them. Devoting his whole life to Facebook meant everything else in his life became secondary. Every possible spare waking moment of his day was devoted to ‘doing’ his Facebook.
Copyright Roger Gerald Scott