At the moment, pretty much anyone knows what the word “Facebook” means. One of the first majorly popular social networking sites, what used to be only a college networking place has turned to a free-for-all, hullabaloo.
It’s what the young, cool (and uncool) people talk about these days. Band kids on the MUNI bus yesterday–
“I’m going to post this on Facebook and you’ll be so embarrassed! You watch!”
What’s the point in having Facebook, one may ask.
For me, when I did have it, I felt it was a good tool for keeping in touch with people that I had met during school and such. My university was one of the first to be “invited” into the Facebook network when it started in 2004, so I signed up for it since it was something new and intriguing. Immediately, I found myself amused at how I could find former high school classmates, and add them to my list to keep in touch somehow. The novelty of how easily we could now keep track of each other (for free, unlike using websites like classmates.com at the time) was simply, yes, a novelty.
I found myself drudging up memories of people from my past, good and bad. Over the years, my list accumulated and I found more and more people from my high school, and also proceeded to add people I had briefly been acquainted with in college. It felt nice to have “so many friends” and be able to keep in touch with them all through Facebook.
Well, then, after awhile, after graduating from college, Facebook began to be something of a nuisance/painful point for me. Keeping tabs on people from my past (and vice versa), I felt like I was constantly being judged for what I was (and was not) doing with my life. Sure, I had only just graduated college, but I found myself feeling envious and upset when I would peruse through others’ pages and see what they were up to in life. I found myself judging them, which made me also feel like, “If I am judging them, who knows how much they’re judging me?”
It’s only the Internet, after all, but I found myself getting too hung over such a thing. I would sit by my computer and sometimes waste several hours clicking around my Facebook list, checking up on people and just becoming too engrossed into people’s lives who I didn’t care about anymore (or so I thought).
It was only in due time that I finally decided I needed to disconnect from the website. It was no longer useful to me in the sense that it was holding me behind in my past and trapping me in fear of being judged for not being “successful enough”. The mini-feed caused for me to feel like my own privacy on the site was no longer something I could enjoy. With every little update, of who’s going out with who or who did this and that–it became too much for me.
So, I left Facebook quietly this past June.
The few friends I did want to keep in touch with understood my reasoning; after all, if they were true friends/people I wanted to keep in touch with, they had other methods of keeping in contact with me, like via email or a phone call. It was unnecessary to have Facebook as another outlet for us to keep in contact anymore anyway.
In the end, do people dote on Facebook a little too seriously? I was discussing this with one of my co-workers yesterday after he mentioned how he was going back to his hometown soon for his 10-year high school reunion. He said he never had much interest in Facebook in the first place, but one of his roommates wanted him to sign up so they could keep in touch somehow. He, however, has been clever in manipulating his information on there and showing how gullible people have become in terms of information on Facebook:
“I change around little things on my profile every day just to mess with people’s minds. One moment, I’ll say I’m ‘engaged’, then I’ll change it really quickly to ‘married’, then the next day change it immediately to ‘single’ again. It’s amazing how many people pay attention to that stuff and keep dropping me ‘Congratulations!’ messages.”
I’ll just leave it at that, since it speaks for itself.