Friday, March 15, 2013

Addicted to Face and Tweet

            Several months back, I got an e-mail from some strange guy who had seen my blog and wanted me to join this site called Storylane. I ignored it at first, unsure of what this strange thing was but knowing I probably didn’t want anything to do with it. I got another e-mail. Bear checked it out for me. I gave in and made an account the old fashioned way, by not linking it to Facebook. I had no interest in my experimentation with this site showing up on my newsfeed. Long story short, graduation was looming and the idea of all the free time I would have was suddenly like a fantastic, delicious desert just out of reach and Storylane was the cherry on top, along with Goodreads. It’s a fun site for random writings, just something on the side to enjoy. I’m the type of person that blogs and other writings I post online are written beforehand and saved on my computer. I don’t do that with Storylane. Like I said, random and short writings. It was purely for fun,
            Fast-forward to the present. I received e-mails and saw postings about it on Storylane itself, that it was joining forces with Facebook. Inevitable right? If this site was so successful, it was only a matter of time before the rat pack decided they wanted in on it. It has, along with many other things, made me question how big Facebook is becoming in our day to day lives. I’ve heard it’s losing popularity and I could believe that. It’s the Internet. Trends come and go. Websites rise and fall. But aside from all that, think of how many times you check your Facebook a day. How many pieces of your life are linked to Facebook? Your friends, family, your religion, political leanings, likes, dislikes, and even what you had for dinner last night.
            A writer on Storylane made the point that Facebook has not changed the way we connect, it’s just given us a platform that most of us like and can deal with, pouring our information into it like there’s no tomorrow. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, but it does raise the question, especially since this site isn’t just for friends and family anymore. You add your colleagues and sometimes even your boss as friends and suddenly this place to see cute pictures of your newest baby cousin has become a professional network as well. It’s like the biggest smash up of home and work life we’ve ever known. So it becomes a question of how much information you want out there for the entire world to see.
            As far as I know, Facebook is one of the only platforms on the Internet where so many people I know gather at once. It’s also a place that makes it easy to say far too much. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve even caught myself on the verge of posting something I shouldn’t. Something that was really no one’s business but my own. Facebook is more than social media, it has become a diary, an itinerary, and a rant board. People say and post things they shouldn’t, things that could hurt them when an employer decides to take a peek at their page. This should be common knowledge now, but people still do it, because the greatest downfall of the Internet is that it gives a false sense of security.
            I’m one of the worst Facebook addicts out there. I’ve considered deactivating my account several times, both of them. But for one reason or twenty, I never go past just thinking about it. The information is already there. You cannot permanently delete it. Even what you delete, a good IT guy could gain access to. I don’t think people realize that. What’s the big deal about having all of that information about yourself out there? Well, from a person who has her old fart moments at twenty-one, sometimes it’s just downright creepy. Even with privacy settings, it’s creepy.
It’s like suddenly, there’s two hundred to five thousand people standing in your living room while you teach your child to walk for the first time, just for example. And the worst part is that it’s almost a necessary evil. Friends move away, whether it be thirteen hours south or across an ocean and they know that Facebook is the best way to stay in touch. Before I graduated, my English professors were doing an exit interview with me and how to contact me came up, since my college e-mail account will be terminated at some point. They don’t have my personal e-mail in their address books, but we’re all friends on Facebook. Because so many people use it, it’s become the best way to stay in touch. Because people don’t write e-mails or letters anymore. We rarely call, occasionally text.
If Facebook has changed the way we interact, it’s only to make us lazier. Why call up your friends to hang out when you can just shoot a Facebook message and walk away to do something else until they reply?
Facebook wants to know everything from your date of birth to your orientation to your religion to your political leanings. We control how much information we put down, but really, I like looking at profiles with a lot of information because I find it fascinating to learn about other people. I love looking at people’s pictures and seeing how they live their lives. That aspect of it is awesome, but it’s double edged sword.
            In the twenty-first century, we have so many ways of connecting that it’s made us complacent about our human interaction. Far too complacent. And still, the first thing we think when we make a new friend in real life is “I wonder if he/she has a Facebook. Should I add him/her?”
            And the saddest thing about it? While I write this post, I’m flipping back and forth to Facebook, and when I post it, I’ll share it to Facebook. This is more than a little ridiculous. Gods save me from social media addiction.

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