Facebook: My Love Affair with the Beast

By the time I was 11 I had my first web-page. For the life of me I can’t remember the host of the website, but I wasn’t alone. The most tech savvy of my friends also had them. They all had the same format, a brief about yourself paragraph touting all your wonderful 11 year old qualities followed by lines of shout-outs to your “girls” and “boys”. 

As I progressed into middle school websites like Xanga and Live-Journal came about. Although slightly different in format the idea was the same: brag about yourself, shout out your friends and how wonderful they are. 

By the time I was into high school, MySpace was “it”. Compared to the previous websites where you could create a place for yourself on the internet, MySpace was revolutionary. MySpace let you post things for all your friends to see, your friends could write things on your wall, you could show off who your “besties” were on your “Top 8”, and it even had a blog function. As I think back to high school, I try to ask myself if there was any “drama” surrounding MySpace. I’m sure there was, but honestly all I remember was that it mostly served as a way to show how quirky you were, how cute you looked in that mirror picture, and how many friends you did or didn’t have.

Come the fall of 2005, most of my friends had gone off to college and discovered the new world of Facebook. I remember my best friend telling me how cool it was and that I had to get one. I got one- and I swore I’d never use it.  When I first joined Facebook the things people posted were trivial “Brittany Smith is SOOO putting off this psychology paper she has to write!!” (Remember, back when facebook started all your status updates for you?) You could find out who was dating who, what someone was dressing up as for Halloween, and read the wall-posts between your friends who were trying to make plans for the next weekend. In 2006, Facebook was still a growing beast. No one really thought too much about what they put on it.

In the 18 months that followed Facebook grew from what felt like a relatively exclusive population to an absolute necessity. By the Spring of 2007 quite literally everyone and their Mom was on Facebook. The term “Facebook Stalking” was said without so much of a blink. I was a freshman in college and absolutely everyone  was on Facebook. I remember almost every Sunday afternoon by room-mate would upload all the party pictures from the previous three nights up onto Facebook, and the tagging would begin. No one thought too much about it. Sure they were barely dressed and had drinks in their hands, but so what, everyone was doing it. 

It was about that point that Facebook snowball’ed. People started to put more and more things on it. There wasn’t a thought about who could see it (As long as it wasn’t mom!). People were checking things all the time, posting new ‘content’ all the time. The “filter” just disappeared. Did you come home to find your dog pooped on the rug? Better do a status update about that. Five weeks pregnant, not even been to the doctor yet? Better do a status update about that. Just get engaged, haven’t even told Mom & Dad yet? better do a status update about that. It just grew bigger and bigger. People at this point have become, what I consider, literally addicted, to Facebook. 

Hello, my name is TheCoffeeDarling, and I am addicted to Facebook. Two years ago for no particular reason- I decided I’d try to go a month without Facebook. I made a big status about it, letting people know that they should text or call me if they needed me. I lasted 36 hours. 

I’ve reached a point where I almost feel as if the things I do in my daily life do not count unless I share them on facebook. Yesterday for example, I ran three miles and then decided to take my dogs on a two mile walk. At some point my MapMyRun app had a glitch and it showed that I’d only done a mile dog walk. I’d been planning on posting that to Facebook. I actually felt genuine sadness that I couldn’t anymore- after all, a one mile dog walk isn’t nearly as impressive. 

I would definitely call myself a Facebook Addict. I know that might sound extreme, but it’s genuinely how I feel. Facebook is bad for me but I continue to use and love it anyway.

Facebook makes me feel like I have to keep up with the Jones’. I feel like I need to be doing the types of things other people are doing. Facebook makes me feel alone. It makes me aware that 99% of my “friends” aren’t people I could call on. Instead of being focused on the people I do have in my life, I’m reminded constantly, that I don’t really know these people. If I got a flat tire- I could never call them. Facebook is a crutch.  It makes me feel like I don’t need to go out and see the people I care about, because I can just read about it, or see pictures of them from my own home. 

I hate Facebook, but I don’t know if I will ever be able to leave it behind until our society as a whole moves away from this trend of “over-sharing.” The way Facebook has affected me makes me worry about the kids 10 years younger than me, who will have been aware and users of social media since they were in diapers. How will their lives be different from mine because of this? 

I find myself hoping that in the next couple years society reaches it’s breaking point and begins to move away from internet based lives, and back to the lives we had before Facebook. What do you think? Are you a Facebook addict? Are you an oversharer? Are you a lurker? Have you ever Facebook stalked? 

Note: This post is in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge

 

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One thought on “Facebook: My Love Affair with the Beast

  1. Pingback: July Round-up | The Coffee Darling

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