Facebook as a social outlet causes concerns
April 20, 2007
Facebook seems to have seriously changed the lives of people all around me. There are a few ways this social network leaves its daily impression on me. Some things I appreciate and others really just drive me nuts.
I enjoy I have the ability to know things about people I went to grade school with just because I can read a few words about them whenever they change things.
It's also enjoyable to have access to communicate with people without worrying about using valuable cell minutes or texts.
Also, I like being able to "stalk" people in a socially acceptable manner. It tells me how they are feeling according to their status, if they are online and also what type of weekend they had according to their photo albums.
What really drives me insane is the way people use Facebook to tell the world they are having relationship problems. It seems when a couple starts fighting the "In a relationship" status changes to "It's complicated" then, suddenly each are "Single."
The little icon shows a broken heart, I can't wait to see what happens within the next hour at that point. Sure enough, both of their hearts have mended and the relationship status once again boasts the two people are "In a relationship."
Or, what's with people who say they are engaged or married to their best friends?
Really? If you're looking for sympathy from people and wanting to sway people to see things your way, stop! It's just annoying.
Another grievance I have is "friend-ing" someone right after you shake their hand at the bar/in class/at a party as soon as you can get to a computer to request a confirmation. You're not really their friend, so don't pretend you are. I sincerely hope you don't think your popularity is based off the number of "friends" on Facebook.
Also, while I can be slightly accused of the same thing, why are all the photos that people really want to look at composed of at least one alcoholic beverage. Is it just because that's when photos are taken most, or they're posted to aid memory triggers from that night? Either way, it's approaching out of control.
At this point, Facebook has become something more than just a friendly virtual social meeting point.
My life as a journalist in the past few years has changed.
I'm sitting trying to accomplish some things this week while watching the news about the Virginia Tech. University shooting. The reporter on CNN used Facebook as a source to show one venue through which students are letting each other know they are okay.
If I need a phone number or need to get a hold of someone for a story, I often times look to see if someone has a cell phone number posted. For some reason, students also seem to reply quicker when contacted via Facebook.
Facebook has reached a point where it's not just a silly place to forever immortalize the inside jokes and crazy nights on an implicit World Wide Web, but a valid social utility.
Ultimately, I have to confess I will be a Facebook member for a long time. As much as I may say I hate reading people's drama, I keep reading it. I'll keep skipping over the "remove tag" link on the photos from my weekend with friends and as soon as I see a great photo taken I'll continue to think "Oh, there's an 'FB' shot!"
It keeps me interested, and I spend hours browsing it. It has serious potential to run the lives people lead in this time when they are focused on appearing to be a certain way. It's a narcissistic society unlike any previous where people find validity in things not "real" but virtual. Facebook is just one way that notion is solidified.
Keighla Schmidt is a student at UW-River Falls.