It Is Always There for You
Friday, October 9, 2009
“Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life,” reads its homepage. Therein lies the problem.
I have never been a technology addict. I misplace my phone all the time and can take days to respond to a text message. But somehow Facebook has caught me, as it has every other student in the country. If writing an essay on the computer, it is too easy pull up the Internet window and log in, before I even think twice. Or worse, I’m waiting for an important message on the site, so I give myself an excuse to log on and start browsing.
Once logged on, everything falls apart. Every proud moment gained that day for being productive is lost to, “Hmm, what’s that picture I was tagged in?” Or, “What sarcastic comment can I make next?” It’s depressing: In a second, a half hour has gone by, and all I’ve done is read my inbox.
Facebook truly is an enemy in disguise. From its friendly motto to its clean format, what isn’t user friendly about it? It even customizes its advertisements to match the qualities and interests you list, giving you the option to click “like” on the decent ads. And there are no hidden obligations, no obnoxious pop-ups.
Although there are people who make it annoying. The last edition of my school’s Forge newspaper pointed out flawed users like the ones who update their “statuses” every second, take pictures with all of their feet in a circle, thinking they are artsy and alternative (I have been there), and have 5,000 “friends.” (Those are the ones who add you as a friend just because you share a city.) However, for me, the greatest part is the whole process of “updating relationships.” When two people start dating, they feel an obligation to post it on Facebook; you know, so there is no confusion. When they eventually break up (hopefully not because of risque pictures or flirty wall posts), they must “end their relationship” online and notify their hundreds of friends. Things can get pretty public.
My sister’s roommate at Berkeley dated one of the creators of Facebook. My sister’s attitude toward him was … ambivalent, but I never met him, so I can only imagine what he is like, and whether he is in fact a clever Satan or just clever. I bounce between the two ideas, knowing the latter is definitely true, but the first isn’t so clear. On one hand, the site seems harmless. It is just a way for friends to share pictures, a way to connect with childhood friends, a way to send 300 people information with one click. But you can’t deny the fact that it feeds off of procrastination and vanity, among other things. Millions of people were just waiting for a way to be amused and gossip as a break from say, writing a column or essay. And it is so strategically planned, with its pleasant hues of blue and catchy but personal lingo.
But in all seriousness, Facebook isn’t at fault; its users are. We have proved that technology is both a virtue and a vice, a blessing and a curse, etc., etc. Our interests, or weaknesses, were clear to the creators. So they used us to make a profit. And we don’t care. Facebook is fun, it’s useful, and it doesn’t seem like it will go anywhere soon. It is a genius social-networking system and a complete distraction.