Friday, December 10, 2010

Social Phenomena: Facebookingyourlifeaway

Within the past couple decades, new terminology has emerged from the cave of unrevealed vocabulary. The internet had already revealed new phrases like "surfing the web," "chatting," or "emailing." These terms became common place in a society that became more and more dependent on computers and the internet.

It wasn't long until Facebook emerged, inventing verbs like Facebooking or Facebookstalking or Facebookingyourlifeaway. College students were so desperate for acceptance into the Facebook community that they were willing to give out every bit of information about themselves. Peer pressure forced them to reveal their true selves by indicating their name, gender, birthday, romantic interests, hobbies, favorite books, favorite movies, et cetera. What was once only known by the closest of friends was exposed to the blob of persons entitled, "Facebookfriends."

It was hard to really consider someone a true friend if they weren't your Facebookfriend. People were heard to say, "Well I didn't invite you to my party because you're not on Facebook. I organize all my events via Facebook." Many succumbed to the pressure of joining Facebook in order to save their friendships.

Nevertheless there were still the few vigilantes who refused to accept the change of tide and join Facebook. These rebels adamantly told others that they "Don't believe in Facebook." Facebook users had trouble understanding this. How could society run without Facebook? It's so easy to keep up with your friends and even helps build new friendships. The Facebook rebels held firm, stating that Facebook devalues true friendship.

Of course, they had a good point. People started learning about others' interests by reading each other's Info page. They showed affection for one another via electronic Pokes. Two friends sitting beside each other, Facebookingtheirlivesaway, said things like, "Nice. I like your status you just posted." As time progressed people started having hundreds or even thousands of Facebookfriends. Being friends on Facebook no longer meant anything. To be Facebookfriends with someone was to have met them at one point in your life.

In many cases, Facebook changed how friendships formed. In the olden days, people asked each other for phone numbers and then called each other to get together to spend time with each other. Nowadays, people say, "I'll find you on Facebook." Once the Facebook connection is made, they start to exchange messages or chat, then they get together to spend time with each other.

It was less intimidating to find someone on Facebook than it was to ask for their phone number. It took no effort. There was no risk. You had the instant satisfaction of having a new "friend." Alone on Friday nights, you could nurture your loneliness by Facebookstalking your "friends," imagining that you were actually building a friendship. And then you realized that you were the only person on Facebook on a Friday night. Reality set in.

Facebook is not the reality of true friendship. Perhaps it's a good tool that can be useful for building a friendship, but can often just be something we run to when what we really need is a real friend. I think Facebook is a great tool, but sometimes we take it to be more than what it should be. Of course, I am slightly exaggerating about all this, but it at least makes you think.

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