Facebook has changed again, and I can understand the frustration that comes along with all their updates. Yes, it means it is a very well-run site, but it also takes sense of control away from the person. The profile cannot be personalized visually. It makes us all very uniform except for what we write about on our profile and our wall posts.
Back in 2005, when I joined, there were no “statuses.” It was only for college kids, but messaging and writing on others’ walls was possible. I found Facebook more addicting back then because you had to work harder to get your stalking done. Now, everything’s on one page and I can be friends with my local radio station or news station, my library, and the tire shop down the road. Wow. Even my internship, a planning organization, has one. It’s obviously great for marketing, and I like getting heads-up from TCBY and Dairy Queen about deals and coupons, but we all have to face the fact that Facebook has been Dorkified. Hooray. I just became a fan of Meijer grocery stores.
I love my family to death, but the fact that every one of them can see not only what I write for my statuses, but what everyone writes on my wall, does not help my paranoia. Are people judging me? What would they say if I said this stuff to their face? I feel the cliche postmodern isolation by the fact that everyone knows I’m now engaged and Catholic but I never got to read their faces or see their excitement in person.
It’s innocuous, really, just like garbage is innocuous except when you hoard it and let it take over your life. I’m talking about the status updates. I wish we didn’t have them. I wish Facebook would’ve let Twitter be unique in that way, not grabbing the best parts of every social networking site. I don’t mind that people are looking forward to the weekend, or that they’re “having a relaxing weekend with my boys!” (son and husband), but when that is filling up the Facebook page, and when I voluntarily subject myself to reading blurbs about other peoples’ lives, it makes everything seem meaningless and me feel lonely. I also don’t think Americans needed another way to feel self-important. Do we really need to write this stuff in order to feel validated? Does writing about a bad day make it better? Does writing about a good day make it more of a good day?
This has become a list of my pet peeves, so one more: why do people ask other people questions they could find out through Google? I understand asking questions about someone’s life or project or whatever, but asking someone what the movie they “just watched and loved” was about is really redundant. GOOGLE IT! Better yet, look it up on Rotten Tomatoes!
We all have a relationship with conformity, and Facebook illustrates it so well. (So do weddings, I’m realizing, but save that for another post). Most people like to conform, some like to go against the grain, but all of us should realize the extent to which we conform on Facebook and what we all subject ourselves to. Most of it is unnecessary. Sign out, once in a while, and live your life.