After a dry spell of activities or out of pure boredom, you may likely find me perusing the pages of Facebook. After my personal page is fixed up to my liking, I will probably be looking at the status-littered wall. What is that friend doing today? How about aunt so-and-so? The problem with this is I get addicted easily to the system. If I am not careful, I could spend 30 minutes to an hour catching up on the lives of my Facebook peers. It wouldn’t be a problem if these were all super close friends that would tell me what is going on with their lives regardless. But when many of these people are past friends from high school or college that I said goodbye to years ago, it’s like a class reunion every day. Not only can it get creepy, it gets worse when you link on to friends’ friends’ pages. Just because you can. An acquaintance of a friend could have excellent pictures from their trip around the world, and here I am taking a glimpse at their online life. It’s absolutely ridiculous and I am quite guilty of it. (When anyone admits to being a Facebook stalker, I always pretend that I am barely on the social media site. I lie.)
Facebook came out when I was in college, and that was when it was slowly making it to well-known universities across the country. When it finally hit the University of Northern Iowa, my dorm went gangbusters over the phenomenon. I refused to sign up and threw my “I’m too good for it” attitude into the ring (who are we kidding?). When I finally went with the crowd on this one, I was hooked … fast. I remember adding people from UNI that I had ran across on campus briefly but had never said a word to. One was this cute guy who was on the cross-country team. I remember encountering him when he came into the President’s Office, where I worked. Anyways, he added me, and I was curious. So I studied his page, his likes, his interests, and so on. One night, months later, I was at the O.P. bar with some girlfriends. He approached me and said that he had noticed me from across the room and wanted to know my name and if he could buy me a drink. After I told him my name, he was about to tell me his. Well, I had already had a few drinks and was feeling quite confident. So instead, I told him his name and what his interests were and what I had memorized from his page. After it dawned on him that I was a super creepy person, he said, “You’re weird” and left. I can say that we were no longer Facebook friends soon after the incident.
Over the years I have added and deleted so many people. Many because I don’t know them and others because they were being annoying. Yet, the addiction has continued. I have had a good friend delete her Facebook for the same problems I have had, and she hasn’t regretted doing so. Sometimes I think of doing the same or at least dwindling my friend count to just my family members, but something always keeps me from doing so.
Facebook has been a great hinderance as well as a fascination for me. When Hurricane Sandy came through my area, my mom was able to keep the rest of my family updated on my safety. I have been able to post pictures of my ongoings in NYC, and keep up with others of importance in my life. And all those cat videos – can’t stop watching. Yet, that creepy portion still exists, and while I could easily do something about it – I choose not to.
So, Facebook, what I must say to you in Brokeback Mountain-style is this: I can’t quit you.