So I’ve been off Facebook for a little over 3 months now.
I am still [relatively] connected to my life, albeit a little behind on the party invites & details from time to time. (with some slight bumps and bruises that I’ll write about at a later date)
Still a functioning person.
Would definitely not classify myself as a Luddite (as I type from my MacBook, while listening to iTunes and sipping Diet Dr. Pepper from Chick-Fil-A).
I’ve noticed in the past few months many articles coming out about this very topic; lots of twenty-somethings and other-somethings are jumping off the social Mecca bandwagon and for a lot of the same reasons.
It’s got me wondering; are we looking at the beginning of the end?
It wasn’t all that long ago that we were all on Myspace, thinking it couldn’t get any better than this! I have just confirmed that I do, in fact, still have a Myspace presence floating around on the interwebz:
A special moment in time, captured forever. (or a least until I can figure out how/remember to delete it). It seems that several of my “friends” do as well:
(if I’m going down, I’m taking the unfortunate 14 of you, still on my top whatever, with me.)
Lest we forget, friends, it was NOT all that long ago. We all thought Myspace was the best thing ever invented. Some of us used it to craft the perfect perception of our selves, carefully choosing what to put in our profiles that would make us the epitome of cool. Some of us used it to hook up. Some of us used it to lower the stakes during that first introduction with the cute boy in our college English class, and others used it to muddy the waters of what actually constitutes as flirting… hypothetically speaking, of course. We were instantly connected to friends thousands of miles away and we all couldn’t help but feel cooler with the rising of our friend counts. I don’t know about you guys, but I thought Myspace was an immovable institution — it wasn’t going anywhere. Yet, almost comically, it all but disappeared. I can’t even remember when I stopped using it. I remember wanting Facebook a lot, in the beginning, because I was a college student but for some reason my community college wasn’t recognized on the site. What an idea! A college-aged only version of Myspace! Eventually I was let in the club and I lived a double social-media life for a while. But somewhere along the line, I made the switch, and Myspace went the way of those reject toys from Toy Story.
Could this be the beginning of that same thing for Facebook? Probably not, at least not quite in the same way, because we don’t have another alternative slowly seeping into our brains to take control of our entire lives… but I digress. What I am saying though, is I think the times, they are a-changin’. Some people are starting to think twice about how they spend their time and what they share with the world. This is probably a pretty good, albeit small, thing. Because social media has been a HUGE ASS game changer.
Often times, when I’m remembering the old days and boring younger people with the tales of my harsh, cave-like youth filled with the special joys of cordless phones, passing notes IN CLASS, because we didn’t have cell phones & walking to school without shoes, I will remind them that when I was in high school we didn’t have social networking. We had livejournal.
(I’ll allow you a moment to recover from the involuntary anxiety-induced cringe that I’m sure just shot through your body as you remembered you have a livejournal/xanga/deadjournal, etc., somewhere, publicly chronicling the idiotic, self-obsessed problems and crushes of your adolescence.)
We did not have this fear-conquering tool of anonymity via social networks. Even though we did write diary entries with vague commentary on the people we knew, and some of us could have won awards for the most fabulously passive-aggressive away messages on our AIM profiles, we were still responsible for what we did. We still knew that it was real life. Somewhere between snarky AIM profiles and Facebook though, we lost touch with reality. Our kids are still losing what little touch they have left, at an alarmingly rapid pace. They have cultivated this mindset that if it’s not happening in brick-and-mortar life, e.g. two people having a conversation face-to-face, then it’s not really real. How did this happen?! Haven’t we exposed each other to enough reality tv to know that once it’s out there, it’s out there?!
(I mean, all my Phillies hating friend can ever say about Cole Hamels is something along the lines of his ” Survivor wife… stripped for peanut butter… the Phillies suck.”) This woman is married to a World Series MVP pitcher and this is all people can remember about her.
But seriously though, if it is happening when you’re awake… IT’S REAL LIFE. Maybe we should take this opportunity to step back and examine how we’re evolving as a culture. Are we still in control? Are we really? Because I am not so sure that we are. We don’t see an immediate physical threat, so we deem it safe. Our kids know more about it than our parents and I don’t even want to KNOW the statistics on how many kids have posted/texted naked pictures of themselves to someone else. This is a problem. I am (one month shy of) 26 years old and I have never, ever posted a naked picture of myself anywhere. That does not immediately strike me as a wondrous feat, yet somehow it is. Somehow, not all of our kids can say the same thing. What the f, guys? How did this happen? Why do young kids have unprecedented access to YouTube… not just watching but posting?! What the hell? Where are the parents of the world? Someone needs to create a learning annex class on technology for all these soccer moms that teaches them how to spy on their kids via Facebook, in addition to all the girls they hated & boys they had crushes on in high school.
Ok, I’m going to admit that this post isn’t totally linear. I didn’t edit it, or outline it beforehand. My bad, guys. But this stuff is important and I felt inspired to write tonight. We need to keep talking about social media and the internet. And not just about things that are funny, but about real things. Like how it’s changing the way we interact with one another and how kids are less kids and more mini-teenagers/insecure people in-training at the age of 8, when we give them internet access.
I’m just sayin’.