Confessions of a Facebook Addict
Facebook snuck up on me. I made a profile so I could check out some other people's and then I forgot about it. A couple days later I found a "friend request" in my inbox, and it all went downhill from there. I figured this was an up or down proposition: if I was going to have any "friends," I may as well have a bunch. Over the next couple days, I had "friended" at least fifty of my closest friends. Facebook was starting to take over my life. If I was online for any reason, I had to check my profile at least every five minutes. Sometimes I would just sit there, staring at it, and reloading the page to see if I had any new friends or "wall posts," the Facebook equivalent of comments.
Another thing that struck me about Facebook was the level of narcissisim. Because I didn't have a picture of myself on my computer, I used a Gap icon(you know, tall white letters on a dark blue background) as my profile picture. One of my friends asked me about it, and I jokingly told her that I wasn't self-important enough to plaster pictures of myself all over my Facebook. But I found some truth in that. Facebook is the ideal place for--what's the word for a person who wants other people to look at them? Oh yeah, I forgot, Paris Hilton. With Facebook, people can broadcast pictures of themselves, their political views, and favorite books, movies, and music, to the world. In other words, it would be an ideal way of keeping in touch with your grandmother. Except I don't think your Facebook friends, unlike your grandmother, want to see pictures of you on the toliet.
Another way Facebook users can brodcast themselves to the world is their "status." The "status" line starts out "[Your name here] is" and can then be filled in with trite phrases provided by Facebook("working," "in class," "sleeping," et cetera), or something of your own design. Right now, mine says "Amy is letting the good times roll." Thinking of what to put in your status is another way that Facebook eats up time that could be spent on more productive things. Like talking to people in real life.
Facebook is indeed part of a larger social phenomenon. Like YouTube, Facebook is a way that people can share their lives with the world. Except in Facebook's case, it's inane trivia instead of high-quality, educational videos of cats getting baths. Like MySpace and Friendster, Facebook is a social networking site. A social scientist would probably say that sites like these are symptoms of people's need to feel validated and important. But I'm not telling you how many times I checked my Facebook while writing this.