Out with the old and in with the new.
This seems to be the ever-so popular theme for technological communication websites. Out with Friendster. In with Thefacebook. I must say, as an ex-Friendster user, I was obsessed with how one website could connect so many people I knew, and who they knew and so on.
It was that game of “geography” that everyone hates so much, yet loves at the same time, right on your computer and invading your bedroom. Friendster was introduced to me last year, by an insistent friend that I “had to get with it,” and jump on the bandwagon. So I did. I checked it every day for a few weeks, then a few times a week, then a few times every few weeks. Now, it’s once in a blue moon.
What’s new now is Thefacebook. As pointless a website as it may be, it’s hard to stay away from it once you get hooked. With easy access to students at your university who are registered members, it’s impossible not to peruse the site or “global search” your friends from high school, summer camp and other random places when you’re extremely bored. It’s not really conducive to making new friends, more like re-instating the friends you do have.
One of my roommates likes to compete with me about how many “friends” she has. She also likes to create “groups” that are semi-hilarious and relate to our group of friends’ private jokes and things that interest us. I found out when talking to a different friend the other day that Thefacebook has slowly trickled its way into pop-culture vocabulary; I said, “Do you know who Joe Smith is that goes to the University of Michigan?” Her answer? “Why? Did he Facebook you?” And keep in mind these friends of mine happen to be intelligent, well-respected individuals.
Facebook has now made itself into part of our young adult lives and has done so fast. I found that on my birthday two months ago, I received random messages from ex-classmates, study abroad friends and people of the sort who sent me a friendly “happy birthday!” message on Facebook instead of a traditional phone call, card or e-mail. It has now turned into another thing I have to check besides voice mail or e-mail. How many of these things do I really need? But how can I stay away? It’s a great break from typing a paper or doing research, that’s for sure.
If you like someone of the opposite sex, you can “poke” them on the website, which has absolutely no meaning to it and says so in the FAQ. I find myself at the bar sometimes recognizing someone who has “facebooked” me, and in a drunken haze saying “hey, you’re my Facebook buddy!” How embarrassing.
Even many of those who swore they would “never sign up for that crap,” are now avid users. Junkies. One in particular loved it so much he became a member of several groups and began hastily posting comments on each page.
No, this isn’t the website for you if you’re looking for something serious and full of intelligent information. But it is for you if you’re a “normal” college student with a decent sense of humor and if you often find yourself perusing the Internet while you could be doing something more productive. You don’t have to outwardly admit that you like it: everyone knows you do.
Lindsay Zuckerman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior majoring in journalism.