No substitute for social bonding
During the fall semester a few of my friends began to deactivate their Facebook profiles. Before I realized it, my entire house was deactivated on the social media site except for me. At that point I didn’t really care to have a Facebook. I’m not really into stalking random people and thought that I, too, would be able to deactivate without withdrawal. That’s false. When I first deactivated it, I was in a constant state of wondering what meaningless crap people were up to. I didn’t care to know, but I had to know — it was something that had become more or less a bad habit, or an addiction of some sort. So, for a time, my friends and I were off of Facebook and essentially off the grid. We weren’t on Facebook — it was like we didn’t exist. We became the house that had to be texted or verbally told about a party because a Facebook invite couldn’t be made.
For about two months, people couldn’t find me or know what I was up to for about two months unless they emailed, texted, called or saw me in person. I’d much rather someone ask me how my day was than find out about it through a Facebook status or a photo I posted. I feel as though social networking sites are making people less personable. Asking a simple question, like how someone’s day was, may become obsolete — people are too invested in letting others know everything about their lives. And they’re not limited to Facebook. They have Twitters, Instagrams and Tumblrs, too. It’s all out there — an endless sea of useless, meaningless jargon for people and, God forbid, a future employer to see. It's not completely meaningless, obviously, or else these social networking sites wouldn’t be making billions of dollars (R.I.P. Myspace, Xanga and all the rest). The point is, some things should just remain private. Allow me to ask you how your day was without having read about it in a status.
After spending two months away from the site, I noticed that Facebook introduced something called Graph Search, a new way for users to search for what people are up to using keywords. People can now search their friends to see how many of them like “the beach," for instance. Stalking people is now easier than ever, so thank you Facebook, for finding creative ways to make a profit. Being able to search for what people are up to makes the status, photo, check-in, whatever it was that was posted, even less personable. No one just searches for something because they care to know that you like hiking or enjoy playing video games all day.
When I got back onto Facebook, I also realized that there were, in fact, things that I missed out on, and not all of is meaningless. I guess Facebook has given meaning to things that once would not have mattered. Places people had gone and things they had done without having known otherwise if not for Facebook. It’s weird that we need a social networking site to tell us things, but that’s what it does — it connects you with your friends and does a great job, at that. Although Facebook’s great at keeping in touch with friends, nothing beats having a conversation in person or over the telephone. It’s more personal and meaningful when someone puts time and effort into that one conversation versus being sidetracked by multiple conversations and mindless jargon on social networking sites. Social networking sites may keep you connected with people, but they don’t nourish lasting relationships. You’re gonna have to pick up the phone.
Yashmin Patel is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science and journalism and media studies. She is the University Editor of The Daily Targum.
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