9.03.2009

It's not you, it's me, Facebook

I have this funny habit of picking up a trend when its too late. Like I’m the world’s father and once I start doing something, it’s no longer cool. Like in 5th grade, I was the last person to get a Starter jacket (Dallas Cowboys, like I even cared) before they went south.

But there are a few things that I have gotten in on the ground floor on. Track jackets (you’re welcome, men aged 13-28), the RZR phone, the following Rachel Zoe video (thank you, reader Patricia!)


and Facebook.

Remember back in the day when Facebook was only available to college students because it started in college? My school was one of the first colleges (after Harvard, because Lord knows I was not smart enough to get in there) to get Facebook in March of 2004. I can distinctly recall walking out of the dining hall and hearing everyone talking about this new website called “The Facebook”. Because, if you remember, you originally had to go to "thefacebook.com”. And like a true freshman, I talked about it with my friends to make sure they were going to join before joining myself.


And while there were only a few colleges online at this juncture, that still added up to a sizable population of co-eds to stalk. Who is that cute guy in your Intro to Econ class? Find him on Facebook. What about the total bitch who sits next to you in World Civ? Facebook. I was frequently up until 4 AM accompanied by all my new friends on Facebook. And whenever the homepage updated with new colleges added, I’d see if I knew anyone who went there so I could friend them right away. Which would always be followed by some witty “Welcome to Facebook! Say goodbye to your social life!” wall post.

Because it was true. I gave Facebook an inordinate amount of my time in college. Granted, my life in college consisted of about 12 hours of class a week and 156 hours of God-knows-what-but-usually-Facebook. But still, not only could you stalk people you’d never met, you could make groups, see what parties people were going to, etc. It was amazing.

But that was the thing about Facebook way back when. It was like a club that you had to wait to be granted access. Like Studio 54 without the AIDS. And everyone knows word of mouth is the best publicity (see Season 3, Episode 7 of Ugly Betty, namely “The Roof. Be there.”) so if everyone on campus is talking about Facebook, you aren’t going to want to be the only one who has no idea what they are talking about. “What do you mean it’s now just facebook.com? I never even knew about thefacebook.com” See? It just sounds like someone waiting for their lunch money to be taken.

For a while, Facebook was my number one most visited non-adult website. You could enjoy all the stalking you wanted in the privacy of your dorm room. 99.9% of colleges were online, so you were guaranteed to have already found everyone you knew from high school and were able to laugh at the misfortune of some and feel overwhelmingly jealous of others. As long as you had a valid college email address, you were welcome to stalk your little heart out. (Sidebar: I was always personally opposed, however, to the pre-frosh who joined Facebook with their college emails before they ever set foot on campus. Sure, you have a college email, but unless you’ve already skipped a class solely because you were too busy stalking, you can’t have more than 100 friends yet. I’m sorry but you just can’t.)

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, they went and let the riff raff in.

When I heard from the gossip mill that Facebook was expanding to high schools, I was in no way pleased. What right do high schoolers have to be on Facebook? Shouldn’t they be studying specifically so that they could get into college so they could thus use their school email address to join Facebook?! Isn’t that what America is about?! Then came the first Facebook facelift which did not go over well with the general populace, myself included. Then applications started to be added. Then another facelift. More applications. And ads. All of a sudden, anyone can join. Studio 54 just opening its doors to homeless men off the street. Now Studio 54 has become Times Square. All glitz, no glamour, and certainly no exclusivity.

What really put the nail in Fbook’s coffin for me is the sudden influx of my family members online. First and foremost, my Facebook marriage has already caused a problem with one of my cousins, who believed she was left off the guest list to my wedding. Secondly, I don’t know how comfortable I am with my aunts and uncles looking at pictures of me drunk at numerous parties over the years. This could lead to a variety of awkward Thanksgiving conversations, including, but not limited to “How exactly do you play flip cup? You seem to be very good at it.”

After graduating, I thought I’d spend a lot more time on Facebook than I have. Those friends that I want to keep in touch with, I can Gchat with (God willing, barring another unfortunate server overload). Anyone beyond that, I’ve got their phone numbers. For me, the novelty of Facebook has worn off. “Facebook me” is no longer a cute way to make friends. It still happens, but it’s a lot harder to bump into your new Facebook friend in a city full of millions of people than it is on a campus of 1,000. In short, what I’m driving at might seem like a crazy idea to most of you, but I think I might be quitting Facebook. Is this as crazy as it sounds?

38 comments:

Angelle said...

I quit. Best decision I've ever made...

Katie said...

AH! I've been having this EXACT EXACT debate with myself the past few weeks... I might actually offload myself. We can do it together. Hold hands and jump...

Anonymous said...

I agree with every single thing you said. The only positive step forward facebook ever made was adding photos (yes kids, there used to be facebook without picture tagging). Too bad I still can't quit it.

2 Birds, 1 Blog: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

A kid who lived on my floor sophomore year just got married in the most Fiddler on the Roof style wedding I've ever seen and I am 100% free to parooze his wedding pics.

And that is why I'll never delete my facebook account.

2 Birds, 1 Blog: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

UM. More importantly I was just paroozing facebook and saw photographic evidence that the kid who lived next door to me sophomore year was an actor in this year's RenFest.

Maybe enough said.

Bren said...

haha great post...my colleges was one of the first to get facebook too and remember all my friends from home had no idea what i was talking about...o the good old days of facebook...love your blog!

Caitlin said...

Chris honey, it's not you, it IS Facebook. They just want to see how much they can abuse you before you have the strength to quit - if you ever do.

And by the way, if you want devote another hundred hours to it, the friend groups really do help. You can put all your family members/people you don't want seeing everything in a group then disallow them access. You can do custom visibility for every photo album and only allow certain friends to see them. That way they can be your friend but not see your photos. It's just a pain in the ass to set up.

Jennifer said...

Totally agree. But I must keep it. It's hilarious to see how everyone from HS & College has destroyed their lives.

Pre-freshmen joining is utterly annoying. Who are you and why do you want to be my 'friend'?!

Getting request 2 years after you've graduated even better. HA!

A said...

i miss when facebook was just for college kids. was so great in those days. the days of no applications.. no moms leaving paragraphs on your wall.. no degrading elementary school pictures... ugh.

Anonymous said...

amen! thank god someone else remembers the glory days when it was THE facebook. my school was the second to be added... it was SUCH an exclusive stalkers' club back in the day and it should have stayed that way. i too have toyed with the idea of quitting because it's become so lame (and so full of people i'm related to) BUT as meg sagely points out, the stalking opportunities are still plentiful. and i can't just let that go. decisions decisions...

JKreids said...

Quit FB, you son of a butcher. Really, it's not cool anymore and I sometimes want to quit it too. My grandpa joined last week. My grandpa who is a dairy farmer in rural Pennsylvania. I love him, duh, but don't want him seeing pictures of me while I pop lock and drop it...

Margo said...

I'm way too much of a creep to ever delete Facebook, despite all of its abuses. More importantly, did anyone else have a complete breakdown when Gmail crashed on Tuesday? Just me?

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I too miss The Facebook glory days. Reallllay hit its stride circa 2005/2006. Now it's a holy mess - can't even do it, can't even do it.

RIP Facebook. I knew you well.

Chris said...

Angelle and Caitlin - You have both strengthened my resolve immensely.

Katie - I'll jump if you jump. We can be the Thelma and Louise of Facebook.

Anon #1 - I totally didn't remember not being able to tag photos. You are a wise sage.

Bren, A, and Anon #2 - Whattup VIP room of Studio 54 aka thefacebook.com!

Jennifer - I started a group that was very anti-pre-frosh on Fbook. Fact!

JKreids - I will keep my facebook account solely to find pics of you popping, locking, and/or dropping it. But preferably all three.

Margo - You are not alone. I was haywire when Gmail conked out the other day. I was like a meth addict, scratching myself, waiting for another hit.

Anonymous said...

Meg, I love you but you do know it's peruse not parooze, right?

OMFG Facebook, what would I do at work if I deleted you...I mean..what?

Thank God something good came out of those Harvard educations!

2 Birds, 1 Blog: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

Well fuck me.

lupyles said...

All this did was make me want to go get on Facebook. Clearly, I cannot give it up, even though I know (and have discussed with my friends) there will come a day when it will happen. Probably when that whole "middle age" thing occurs. But until then, I wish I could quit the Facebook.

Bridget said...

I died a little bit inside the day my mother wrote on my wall.

jessie said...

I would keep facebook solely for the scrabble. But so help the facebook gods if I'm sent another mafia wars request.

Anonymous said...

well, MY dad commented on my status last night. right after the guy i met in the club and the other guy whose friend request i accepted bc his pictures showed his abs. why don't our parents realize that we can never be (facebook) friends?

andrea said...

i was just thinking about how the last 10 friend requests have been people's moms facebook friending me. i don't want to be friends with people from high school's moms.

however, the stalking is still useful if you're in college.

Annie said...

i got out after the first face lift. too many people all up in my business! i quit that thing faster than i quit your mom.

James said...

I've considered quitting it, but the wench keeps pulling me back... kinda like your mom.

Anonymous said...

Once Facebook took away scrabbulous I just sort of abandoned it.

Carly said...

When it came to deleting my MySpace account last year, there were certainly no tears shed on my part. But Facebook? It's a love/hate relationship. I wish I wasn't addicted!

Brittan said...

This exactly chronicles my facebook experience. Except that I left back in December. Because I'm cooler than you. ta-dow!

Heather said...

There's nothing I hate more than censoring my status updates because I was too nice to deny my Mormon neighbor's friend request.

Laurie said...

I don't think I could ever quit facebook. I've had it since back about the 2004/2005 timeframe, and i just have too much fun finding the most random people on there (preschool, what?) But it is seriously a pain having to censor everything I say and do on there otherwise i get a 10 min interogation from my mom the next day about it. ugh!

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Anonymous said...

Son of a butcher, this post is vying for the 2nd Smug Pug award, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

ahhh I was one of the first FB users too-- did you go to BU by any chance?

2 Birds, 1 Blog: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

He went to BC.

Son of a butcher, this post is vying for the 2nd Smug Pug award, isn't it?

That made me laugh.

Cheong Hao said...

I dont really touch my facebook a lot. I wonder why my friends always played those quizes that are available. I find all of those so boring. What is the use of playing all those fake quizes made by the computer.

sFunn.com said...

ya facebook ...
is a bit addictive...
though i control it to a good
extent...

LaraS said...

NOT EVEN CLOSE to crazy. I am with you. I'm not quitting, but I'm definitely not all about the facebook. To be honest, though, I never really was. I stick to my analogy that Myspace is fantasy internet (aka-what the internet was made for) while Facebook is reality internet...which sucks just as much as actual reality. I really should quit, though, as I find myself anxiously awaiting status updates from people I don't give a fuck about at all.

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