Western Courier

Facebook: Breaking up is hard to do

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Facebook: Breaking up is hard to do

Beth Clothier

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Oh Facebook, keeper of all of our most precious photos and strongest connection to our family, friends, and those people we went to high school with that we really don’t care about but feel obligated to friend anyway. Oh, beloved go-between, distilling party invitations and updates on the most mundane things. How did we ever remain social before you came into our lives? How were we ever able to express our feelings before we met you and how were we able to go about our daily lives without constant reassurance that our every move was appreciated by those we love and admire?

“I’m having a banana,” one friend says, and we click the “like” button to apply a thumbs-up, as if we think it’s totally awesome he is getting his daily potassium intake. Meanwhile, we feel obligated to tell the world every single solitary thing that comes into our minds, which often seems a bit egregious, at best. It reminds me of a little something called the “infinite monkey theorem,” which states that given enough time, a monkey with a typewriter would eventually be able to produce Shakespeare’s plays. I don’t think the same could be said for the millions of people who use the social network on a regular basis.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m not guilty of these things. I’ve put some pretty vacuous status updates on Facebook in my time. And I often waver back and forth, trying to step away from the website’s vicious siren song. I tell myself I won’t sign in for a while, or that I don’t care what anyone else is doing; but before I’m even aware, I’m two hours in to a major Facebooking binge. I’m commenting on photos willy-nilly, writing on the walls of people I haven’t seen in ten years like we’ve never missed a beat, doing ridiculous surveys to find out which Power Ranger I would be or who would be on my Zombacolypse fighting team.

It’s not just Facebook that becomes such a time-suck, though it is easiest to vilify because it’s so recognizable to the college crowd. Three years ago, when I was strong-armed into making an account by a friend, I didn’t even want to deal with it. These days, it’s hard to imagine my life without it. Add to Facebook the lure of blog sites like Tumblr and my most recent Internet obsession Pinterest, and it’s hard to see how I, or anyone else for that matter, manage to get anything done in a day. Case in point: As I was sitting here writing this, one of my co-workers turned to me and said “If I don’t stop getting on Facebook, I’m never going to get this article written.”

It was then that I had one of those “a-ha” moments that I’ve heard mentioned in the past. You know, when a sudden bolt hits you, and choirs begin singing in the background. What if, just for one day, we all decided to stay completely away from Facebook? Not all at once, mind you, we don’t want our beloved site to crash. No, what I mean is, what if we individually took time away from Facebook, or Tumblr or YouTube, or whatever website it is that holds our interest, and actually spent that time with friends or, even more shocking, doing homework? Can you imagine the difference that might be made that if for just one day a week, we disconnected ourselves and focused on real life?

Maybe it’s a lot to ask. I know I’m starting to shake just thinking about not visiting Hulu for a day. However, chances are that whatever I miss on the day I’m away is still going to be there the next. That’s the good thing about the Internet: Things usually last forever, unless you start infringing on the rights of big business. Take a chance and unplug yourself. Your professors, if not the world, may thank you for it someday.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Facebook: Breaking up is hard to do