I was in 9th grade when my friend persuaded me to get one. My family was moving to a new state, and everyone said Facebook, not Myspace, was the best way to get in touch.
I mean, yeah, I agree with the Myspace part. On Myspace you can have any pseudonym, from Hearty Cupcake Xoxo to ~*~*~the bomb~*. On Facebook, you must use your real name, or they delete your account. (Although there are some people who still don’t use their real names. But you won’t ever see something like ~*~the bomb*~, at least.)
So, okay, I got a Facebook. Back in 2007, Facebook wasn’t as popular. It was awesome. It was like finding a new safe haven, away from all the Myspace hogs and people who spam for comments. Similar to when a Marvel geek discovers comic conventions. Yes! My own kind at last!
Everything was really straightforward too. Facebook was similar to a blog. You update your status, you write on peoples’ Walls, and you exchange silly images of cartoon fish. Um, maybe that last part was only something my friends did.
Well, fast-forward 5 years later: Facebook has turned into a social network nightmare. Literally every single person and his stepmother has a Facebook account. Businesses try to advertise their companies, and people compete for Likes* and Comments*.
*In case you’re part of the 5% who don’t use Facebook (and good for you!), you might not know what likes and comments are. Basically, whatever someone posts on Facebook, be it a photo, a short blurb about what they’re doing, or a simple greeting, has the option of being commented and liked by others. Yep, this includes relationship updates, too.
Just a few days ago while hanging out with my friend, she complained to me that no one ever “Likes” her pictures. “I’m not going to upload anymore if nobody cares!” she said.
To be honest, the Likes and Comments are an ego-booster. I mean, think about it. You upload a picture of you in your new dress, and 1 hour later, 10 people have clicked Like. Of course it feels good, until you see the other girl had 50 Likes. Since the content we post on Facebook is rarely of merit and almost purely social, it can feel similar to a giant popularity contest. But, er, online.
Facebook used to be a place where one can create one’s profile in peace. List some favorite books, upload a few photos from the Disneyland vacation, etc. Unfortunately, those days are long past. At least WordPress will stay classy, right?