Shocking News About Facebook! (Read if you DARE!)

I have made some startling revelations about Facebook. This may surprise you. In fact, it may put you in a state of shock. Maybe even terror when you hear what I have to say. But first, I’d like to take a little trip to 1995, give or take.

AOL was King. Chatrooms were becoming so common that people slowly slipped into an abyss. Online chatting began to take the place of real life, and people set their watches by what time their friends would be online. Is that 8 PM my time or yours? This new wave of technology caused a paradigm shift in social interaction.

When I was in my mid-teens, having been a bit of an introvert in the real world, I found my comfort zone in chat rooms. I could be myself.  In a time where primary phones were mostly land line, I’d sit by the phone, waiting for a crush to call. Meanwhile, I was wasting my life away and even missed a party over a call that never came. And, of course, being disappointed by real-life drama, I found a sort of safety and escape through online chat. And not that I went out much as it was, being a shy ugly-duckling, but I became a complete Anti-Social Butterfly all around, using the Net to gain life experiences.

Then came Myspace. I even have a shirt that says, “Get Out Of Myspace!” with a computer mouse on it. I wore it all the time to show my love of this new revolution in social networking. But after a while, it faded. Not the shirt, which is still as dull-blue-grey as the day I got it, but Myspace itself. Myspace was great! As a writer, I could blog about whatever I wanted. It was a playground for me. And me alone. Sure, I interacted with people, but I felt that it was a place where I could talk about whatever I wanted. Sometimes, it’s easy to get a bit personal when you feel that something is “my space”. I’d blog about things that irritated me. When I felt down. When I felt happy. As opposed to chatrooms, I would set up dates to go out with friends and blog about it the first chance I got! It was like a scrapbook, customised with things I loved such as badges, layouts, pictures I took. It was also a diary I sometimes forgot was public. But the whole thing was about “Me Me Me”, and I can think of no subject more boring than that! I could see the entire Myspace community bonding together in narcissism, with myself being no exclusion. Sure, someone might read a blog and comment. But for the most part, most people were too busy blogging to care about anyone else’s pages but their own!

And then came Facebook. For quite some time, I’d had disdain for Facebook. Complete and utter disdain. It was taking over my beloved Myspace. What was it all about, anyway? What’s the point of it all? I had Myspace, why bother with Facebook? Then I realised what it was about. Networking, my friend. If you have a business or service, or something that you want to reach people, it may behoove you to set up an account. However, my personal outlook on technology was very limited. I love to learn about new things and had taken some time learning to navigate Myspace, but I didn’t know if I wanted to learn something that would take half my time to figure out. And for what? To post a status? No, thank you, Sir! It wasn’t like learning how to maintain a computer, about some new scientific revelation, or how to use new software that might help me to get a leg up in the world of writing. It wasn’t necessary to my existance, I didn’t see how it applied to my craft, and lacked the personal feel of Myspace. But, I finally decided to use Facebook in order to network and be with the In-Crowd of fellow writers. And then came Twitter. I hated what it stood for, which I thought at the time was another tsunami of changes in social networking, feeling it would obliterate Facebook just when I was getting used to it! I went through the same “complete and utter disdain, taking over my beloved Facebook, what’s it all about, now I have to learn something new” dialogue in my mind, coming to that oh-so familiar realisation that networking was important in the field of writing in this day and age. And, since I figured out how to link Twitter to Facebook, it’s made things a lot easier so that I didn’t have to post and re-post, and since WordPress is set up to automatically link your blogs to both, it was quite hassle-free!

I still long for Myspace, but after going back and seeing that it’s more difficult to navigate, is a lot like Facebook, and half of my friends have deleted their accounts, it’s just not the same. I want it the way it was, how I learned it and how I know it. And I hope that Justin Timberlake will make that bad boy popular again! But I did notice a few things with Facebook. (NOTE: This is not the shocking info I promised, but I’ll get to it!) For one, it provided a more social experience. “Hittin’ the clubs tonight. Anyone wanna join me?” “I had a rotten day. All I want to do is go home and go to SLEEP!” “Had fun with (insert name tag) and (insert name tag) at T.J. Shenanigans tonight!” Since you could post directly from your phone and take pics of the day or night’s events, you could just log on and post! However, while you were “hittin the clubs” with your friends, everyone would be texting and checking their Facebook pages to see what everyone else was up to. Is that really the social experience we all seek? Sitting around while everyone is texting? It was bad enough before texting when everyone was busy ignoring you while they chattered with their friends. We’ve all been there. But now that you can do just about everything from your phone, it has become an obsession of sorts. And since I don’t have texting or the Internet on my phone, I often feel alone in the world. It’s cold and dark there, and very, very lonely.

It’s strange. I’m more social than ever. I no longer wait for calls that may never come. I don’t worry about missing an online friend because I can always catch up with them on Facebook. But now that I actually go out, it seems that there’s a role reversal in some way. I’m still alone and even moreso than when I was busy chatting to my online friends. Now, everyone else is texting around me while I’m out in public with them! The difference is, I couldn’t take my PC with me or I would have been going to ball games and concerts and all kinds of stuff!

So, after learning Myspace, only to have it ripped from me, and then Facebook and Twitter, there has been yet another avalanche in this crazy, uncertain world of technology. Or more appropriately put, sociality. Yes, people of the world, this is the shocking news I promised. That is, if you’re still with me at this point. And that shocking news is: Timeline. And while it may not be news to many who are already using it with ease, and it may not really be a big shock, it’s shockingly huge news to me!

Whatever happened to simplicity? Familiarity? Whenever I get used to changes in e-mail, and the changes Facebook has undergone (particularly with posting pictures), BAM! They throw in something new! And now this? What I liked about Facebook in the beginning was it’s simplicity. It was easy to learn, navigate, and a breeze to see what your friends were up to. Now the posts are in some crazy little sidebar and I still haven’t gotten used to that one. Bit by painful bit, they’ve been adding things to make it “easier”. I can accept those subtle changes. I can deal with that and can figure it out in time. But my main goal is to network. To keep up with those around me and to post stories. And to do it simplistically. The designer of this new layout has forgotten what it was all about. Now, I go to someone’s page who has Timeline and I don’t know what’s what! I don’t even have it on mine. It’s just plain confusing!

So, I guess I have two choices. I could quit using Facebook completely. Or, I could regard Timeline with that same disdain I had for Facebook when I first signed up and ultimately relent to it and just learn the blasted thing. It will probably be a good while before I even use Timeline, and I imagine I’ll be one of the last to use it. And when I do, it won’t be happily! It will take me a while to get used to the idea, but it seems like it’s taking the “easy” out of the whole thing, thus making the whole online experience more of a chore when all I want to do is focus on writing and touch base with friends and readers!

If people weren’t so dependent upon Facebook, I would lead a boycott for everyone to stop using it until they changed it all back to the way it was. I know that isn’t going to happen. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, you may as well join ’em. Que sera.


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