Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap

July 3, 2013 at 10:00 am | Posted in Challenges | 2 Comments
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Flickr photo by Andrew Feinberg

Flickr photo by Andrew Feinberg

Did you know that Facebook started on February 4, 2004? That was four months before I graduated high school and six months before I started my own collegiate journey.

I remember the early days of Facebook (obviously.) I don’t know how I heard about it, exactly. I think I was hesitant to join because at the time, I had MySpace and was comfortable with one social media platform. These were the days BEFORE social media was even a word used in everyday language. If you said “social media” to 18-year-old me, I would say, “social what?”

Anyway, I joined Facebook because it was only for college students and my new roommate had joined. I actually had to verify, with a college email address, that I was a college student. I believe it didn’t even include photos at first, as the first photos of me on there are from sophomore year of college (2005.)

When I got to Penn State, I LOVED Facebook. It was a world just for us. We could post boozy photos from the frat party, and the only people that saw it was our other alcohol-loving classmates  and similar-aged friends.

And then they opened the floodgates, and allowed everyone in.

I honestly think that was Zuckerberg’s first mistake.

Now, I like Facebook for only one thing: To stay connected with the people I care about, make career connections and find out more about businesses.

The fakery on Facebook is just a continuation of high school hijinx and petty relationships. OF COURSE all of my high school friends, who abandoned me right after I left my little hometown, want to add me on Facebook. And I dealt with that for a while.

One of my first photos on Facebook. Nov. 2005. Photo by Bethany Fehlinger.

One of my first photos on Facebook. Nov. 2005. Photo by Bethany Fehlinger.

Facebook has an instinct for bringing you down, self-esteem and well-being. Does the program showcase your nearest and dearest on the Wall, in addition to some encouraging people you decided to follow? HELL NO! They make sure you feel insecure, fat, out-of-touch, poor and a lazy ass.

Plus, the social media platform regularly changes its privacy settings aka yours, so you have to go and fix it every few months. This is always a good time for an old-fashion weeding of friends and likes.

Unfortunately, many people still use Facebook so it is a place to go when I need to find out more about a business or organization. It is a great place to keep up with events, as the calendar is handy and creating an event is easy. And the groups are cool, as I am connected with York County Vegans this way, and giving regular tips and starting conversations with these people is truly awesome.

With my fiance’s family living far away, it is awesome to share photos and life updates.

But this is where it gets tricky: If I make my posts public, anyone with computer knowledge can see that post. I have to tag the posts the correct way. However, if, say, my mother-in-law posts a photo, not even of me, but tags me in it because “she wants me to see it,” then everyone I know sees the photos — despite the fact that I am not even in it.

And in the latest, stupid move by Facebook: If I comment, like or do ANYTHING is any post, even if it wasn’t my post to begin with, that action is immediately pushed onto the walls of each and every one of my friends. Yup. So no question is safe, no like is hidden. Before, I was safe to ask about fat burners to body-building experts; now, some people with a grudge against me can see that post and then make a mockery of me elsewhere.

I now call Facebook an invasion of privacy, drastically changing from its humble beginnings.

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