It’s sort of like our generation’s one historical question: Where were you when Facebook began?
I just watched “The Social Network” and it jogged my memory. I remember being in college and hearing about Facebook during a club meeting I was attending. Our club officers took their turns approaching the podium as always, taking care of various tasks. The final officer gripped the podium and began telling us about this mysterious Facebook thing. It went something like this:
Blonde Officer: So. There’s this thing called Facebook. It’s like, really cool because you can leave messages for each other and see people’s profile pictures. There are groups you can be part of and it’s really cool.
Blonde Officer: But the only way our University can be a part of it is if we petition to have our school added. So go to this website (clicks on to a powerpoint with the website) and say your want our University added. OK? It’s going to be cool.
Me: (Still blinking)
I scooped up my things, confused, yet intrigued about this whole “Facebook” thing. I burst into my dorm and told my roommate all about it. She was somewhat intrigued too, so I jumped on my computer and did the petition thing. It seemed like only a few days later our University was accepted, and thus began my relationship with “Facebook.”
I was seeing my “friend request” box fill up every day with old high school buddies and my new college friends. It was such an exhilarating feeling to know that all of these people wanted to be in contact with me! I went down the row of friend requests and happily clicked, “Accept request, Accept Request, Accept Request.” My friend numbers were growing by the day. 52. 84. 100 (Can you believe it? 100!) 134. 200 (Oh my gosh, 200!)
That was then. This is now. Flash forward 5-6 years and I view my “Facebook” account very differently…
I’m half way to 50 (25) and I don’t really want everyone in my business. When I get a “Friend Request” now, here’s how it goes…
Me: Friend request? Hmmmm who did I meet in the last week that isn’t already my “friend?” (I click and see that it’s someone from high school I haven’t seen in 6 years. I’m not even sure that I was friends with this person when I was in high school. (I went to a large high school) No. No, I’m going to deny this friend because I’m not sure I want a stranger looking at my vacation pictures. No, I don’t think so. I feel bad but, come on.
That got me thinking. I have over 300 friends. Are there more people on here that shouldn’t be knowing my personal business? I begin to scroll through my “friends.” It was amazing how many people were on there that I didn’t even know! Megan…. Megan… who the hell is Megan? I click on her picture and it still doesn’t ring a bell. “Remove Friend.” That’s right. I did it. I removed a friend. And do you know what? It felt GOOD! Hmmm, who else needs to be removed? There were so many people on my Facebook account that I haven’t seen or spoken to in at least 5 years that I didn’t even get through the A’s. It was liberating to clean up my Facebook account. It was also a little creepy. A lot of these people I didn’t even recognize, yet they had access to my personal information and pictures. (Note: I am super careful about what information I put out there. I do not list my hometown, work place, or address) But it was weird to me that these now strangers had seen my photos and read the comments I made to my friends.
Plus, I was getting annoyed with status updates every day from people I could care less about. Do I really need to know that Mackenzie had yet ANOTHER horrible day? NO! Who the heck is Mackenzie? Someone who is really down and out every day that I apparently once knew. “Remove Friend.” Do I need to know how far along Pam is with her pregnancy? Every day I got an ultrasound picture up on my Newsfeed sharing publicly that she was 24 weeks and that the baby was now the size of a cantaloupe. Ew. I don’t know you and I certainly don’t feel privileged enough to know how big your fetus is. “Remove Friend.”
From age 20 to age 25 Facebook has changed in my eyes. I don’t need to accept everyone’s friend request. I’m much more careful about who is considered a “friend” on Facebook. I don’t need a high number of “friends” to prove myself. I’m working a little bit each weekend to remove some friends that aren’t even my friends. I just would like to simplify my life a little more and keep my true circle of friends involved in my life, not the world.
So here are some final thoughts I’ll leave with my halfwayto5o readers:
Where were you when Facebook began? Have you changed the way you “Facebook” as you’ve gotten older, no, as you’ve gotten more mature?