Facebook

The Facebook website itself has changed a great deal overtime, and as a result the way that it users use it and the role that it plays in their lives has changed as well. The website has become dramatically “smarter” overtime, evident in the way that it can collect data from what we post, who we interact with, and what we “like,” in order to give us the experience it thinks we want each time we log on. The person whose profile you have checked multiple times will show up more in your timeline, as well as people you have a lot of conversations with in your messages, or someone who has tagged you in a lot of photos. If a photo of one of your friends gets a lot of likes, it continuously appear in you timeline as if Facebook is peer pressuring you into contributing another like. In this way, Facebook has moved from a simple form of connecting and sharing with friends online to a mode of receiving validation via the phenomenon that is the like. This certainly has, affected the way that I utilize my Facebook profile. When I first got a Facebook in 7th grade, I was Facebook friends with people from my school, and maybe some family. I would post any pictures of me and my friends and the occasional status update along the lines of “ugh, school is soo annoying.” My profile picture would be whatever picture of me that I had on my computer and I would pay little attention to the 4 likes that it might have gotten. But now it’s quite different. I block my parents and other family members from viewing some of things I post to my friends. I’ve deleted all of the old photos of me that I don’t think look good. I don’t make daily updates about what I’m up to, but instead I make an occasionally post about something that is really important to me. I think about what I want to like and what I don’t because I know Facebook will tell my friends what I liked. My profile pictures are carefully chosen photos that I think represent me at my best, show me with the most significant people in my life, or represent an important event in my life. Now when I choose a new profile picture, cover photo, or post a link to an interesting article, I probably do this subconsciously on the basis of how many likes I think it’s going to get, as if that represents how much my peers approve of me and what I think. I can remember back to when I posted about my college decision to attend Emory and it was a crazy next couple of hours. There was a like notification popping up on my screen every ten seconds it seemed until there were nearly 300 total. It’s a giant influx of validation that, though I really don’t need it to feel secure and confident in myself, I can’t help but like the feeling. I don’t think most people, myself included, post to Facebook and Instagram looking for validation via likes, but I think it is part of what makes us keep posting and liking.

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One thought on “Facebook

  1. You have captured the true essence of this course—tying technology to the senses—while also chronologically describing the revolution of Facebook itself and of you as a Facebook user. I like your approach of explaining how your Facebook profile has changed over time in relation to how the “like” has become a tool for expressing one’s interests and gaging one’s sense of validation of self. I could not agree with you more. What we Facebook users post is often the product of what we think others will “like.” Sometimes, I think our Facebook profiles are more about what we think others want to see us as rather than who we truly are.

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