When Facebook became popular in Hong Kong, my home at the time, it was that party all the “cool” kids were invited to. Ever since I first laid my eyes on the traditional profile page I knew I had to have it. Eventually I managed to “borrow” my dad’s personal computer and make myself a Facebook page. I didn’t have answers to most of the questions the sign-up page asked me. To be honest I didn’t want anyone knowing where I was from or where I was living at the time. The idea of putting my identity out into the open was overwhelming. I chose to “hide” most of my personal information from the rest of the world and head straight into my profile. I was finally on Facebook.
Choosing a profile picture was the most stressful decision a twelve-year-old could make at the time. After browsing through countless profiles and going back and forth between “sepia” and “vignette” on my photo-editing tool, I had selected my profile picture. I have always played it safe when it comes to my profile picture. Abiding by the social definition of the current “fad”, my profile pictures would change regularly. From sportsmen such as Cristiano Ronaldo to innovators such as Steve Jobs, my Facebook page could easily have be mistaken for the updates section of a news website. I recall playing online poker through Facebook and sharing my digital winnings to all my friends on Facebook. The “Tag Your Friends” pictures were extremely popular back then. Being called someone’s best friend on one of those pictures would definitely make things official. Courtesy of the immature pre-teen phase I was in at the time, I wouldn’t resist when it came to throwing comments around. Even today I come across embarrassing messages that I’ve posted on peoples “walls”. The delete button has become my new friend. As I grew up, changed schools and moved countries, my Facebook habits evolved too. Thankfully, my comments are no longer embarrassing; grammatically or conceptually. Today I use Facebook to get in touch with my friends back at home. Despite my attempts to wipe out my younger, less cautious self, the Internet truly is forever. I found out the hard way. My current profile picture is from senior prom, one of the more memorable nights of my life. The cover photo I selected on the other hand is the first picture of Emory’s Class of 2018, a proud moment indeed.
Facebook started off as a trend. Today it is a necessity. It is no longer an intimate exchange of messages and ideas but has become a public forum. Over the last few years I’ve had to master the privacy settings to make sure my parents don’t have access to all my information. Moreover, I’ve had to ensure that my friends can’t see all the pictures my mom posts from my ninth birthday party! If I could go back six years in time, I would never hit that “submit” button on my Facebook application.