There was a certain fascination, a certain sense of excitement and attraction when I first heard about Facebook. It was heralding novelty and everyone wanted to be a part of what was known as a watermark in social media and networking. It was a rave, a norm to conform to. For all us teenagers if we did not have a Facebook account we were the ‘outcasts’. I excitedly signed up on the website but refused to put up my photograph because I was very shy and timid. My profile picture was that of my favorite soccer player’s and I gave out limited information about myself because I was afraid of projecting myself publicly. I wasn’t very confident in what I thought I was. I gave out only basic essential details like my birth date, school name, etcetera which were required for my friends to find me. I liked certain pages of characters and games and through the people who liked them as well I started networking. Initially I sent and accepted friend requests to a lot of known people and it was a new experience. With a desire to make friends globally I extended a hand of friendship to all those who looked like potentially good people and interacting with them filled the hours between school and dinner. I got to know about the different lives and cultures of various people around the world and it was quite intriguing.
Facebook slowly became popular and many of my friends and I were connected, which made me realize how small the world had really become and that anything on it would go public, which made me uncomfortable in expressing myself. People posted compromising pictures, which I never found interesting.
My only family connection to Facebook was but a few cousins around my age, not for the reason that I was doing wrong or using foul language but because I could not get to share a certain aspect of my life with my parents or any other relative of mine and with my cousins there was an unspoken rule about disclosing ‘FB facts’. I also strongly felt that I should have a personal life of mine. I should not be answerable to my family at any point.
Facebook for me initially was a craze. It just felt right but with age as I matured I came to realize and value the life out of social media. I couldn’t get myself to login on the website for nearly four years and only went back because of dire compulsion. It is funny that while undergoing those four years I never really felt that I should login to fit in, that I should login to be a part of the ‘high school society’ and I feel at times that it is because of this that I am still sane.
It has only been a month since I have returned to Facebook. Coming from India and staying away from my parents has made me realize the importance of communication. Now I use Facebook not as a platform to play games but to chat with my family and friends who live in different cities and countries.