When I got back from sleepaway camp the summer before 8th grade, I begged my parents to allow me to make a Facebook, and they agreed. I was connected with the world. I had so much fun choosing a profile picture and customizing my wall.
Google chrome. www.f. Enter. Type log in information. Enter. It’s rote movement. Wasting time, scrolling down my news feed, staring at pictures, and reading trivial comments. This is a motion that I, along with many other teens I’m sure, know all too well. And what’s the point of it? Why do I need to stare at pictures of my acquaintances and their roommates? I shouldn’t be subjected to ugly selfies of myself that a friend has tagged me in.
In the beginning, my friend count increased daily. I was having the best time reliving my summer memories through the endless camp Facebook albums that everyone was uploading to his and her accounts. It was like the summer never ended! Except that I was in my bedroom alone instead of surrounded by my eighteen best friends in bunk G-5. But still, it was FACEBOOK.
I hated these boring Facebook motions. I disabled by Facebook account from September 2012 to August 2013. I was liberated from the world. I could focus on school and actually talking to my friends instead of living through their pictures. I loved my social-media free life. I had rejected a social norm, something that I oddly enjoy doing. You should try disabling your Facebook account. Do it for a day. Then a week. Then eleven months.
Finally my parents allowed me to friend people whom I knew from home. My news feed got more diverse, and I got more obsessed, I could see what my school friends were doing all the time, even if it sometimes meant looking at pictures from a dinner that I wasn’t invited to. But I didn’t care…I had over 300 Facebook friends! Success! At least by ninth grade standards. This great website allowed me to stay connected with so many people and stay updated on their lives.
In August 2013, I went to India with 12 other girls in my grade. I couldn’t wait to get home, upload my pictures to Facebook, and look through the pictures that the other girls on my trip took. I reactivated my Facebook in August for the sole purpose of connecting with the people from my trip. I also stalked myself and “cleaned up” my wall, removing tags and unfriending acquaintances. I wanted to use my Facebook as a way to communicate with people who are important to me, not as a way to share my life updates. Currently, I still think of Facebook in this way—that it’s more a necessary communication tool than a social media site like Twitter or Instagram. When senior year started, I began using Facebook more to see what colleges my classmates had chosen, and when I was accepted to Emory, to connect with my new classmates and find a roommate. I still post very little.
I want to find a balance between creating a “good” online image without going overboard or under board. I want to find a balance between loving Facebook and hating Facebook.