Facebook ruining relationships
November 14, 2005 —
Like most of the people in the computer labs around campus, I usually have a Facebook page open so when I get bored, I can absentmindedly look at people's profiles. From Zoolander fans to people who love System of a Down, Facebook seems to have it all.
I love Facebook. I love seeing pictures of people completely drunk; I love seeing who shares my interests in music; and I love keeping in touch with friends from afar, like a couple of my friends from Western that Facebook has gotten me back in touch with.
However, Facebook has a downside as well. Just how the advent of the Internet led to a rise in stalkers safe in the anonymity of their homes, students communicate over Facebook as if it were some magical realm, where one can say things that may or may not exist in the real world. It seems that much like Las Vegas: what happens in Facebook stays in Facebook.
The other pertinent problem with Facebook is the way relationships exist over it. It's cute that you can spread to the world who you are in a relationship with, but I've noticed a trend - people ending their relationships through Facebook notification.
Think I'm joking? Consider this true scenario: a close friend of mine who doesn't check Facebook all that often saw that his girlfriend had changed her profile to eliminate any mention of their relationship. Since the two had just broken up, this didn't seem like a huge problem, until he saw something strange - she had changed the relationship status two days prior to formally ending their relationship. The injustice of it led him to a 24-pack of the Beast, and a rocking hangover the next morning.
This might seem like an anomaly, a case of a female too cold-hearted and inconsiderate to actually have the guts to end a two-plus-year relationship face to face, but even though that's true, it's much more than that. Facebook is the byproduct of a generation of coddled college students, who grew up their whole lives never having to do any of life's dirty work, safely witnessing life - not living it - through a soccer mom's filtered prism. We don't have to kill our own food anymore, since we can go to Wal-Mart and purchase a year's supply of popcorn chicken, but we can still satiate our primal desire to kill by running over prostitutes and taking our money back on Grand Theft Auto.
Facebook has become the 21st Century equivalent of the "Dear John" letter. Students no longer have the courage to actually end their relationships in person, or even over the phone. Now, it needs to occur through Facebook, so the only sense that will ostensibly be affected is sight, since you can't taste, smell, hear, or feel words on a screen.Why? We are so desensitized to only accept the positive things in life that we can't possibly bear the burden of added stress. At least we can't bear the burden of the stress for ourselves; we can easily dole it out to others.
Facebook is contributing to the degradation of any normal civil discourse. Case in point: Andy Hoag, editor of the Vanguard, was attacked on Facebook by a student organization who created a group simply to personally attack him. The group's rationale: the Vanguard printed a picture that may cause the group to lose its accreditation. Never mind that the picture was taken at a public event; this group thought they were above the rules, and rather than admit that they might have done something wrong and accept the consequences, the group went to Facebook to air their grievances through a childish group. Classy.
What I propose is this - don't let Facebook do your dirty work. It takes absolutely nothing to attack someone in print; it takes a lot of courage to do it to someone's face. Breaking up with someone over the Internet is something prepubescent teens do, not what adults do. Imagine trying to survive in the business world communicating tough decisions to others solely through email or memos. You would be clinging to that entry-level position until Jews and Palestinians hold hands and sing "Kumbyah" in Jerusalem.
Life is tough. It throws you a curveball every once in a while, and if you've been playing video games rather than working in the batting cage, you won't know how to hit it.
Students should accept this, and actually try to live a life similar to that outside of Pierce and Bay Roads. Facebook can and should be used to keep up with your friends, rather than as a conduit for cowardice.