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Friends on Facebook

Megan Finneran | Thursday, February 25, 2010

 I feel like my entire life I have heard my parents and grandparents talk about their lives “back in the day.” This “day,” when there were no computers, cell phones, iPods, or YouTube, seems like ancient history. They couldn’t creep on people on Facebook, read about other people’s embarrassing lives on Texts From Last Night or illegally download movies on the Internet without getting caught. Without the things we rely on in our world today, what in the world could they possibly do for entertainment? More importantly, without Facebook, how did they survive?!

Don’t get me wrong; I love Facebook just as much as the next college student. It allows me to stay connected with my best friends at other schools and my sisters back home. But, it allows me to see way too much about people I barely know. Girl I went to high school with, I really hate it when “Playing Modern Warfare with the boyfrienddddd <333” is the first thing I see on my homepage. Seventh graders, I really don’t care about your Friday night when you and your best friend got ready and took 87 mirror shots during the process. My personal favorite Facebookism is the “So and so are in a relationship and it’s complicated,” or the Facebook break-up when you suddenly look at the profiles of two people you thought were dating and one is single and the other is in a relationship and didn’t even realize it ended.
 
Then there’s the search option. Doesn’t it creep you out that anyone can type your first and last name in the little search box and find you in seconds? I’ve changed all my settings to stop this from happening, and I still get the occasional random request. How they find me, I’m really not sure, but our parents never had to worry about this. Instead of 1,000 “friends” who could see their lives on a computer screen, they had real friends who they talked to on the phone or in person frequently.
 
From that stems the “Facebook flirting.” This progression from messaging to chatting to texting can somehow turn into hanging out and the next thing you know you’ve added another awkward encounter in the dining hall to your list. Many of us could text someone practically until the end of time, but throw us in a room with that person who we meet for the first time, and things are about to get weird.
 
At the end of the day, I love the Internet and everything it offers. But it does make life seem a little fake sometimes. My real friends are not the ones I get an occasional comment from, and the people I want to actually have lunch with are not the ones I make plans with via Facebook. True friends are the ones you have dinner with, the ones you call with good and bad news, and the ones you laugh with about silly statuses and pictures you find on your homepage.
 
Use Facebook, love Facebook, embrace Facebook. One day you might come across your best friend from preschool. Use that search bar and go find your old best friend, but think twice before you accept that next random request.