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viewpoint

Facebook problems

| Thursday, February 26, 2015

At the end of my freshman year of high school, and after much prodding by my best friend, I joined Facebook. I’ll admit I was engrossed, but it didn’t really face any competition. No one I knew had Twitter, and Instagram was still a glint in the eyes of its founders.

Five years later, I have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Swarm (Aside: Swarm is essentially Foursquare, and I only have three followers, so you should probably join). In the past, I’ve been asked which social network I use most frequently. I use some (Twitter) more than others (I’ve never “pinned” anything in my life), but I hate Facebook the most. I contemplate deleting it almost every day. I go to Facebook, and I’m bombarded by things I don’t really care about. My newsfeed is full of updates from people I went to high school with and that kid from my first philosophy class freshman year. It’s basically a conglomeration of updates from people I don’t want updates from.

Maybe I’m doing Facebook wrong. I have about 600 friends, which is on the low end, and I’m interested in maybe 100 of them. Sure, it’s fun to see what that kid from elementary school looks like and where he goes to school now, but I could not care less about the angsty poem he wrote, or that this week’s date night is an Applebee’s dinner and then seeing “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Then there are the privacy issues. Apparently, Facebook’s Terms of Service allows Facebook to turn on your phone’s microphone whenever they feel like it (think Samsung’s recent Smart TV scandal) which is a little terrifying. When Facebook debuted Timeline, I remember reading that they wanted to become the online record of your entire life that could be shared with all of your “friends.” The goal was that users would document everything and add in life milestones starting from birth. I don’t want that. Who wants that? If I could erase all evidence of my existence from 2006–2009, I would. I’ve tried. I think I’ve untagged myself from every picture from that era.

Will I actually delete my Facebook anytime soon? Probably not. It’s too valuable when my more social friends are talking about someone I don’t know. I can easily look them up. That’s basically all it’s good for at this point. Facebook is all about the past, but I think the Internet is all about the present. If I want to look back on high school, I’ll look at my yearbooks. I was editor-in-chief, so there are pictures only of my good side.

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