I first heard of a site called “Facebook” the summer before my Senior Year of high school. Back then, it had a wall that you could erase like grafitti and you were given a single photo: Your profile picture. And believe me, if you were an 17-year old girl, you probably pondered this photo harder than any of your homework.
I joined the site, and listed Drake as my network. After doing this, I, like everyone, received random friend requests, and, if the person was particularly forward: A direct message. My favorite? I still remember receiving a “Happy Birthday” message on my 18th birthday from one of my soon-to-be-classmates which said: “Happy birthday gurl, no one show a birthday gurl better time than me :)” [Yes, with that impeccable grammar].
When I was 18, I also experienced the first—and only—time that I “blocked” someone on the site. There is a long story behind this one, but it involves Halloween, a fraternity party, and an uninvited, 20-something guest who neither went to Drake or any college, could barely speak English, and somehow found me on Facebook and sent me messages like “Stop running in the cold weather, will you? ;)”
I never mentioned I was a runner. It was (more than) slightly creepy.
There is now far more to Facebook than finding people. You can upload actual photos. There are one million apps, games, and events to keep you entertained. There are elementary students and even grandparents on Facebook (my grandma even has a profile picture! However, she only knows how to view albums if she is tagged in them).
Facebook also prevents anyone from ever forgetting a birthday. It also has, unfortunately, prevented many people from purchasing greeting cards, sending a text or making a call. Calls/Cards/Texts > Facebook “Happy birthday!” wish (although Facebook is still a nice gesture!)
I love Facebook, and use it frequently. However, as I go into my first year of teaching, I can’t help but wonder if Facebook is something that I should be more selective about. When I first went on Facebook, I vowed to delete my account after college. My relationship with Facebook was supposed to be short-term, and now I wonder if we’ll be in it forever.
Searching for someone on Facebook is so simple. With a simple “Request Accepted,” you can find out more about someone than you do on many first dates.
Luckily, in the case of my 18-year-old awkward encounter, pressing “Block this User” is significantly easier than awkwardly trying to ditch a guy on the dance floor who does not know a single person at the party and decided that you were destined to be his date for the night.
Do you think Facebook will be around forever? Do you plan on ever deleting your account?