My Facebook account serves as my link to the outside world.
Wait, does that sound pathetic? Okay, maybe so. But if I am to be really honest, then yes, Facebook truly serves its purpose of “connecting people” anytime, anywhere. I need not go out of my area, my village… or my house even, for me to know what’s happening in the lives of my friends — as well as other people who are not really my friends. Well, of course there are people who are firm about not having an account… but this blog is not about them.
My normal, regular routine after turning on my computer is to first, check my emails, then open another tab so I can check on Facebook. Sometimes I stay in FB for five minutes (when there’s nothing interesting to see), sometimes longer (when there’s someone interesting enough to stalk… okay, kidding on that one!). Sometimes I just read the status updates of my friends. Sometimes I post comments. Sometimes I go over the photos people posted. Sometimes I just look at one photo, other times I look at the whole album. Sometimes I get bored with my current profile pic and I change it about five or six times before I finally decide on what stays.
On good (?) days, the five minutes I originally intended for FB will be stretched to ten… then twenty, then thirty. When there are really interesting people around, expect one hour of Facebooking (yes, I now use it as a verb).
Time just flies when you’re onto something… The world around you seems to stand still when you’re engrossed in cyberworld. That is, until you realize that you spent the past hour practically doing nothing but learn about the latest gossip in other people’s lives. Oh, that and gush over other people’s pictures.
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Last night, I logged on to my Facebook account just to post updates about the project I’m busy with at the moment. The plan was to relay a message to the members of that group. Since there were members who are pretty new to the group, people I haven’t personally met and are still practically strangers to me, I thought of checking out their FB sites.
First I looked at some pictures… family pictures, pictures with other relatives, tagged photos from other people… photos of their children playing various sports… I was viewing the tournament photos of one of the boys, when after several clicks, I ended up looking at old pictures of the dad. High school pictures and college pictures from the late ’80s and early ’90s. I lingered a little, tried to find out if there’s a certain degree of relationship between me and the dad (meaning if I knew him from somewhere).
And then I suddenly stopped. After the third photo circa ’90s, I had to veer away from the account. It suddenly felt creepy. I mean, I had no idea who that person was, yet I was viewing pictures of his youth. Imagine me cringing. I felt like a stalker!! I was quite ashamed of myself. I’m still cringing right now.
Time and again I have mentioned how I value personal space. I try not to get too close because… well, it’s just uncomfortable. When it comes to baring myself, I am pretty choosy. Besides, I am vain. And so I choose the things I would want people to know about me… what I want them to see. Basically, I’m pretty conflicted… Facebook is good for my vanity and my narcissistic tendencies. On the other hand, it doesn’t do well with my thing for personal space.
Gosh, I can’t imagine other people viewing photos of me taken in high school. I mean, total strangers looking at me like they know me when they really don’t. That’s why when I found out that you can change the security settings and you can choose your audience, I changed mine right away. But then there are times when I still get messages from total strangers saying they saw my picture and they want to make friends with me. Eeeeew. Scary. Unless he’s the real George Clooney or Chace Crawford, expect the invite to be rejected (or better yet, erased from the face of the cyberworld!).
So when I caught myself looking at the old photos of this guy I didn’t really know, it made me wonder if my view on personal space is somewhat lopsided. I mean, here I am ranting about how I don’t like strangers trying to creep into my world, when on the otherhand, thanks to Facebook — and yes, modern technology — I can easily find out a lot of things about people who don’t know me from Adam. I don’t seem to respect other people’s personal space, do I?
But I won’t be too hard on myself. If you don’t mind posting your photos, your life’s status, your love life, even your favorite color on Facebook or on any other social networking site, then you can’t blame other people if they end up knowing a lot about you. That’s why there are security settings. And basically, you post at your own risk. Each of us is responsible for our own posts.
Nevertheless, I have learned my lesson. Since I adhere to the rule, “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you,” I vow to stop looking at the albums of people I don’t really know. Nor will I obsess about the status updates of some people who don’t really matter in my life today. Maybe I should cut down on Facebook altogether, say no to friend requests.
Except of course if I see something like this…
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photos about Facebook via weheartit.com. Chace Crawford photo from wikipedia.