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February 24, 2014

My love affair, and break-up, with Facebook


I vividly remember “Facebook-stalking” my roommate-to-be before we moved in. I looked at her pictures, her likes and dislikes, including movies, music and books. I was comforted knowing she too liked the band Taking Back Sunday and 1980s movies. She was pretty and fun, from what I could see on her page.

Things ended up going great for the two of us; we had a nice year living together and remained friends throughout college. Facebook helped me make a judgment, albeit shallow, and it turned out to be accurate. The website had helped ease my mind and arm me with things to talk about during the post-move-in awkwardness.

Any time I met new people on campus, I would rush to the nearest computer to “friend” them. I remember the thrill of a cute guy accepting my online friend request, and the even greater excitement of being the one whose friendship was requested. I knew I was in deep, checking it incessantly any time I was online and taking a new picture of myself each week to post on my profile. But I wasn’t overly concerned.

For me, Facebook wasn’t new. I was in 10th grade when I found out about it, and signed up mostly because my older sister did. She was a freshman in college and I wanted to keep in touch with her while she was away. It also didn’t hurt that she told me about how all of her new college friends were getting accounts. I figured anything that cool should be on my radar, too.

Fast-forward three years and hundreds of posts later, and Facebook was bigger than ever. For some of my college friends, it was enchanting. It opened up a whole new world of friendship-making and quickly became a method of procrastination, even for me. One of my friends, let’s call him Bill, became so enthralled with the site that his grades began to slip. He eventually was forced to drop out, and we all knew what had been the underlying problem.

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