Yes or no?
Do I hit like or not?
Should I friend request them? Will that look weird?
Can I ignore them on Facebook and face them in real life?
Is it ok to comment on that or will they take it the wrong way?
Is Facebook making me feel discontent with my life?
Am I addicted to Facebook?
These are all questions I asked myself on my journey through the crazy world of Facebook and back.
In March of this year I decided to make what I considered a bold move and get a Facebook account. After many years of being asked the question “are you on Facebook?” I finally persuaded my dad to let me sign up. Even though I had on/off relationship with the idea of Facebook since my closest friends had signed up, I relented and began the sign up process feeling scared of the unknown and curious at the same time. It may sound weird to some that I was scared but I had a weird gut feeling it was a bad idea. Sadly my gut was right.
Who remembers the days of MSN Messenger or Windows Live Messenger as it’s now known? When I was about 8 or 9 years old a friend introduced me to this application where you could talk to your friends and family via an instant message over the internet. It seemed so exciting at the time and even more so when video calling became possible. I have bittersweet memories of a friend whose parents decided to send her back to school (she was home-schooled, like me), and I video chatting at 8 am while her mum tugged her hair into a high ponytail. Not long after that another friend who I’d also added asked if her friend from school could add me. Being extremely naïve and young at the time I accepted only to have her brother (or so she said) use her account and use the word “b***h” (a word which I had never heard prior to that conversation) after that social networking and IM’ing became almost forbidden in our household. Suddenly we were extra cautious and slowly but surely MSN messenger faded away along with Neopets and Club Penguin like every other childhood craze does.
So you can see why my dad and mum were concerned about Facebook. It was completely alien to them and to my dad it was completely unnecessary because “why would you want to share what you were up to, with family and friends over the internet?”. The news headlines didn’t exactly help my case either; with nearly every week some teenager or child had some sort of problem with Facebook. Don’t get me wrong though Facebook is not meant for any young teenager or child for a million different reasons; in fact, scratch that: anyone under 18 can be affected badly by it in a number of ways.
Anyway with a little help from my granny (who already had a Facebook account, can you believe it) I won my case against my dad. I signed up, added my granny and waited. I sat there staring at the news feed soaking it in. What do I do now? What does events mean? Should I edit my profile picture? I felt sick to the stomach. I felt like my whole life was on display. Every little piece of information about me was there and if I messed up I asked myself- would I be able live it down?