In the newsroom last week, we made an incredible discovery that caused major pandemonium. We thought that we found a way to actually find out who our top viewers were on Facebook amongst our friends. As everyone searched their results to find out which friends were “stalking” them, people started regretting that they had sought out this information. “Why is he my second top viewer?” “Oh my word, this makes sense.” Knowing who watched us became uneasy information, but also a compelling force to know our “Facebook stalkers.”
Facebook is a social hub. Today the mentality seems to be that if it didn’t happen on Facebook, it didn’t happen at all. I guess that means I don’t have a life. When I first got on Facebook my freshman year at BYU, I was drawn into the new social world. Then the euphoria of the new-found relationship wore off and I was exhausted with people knowing about me, but not knowing me.
Today I avoid posting personal information about myself on Facebook.(It has now become a location where I can post my articles and share information where I can expand my knowledge.) I get frustrated when I’m tagged in pictures and people try to make plans with me on my wall. I’m not bothered about sharing information, but it bothers me that someone uninvolved in the exchange is observing my social interactions. I choose to keep my life as private as possible because it doesn’t matter to me if someone “likes” my every move. Plus, I know that with the news feed; plenty of people see my activities.
I don’t try to “stalk” people, but, with the news feed, I still know things I shouldn’t know about others. When is the last time that I actually had a conversation with one of my high school teammates? Probably graduation day. Yet, somehow I know that on Friday night my previous teammate was having drinks with someone I don’t know at some bar in Fort Collins. Instead of interacting with old friends, I see something on my news feed and “like” it, because apparently that is a show of our affection and concern these days.
Not that everything has to be about me, but this information does nothing for me. My knowing that Mary has finished four of her five finals doesn’t mean that I am any closer to finishing my finals. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for her, but the information doesn’t inspire me to do anything.
This is why I love Pinterest. (Some of you just decided to tune me out, but just hear me out.) When I’m on Pinterest, I’m seeking inspiration. Pinterest is a creative motivator for me. For example, I get story ideas from exploring others’ pins, I try new recipes or hairstyles and I make gifts and decorations. My Internet consumption becomes more than a period of time finding out about people without acknowledging their existence.
Other social media has more meaning for me. Twitter is not only a platform for sarcastic exchange or world observations, but it is a place for exchanging information. Facts, news and information pass back and forth, and I feel like I log off of Twitter a smarter person — most of the time. The point is that our time and relationships shouldn’t exist only in an inter-technological sphere, and we definitely shouldn’t base our lives off of it.
Don’t think that I hate Facebook. I appreciate that I have a social platform where I can communicate with my friends across the world. I know what is going on with friends from my mission in St. Petersburg, Russia because of Facebook. I learn about social events where I can interact with more people through Facebook. Facebook can be a positive social invention, if we look at it as a starting point and we don’t ignore the real-life relationships we have.
We shouldn’t be spending our time worried about who is following us (even though it is slightly entertaining). Social media isn’t bad, but it should motivate us to do something, to be something and to grow, just like every other aspect in our lives.
For those of you wondering, you can’t find out who looks at your profile for privacy issues, so we were mistaken. The shrieks and chaos became so extreme that we called our web developer over to read the code — he found out it wasn’t true. We lost a lot of time trying to solve this menial question, which really didn’t matter in the end (sorry fellow editors).