Some BYU students have chosen to delete their Facebook accounts or not to use Facebook at all, leaving their friends wondering why.
Most BYU students use Facebook on a daily basis to be aware of what’s going on in the world and to know what is going on in their friends’ lives. Millions of users around the world update their “status” multiple times per day.
Andrew Roberts, an English teaching major from Arizona, has never had a Facebook account. He said his poor experience with Myspace prevented him from joining the bandwagon of Facebook users when he started college.
“I saw that (people) were comparing themselves with others. I saw how much time they spent making their profiles,” Roberts said. “I didn’t want to fall into the trap of getting into something that detracts from the here and now.”
Roberts said he doesn’t disapprove of Facebook’s benefits but of the actual usage of it.
“When I ask people, ‘Why do you have one?’ mostly their response is, ‘So I can keep in contact with people that are at a long distance,” Roberts said. “But most of the people that I know that have one don’t use it for that.”
Roberts said most people he has observed use Facebook to keep in touch with those they are closest to, even people they live with or see regularly. He also said it can change people’s motivation for trying new things or visiting new places.
“What I see is that people are living in this media world where they feel that whatever they do, it has to be publicized,” Roberts said.
Brook Hamilton, a biochemistry major from Agoura Hills, Calif., used Facebook for four years prior to coming to BYU.
“When I got to college I decided that I didn’t want people to meet me for two minutes, become friends with me on Facebook, and then have a preconceived judgment of who I am,” Hamilton said. “And I didn’t want to do that to people either. I wanted to get to know people for who they actually were.”
Hamilton said she has reactivated her account a couple times while at college. But now she almost forgets that it exists.
Hamilton said her decision sometimes keeps her from knowing what is going on in the world and in people’s lives.
“A lot of the time I’m completely oblivious until an hour before something starts,” Hamilton said.
Sometimes her friends complain that she’s hard to keep in touch with. But Hamilton said it’s a weak excuse.
“You have feet, and you can walk to my apartment,” she said.
Even some graduate students don’t participate in Facebook. Tim Moore is a graduate student in the biology department from Los Angeles. Moore avoided Facebook during its initial popularity because of drama he witnessed on Myspace among friends while growing up.
“That’s where it all kind of stemmed from,” Moore said. “Eventually I was a sophomore or junior in high school I was just like, ‘I don’t even care. I’m over it.'”
Moore and others also said Facebook is too often used as a replacement for face-to-face or over-the-phone communication.
“If you wanted to talk to me you would have had my number anyway,” Moore said.