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Life Unofficially This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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At my high school, I have no friends. I identify myself with no particular hobbies or interests, and my birthday never comes. Quite simply, I do not exist. While these statements are thankfully untrue, they might easily be inferred from my one great social failing: I remain absent from Facebook.

Facebook has become as essential as cell phones and e-mail for interaction between high school students. Think of Facebook as a sort of governing body among youth of a certain age; the information is considered definitive. Thus, to accept a friend request through Facebook is to validate a real-life friendship, while a Facebook “poke” or “hug” is akin to the physical action. Indeed, to sign up for Facebook is to register one’s existence.

As I know firsthand, unofficial existence as a high school student can be a trying endeavor. Finding out a classmate’s birthday might require an actual conversation, and planning an event entails individual e-mails or (God forbid) phone calls to invitees. And in the brief few years since “Facebook” joined the ranks of “TiVo” and “Google” as a grammatically confused verb, each meeting with an amiable new acquaintance has inevitably concluded with, “Hey, I’ll Facebook you.” Forced to explain that I am unFacebookable, I usually justify my abstinence by saying, “I like my freedom.”

To my naive eyes, it looks as though Facebook can be as much of a burden as a savior. Imagine the consequences of leaving one’s Facebook unattended for a week: You could miss a friend’s birthday. You could brutally (though inadvertently) ignore a friend request from a new real-life friend. You could miss out on the inside joke of the century. “Sometimes people might have a party or an event and alert people through Facebook invitations,” says Facebook enthusiast Chloe E., “and then people don’t hear about it until much later, if they don’t check.” Tending to a Facebook profile has become a daily responsibility in the life of a typical teen – one I have, thus far, refused to accept.

Like the cell phone and computer, Facebook may soon be too commonplace to live without. Then stubborn holdouts like me will have no choice but to put aside their grudges and take a place on digital society’s bandwagon. If I do choose to pull myself out of the Dark Ages and join the legions of teen Facebook dwellers, my decision will be influenced by one indelible memory. On the last day of my teen tour this summer, I watched two of my friends say their farewells. Caught in a teary embrace, one whispered to the other, “Get a Facebook.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 14 comments. Post your own now!

fatchance96 said...
Jul. 25, 2011 at 10:36 am
This is so painfully true. I have a Facebook account, but I'm not like most people to not last without checking/updating your profile for a day, at least! You are very talented and I enjoyed reading this article. It's one of those pieces that gets readers to think:) great job!
 
dolphin13 said...
Mar. 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm
Very nice writing! I don't have a facebook either, but that is just fine by me. You covered this topic very well. Keep writing
 
ShelbyMarie93 said...
Dec. 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm
I have a facebook, but I haven't been on it AT ALL in over three months. I admit, I kinda miss it, but it's so nice not having to feel like I've got to update my life to everyone all the time. I love your opinion on this. Great word usage and writing too! Good job, keep writing! :)
 
Lachance said...
Jul. 16, 2010 at 8:45 pm
I personally believe that you don't have to have a facebook like everyone else does. People see other people as freaks or outcasts if they don't post all their information on facebook or myspace or twitter. I personally would like to say that I accept being a 'Freak' or an 'Outcast', because if choosing to make your own choices and not joining social websites make you that way, then so be it. I think everyone should be able to go through highschool freely without someone pressuring them to make ... (more »)
 
birdie said...
May 28, 2009 at 12:09 pm
this was written very well,i dont have myspace or facebook and every one thinks im weird because i dont have one !
 
Melanie Z. said...
Apr. 10, 2009 at 10:30 pm
Love it. You are quite talented my friend (:
 
xjustsmiledearx said...
Nov. 17, 2008 at 7:53 pm
Good article, however you are over-thinking it. Who really cares? I think the best thing about life is that it doesn't matter what other people do. You can choose for yourself whether to take part or not. There are much worse things going on in the world than facebooking. I see it simply as a way to keep in contact with friends that have gone away for college, or distant family members. There are often times when I will attempt to call, or they will attempt to call me just to hear that one or th... (more »)
 
Addypie said...
Oct. 31, 2008 at 12:44 am
i really like this piece. it's very well written and absolutly true. i, however, have both facebook and myspace. im not really all that into facebook, i only have it to keep in touch with my cousin really. i do, on the other hand, love myspace and am very glad the majority of my friends have it because i live 60 miles away from my school and habitually have friends move far, far away from me. but anyway my point is, good for you! im glad you're not succumbing!!!
 
Joy said...
Oct. 19, 2008 at 10:00 pm
This was really well-written. I don't have myspace or facebook either, and everyone looks at me like I'm crazy.
 
wfmp07mifh said...
Aug. 22, 2008 at 1:20 am
Hey Jeff. I remember when I got my MySpace the summer going into 7th grade. I felt pretty out of the loop and had been wanting one. It's a great place for people to socialize when they can't be together. Example: Summer. I'm home alone and no one is allowed over during the day and I live far away from everyone so it makes it hard to get together with my friends. But I can always hop online and drop them a comment to let them no I'm thinking about them and that we should make plans. It's also nic... (more »)
 
faceless said...
Aug. 6, 2008 at 9:03 pm
the best written article about something as meaningless as facebook. I've actually read a few other pieces about teens/people who don't embrace facebook because it creates a new set of social rules that distract us from our real lives, and this is much more coherent. Still, people who truly don't care about social networking en masse, don't spend time op-eding it.
 
Michael the Mentalist said...
Aug. 6, 2008 at 5:36 am
I have the same thing going I just don't see the use in Myspace and Facebook I have to much going on to care about those things. Also both of them have had more viruses than I care to count. I don't even have a cell phone though mainly because I go out to avoid people not have them tailing me through my phone. Good article though and that's from a certified genius.
 
miriammm said...
Aug. 6, 2008 at 3:28 am
I enjoyed this piece very much. We've alot in common, aha. I don't do facebook,or any of those dreadful sites. Mysapce, locals, etc.. I like your style of writing, and I got a laugh outta this article.. Keep writing, best wishes.
 
KKmin said...
Aug. 5, 2008 at 7:10 pm
Well written and humorously meaningful. Never give in! I admire your tenacity!
 
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