The Social Network

August 26, 2012
By Emma Smith BRONZE, Seekonk, Massachusetts
Emma Smith BRONZE, Seekonk, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It seems to be a normal day. I follow my routine as usual: wake up, study even more, apply makeup, assure myself that today will be a good day, today everything will be okay. I get into the car, sliding the keys of my old navy blue BMW into the ignition with the gentle scraping of silverware. I turn the key forcing myself against all desire to climb back into bed and avoid the sunlight. The car makes a low gurgle, purring into motion as I take out my force on the gas pedal. A little too fast down a residential street, I think softly too myself as my iPod begins to play my favorite song of the day. A song, which makes me think, that connects like all great music, to a place in our hearts that we refuse to share with the world. The sunlight shoots like darts to my eyes, but I don’t put sunglasses on. I realize that I must confront the day.

However, time passes. A few minutes maybe, I drive on through the morning fog over the abyss of the farm beside the road. It holds all of my uncertainty, lack of clarity, and my utter confusion. The fog cascades across the field and into the road, pervading with doubt into my mind. Maybe today cannot be what I will try to make it. We all try to hide what we must, mask that shadow of despair, and choke back the fog that suffocates our lives. We pretend that it is “all okay”.

And so I continue going through the motions of my life. Sometimes as if I am in my own fog, I step forward because I must but I am not really conscious of my actions. With the sudden bite of a gust of wind I become acutely aware of what’s going on. I step out of the car, 8 minutes and 32 seconds have passed, and I am at school. I proceed through what used to be my only sanctuary before it became overwhelming, before I began to stress too much over school. Four classes, an hour and a half each with 30 minutes for lunch, and then 2:33; dismissal. I continue home, only really aware of the lapse of time once I have arrived. Usually driving is calming to me, my only true alone time. Consumed by the task at hand and not undesirable homework, stress, or thoughts. It is as if for a brief time I black out all the rest.

Continuing with my day, I sit down with my fresh Starbucks in hand for my 5-minute break before homework will consume my evening, and until the late hours of the morning, at 1, or 2, or maybe even 3 a.m. I open up my old white, Mac, so scratched that it looked like the keyed door of my car. I click on Safari. I type the letter “f”… and Facebook comes up as a suggestion.

However, as I click on the page, I receive a “404: Page not Found” error. Odd, I softly think to myself. Determined to carry out every element of my daily ritual, adhere to my “daily braid of life”, I frantically hit refresh. I reset the Internet connection. I close and reopen Safari. But still, nothing. I wonder how this is possible, and so I “Google” the problem. I call my best friend… and she has no idea what “Facebook” is or what I am talking about. I must be dreaming, confused, disillusioned? I pinch myself, startled and uncertain. Am I crazy?

I have always wondered what a life without Facebook would be like. How simple everything would be. I would be free to focus on my schoolwork. My friends wouldn’t be consumed with updating people on their attendance of the latest and greatest parties. Others wouldn’t be so pressed to see ‘how many likes’ they would get for the ivy-league acceptances. The name “Mark Zuckerberg” would turn up minimal results on the Internet. I realized how so much of the pettiness in high school, particularly at an all-girls school would diminish. There would be no more ‘cyber-bullying’, profane name calling, or harassing of others, including my gay friend for being himself. One wouldn’t have to worry that anything they didn’t proofread and hit enter on, would one day hurt their job chances or turn up in a background check.

Popularity wouldn’t be determined by how many Facebook friends, and photo likes one had. But rather by how one characterized themselves through their actions, how they supported their true convictions in practice. One would not “know” another by a quick study of their Facebook page. My best friend would not have had to fear legal ramifications when her Facebook was hacked. I would not have to worry about stranger requests, past stalkers, or vicious girls. All because Facebook no longer existed. This thing, this entity which overtook our lives in high school and from the creation of my account on September 2, 2007—as careful stalking would reveal—was finally gone. It evaporated, like the fog through my passing car, into thin air. It felt good, it felt free. This magical hold that Facebook and social networking held over everything disappeared.

I remembered when I had deactivated my Facebook several times. I had hated the artificiality of my so called “facebook friends”, the constant it had in our lives, the pictures, status updates, check-ins, that compelled us. The account it kept of how’d I’d spent my time over the years. For one reason or another however, it always drew us back in, to post “Crystal Ball” pictures, to check on an old friend, to use the “chat” with the best friend that we can cannot see due to distance.

Even if it was just a 5-minute ritual when I got home, I knew that it would pull me back in seeking a break from the anxiety of homework later in the evening. I knew, that its power to compel me must be broken. And finally, I could picture how simple and honest life could be without it. Genuine, true friends—who wouldn’t have to fake it with Facebook, who wouldn’t stab you in the back once you had turned, who wouldn’t forget you when you were gone for a summer—didn’t need to be reminded of your birthday on Facebook. True relationships with people that cared, didn’t need to be “Facebook official”. And just because someone was your “sister” on Facebook did not guarantee her loyalty.

I missed the high school I had heard only stories about. Older friends, current college students pitied the way Facebook had “ruined our lives”. The world had been so much simpler, and I felt as though I missed out. Where stress and competition to have a high GPA, didn’t eat our souls. Where friends were trusted, and maintained that trust. A world where Facebook, status updates, profile pictures, check-in’s, relationship statuses; didn’t exist. Instead a world where just us, our friends, our lives, our happiness were allowed to thrive and flourish. Just a world where we didn’t have to wake up and force ourselves to greet the day’s latest Facebook assault. A world where media didn’t control us, where we could be released from its bindings. Where each day posed a new and welcome obstacle, but one that could be beared; approached and vanquished. It’s no wonder that there is a Facebook option “it’s complicated”, for that is exactly what it has done to our lives.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Sep. 11 2012 at 11:36 am
Creatorbuff_97 BRONZE, Chennai, Other
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

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Hi! Hats off!...good work...covered quite a lot of things....easy to get impressed... - All The Best                                

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