Remember the days before Facebook profiles had turned into lengthy, self-indulgent autobiographies? Think back – it was a long time ago. Some of us were still in diapers. Remember when each page consisted of a simple profile, with a place for groups, friends and a wall? Remember when everyone had just one picture tacked up in the left hand corner, instead of the average 864 tagged of them? Remember when it took you less than four minutes to actually find the person’s wall because they didn’t have a mess of random applications sprawled over every available nook and cranny of their profile?
The truth is that Facebook became boring. We weren’t satisfied with just one picture of ourselves on Facebook. No, we needed more. We became obsessed. We started throwing parties on Friday nights with our hall buddies just so we could take drunken pictures and post them the following morning while waves of nausea rolled over us. Sometimes we’d shake the camera a bit, so the picture would come out hazy and people might think we were on drugs. Sometimes we’d lie down in the middle of the hall and have someone post a picture of us where it looked like we had actually passed out from drinking so much. We were so clever. And so badass.
Soon the “status” was invented. Yes, the “status.” We could tell people exactly what we were doing, how we were feeling or pretty much anything that started with “Leah is.” Most of us were scared. I was sure it was something the Bush administration had invented. I wasn’t completely certain how to use it at first. Do I tell people I’m at class? Do I use it to brag about the more enthralling parts of my life? How often do I update it? The question was soon answered, though, when I realized I was too lazy to update it more than once a week. I assume many of my friends felt this way too, as there were numerous confusing occasions when I would glance at a person’s status that said “So-and-so is at the library?Updated last Sunday.” Uh-oh. Was my friend in need of therapy or had they just forgotten to update?
One of the most interesting things I’ve noticed throughout the years of Facebook’s lifespan is the attention given to the “interests” section. They started out simple, with hobbies like reading, writing and partying as the usual answers, but, once again, we became bored with these routine past times. We couldn’t let our interests represent those of a typical college student. Our interests had to be unique. Listing something like “the sound of midnight rain” next to “paprika” indicated we were artsy. Listing something such as “blood” or “corpses” might indicate we were trying to come off as creepy. Only we weren’t creepy – we still ordered a grande non-fat gingerbread latte from Starbucks every other day and listened to Fergie while walking to class.
The addition of the “mini-feed” scared many of us. We’d throw around phrases like “Zuckerberg is like, a total creep!” and “Ugh, so not cool!” There were many variations of the “mini-feed temper tantrum.” But now, it’s hard to think about what Facebook would be like without it. Seriously – imagine waking up, a fresh cup of coffee in hand, logging onto Facebook and not finding out that two of your friends, one of whom you haven’t spoken to since first semester Biology and one you don’t know at all but friended because they also enjoyed the band INXS, entered into a relationship at 11:47 p.m. the previous evening. Imagine if you didn’t know that. Just think about how much your day would suck.
Applications opened up an entire new world of ways we could waste time. We could put up a map and gloat about all the foreign countries we had visited, draw “graffiti” on each other’s profiles or even put up a special list of our “top friends.” It didn’t even matter when our GPAs started to slip because we had spent so much time “superpoking” our friends rather than writing essays. Homework automatically took a backseat to this application when I learned that I could dropkick, spank, slap or “take sexy back” from one of my friends, instead of just poking them.
I have to admit, one of my favorite parts of Facebook was the “courses” section. You could see who was in your classes, what your friends at other schools were taking, and, if you didn’t have the assignment for class the next day, you could send a message to a fellow classmate and hopefully get a quick response back. It was actually a part of Facebook that seemed to have a point and was also cool at the same time. But congratulations, Facebook – you took it away! Oh, sure there are the “courses” poser applications, but they’re not the same. I want the real thing back. You know, the version that more than six of my friends have.
Facebook has evolved in many ways throughout the years. It has spread from colleges to high schools to parents and beyond. If this pattern continues, grandparents will even have profiles! Wait, should I be excited? Do I want to see a “knitting application?”
It will be interesting to see what future research shows about students who spend endless amounts of time on Facebook. I could probably write a dissertation on its evolution after I slaved my way through six years of graduate school studying the correlation between GPA and the number of times a week an account is updated. Oh, wait, no time for that, I need to update my “favorite quotes.”
Kraus is a member of the class of 2009.