Facebook is shutting down for a week.
Breathe. Did your heart skip a beat? Did you feel like you were about to faint? Did you see the light at the end of the tunnel? Did you feel as if your life was about to fall apart and all your hopes and dreams — rather, stalking adventures and creeping — were about to come to an end?
If you experienced any of the above symptoms, congratulations — you might have I’m-Addicted-to-the-Internet Syndrome (IAIS for short)! But get this: IAIS is the first syndrome that’s healthy. Recent studies have shown it actually increases sociability and creates better, fuller relationships in the long run.
IAIS usually begins with a noble cause: the need to be socially active. After all, as human beings we are all social creatures, and so the first symptoms reveal themselves in forms such as sending Facebook messages, writing on Facebook walls and saying you are merely “keeping up with old friends” or “being involved in friends’ lives” because you care so much about them. This makes sense, as calling someone requires energy. You have to press buttons and then exert energy to talk.
Skyping is just as hard because you actually have to care about what you’re wearing. Also, you need to log into an account and set it up, yet the camera might not function. It’s just too much work all around. And so, to prove how strong your friendship is, writing on someone’s wall is clearly the best option. Typing for hours straight is clearly a lot easier than pressing buttons.
This innocent beginning becomes a desire to share more about your life. Now, this isn’t the same as asking for opinions and advice or creating awareness. No, this is just updating everyone — all 923 friends you dearly care about — about your life. Rather, a typical update may be, “sitting on the couch watching TV” or “making waffles.”
Just as typing makes more sense than using the phone, these updates are completely reasonable.
Everyone cares about what you’re doing every second of the day. In fact, it is recommended that you update your status every 30 seconds so nobody misses anything. Whether it’s “went to class” or “dropped a pen,” let your social network know. Since we’re in Rochester, make sure to put up a status every time it snows.
The last stage of this syndrome occurs when you can’t stop yourself from going on the Internet. But don’t worry. It’s healthy. Sure, you freak out every time the Internet is down. You feel somewhat naked when you don’t have access to it. You feel anti-social because the world can’t see every picture you ever took.
After all, that is the definition of anti-social — being disconnected from a huge social network. Not knowing what everyone is doing during every single moment of their lives is clearly the same as just being out of the loop.
Getting to know someone involves seeing their relationship status on Facebook first, stalking their likes and dislikes and then, finally, connecting with them. Telling people about yourself means fitting everything about you in a box labeled “About Me.”
All this is completely healthy. It shows you have a secure relationship with yourself and everyone else. Now, if only something could just automatically update our Facebook statuses, because that’s starting to take a lot of effort too.
Panda is a member of the class of 2014.