Posted by Wafa K. | Posted on September 7, 2011
People who know me in real life know that I make very few apologies for what I believe in, I’ve always been strong-willed and, as my mother would say, stubborn. More than that, I know what I like and what I dislike and I didn’t need to wait to grow up to know that, I always have and have stood by those convictions. So when I say that I hate Facebook, I am completely serious. I cannot stand the disconnected facade of human relationships that exist on this website, and the only reason I let it exist at all is because of my family abroad and friends I made at the international peace camp I went to when I was 15 and I frequently and without warning deactivate it because the hypocrisy of it annoys me.
But how does this relate at all to my Hopkins blog? Well for a variety of reasons, not the least of which entails my reflection at the beginning of my senior year and looking forward to post-university days. Just typing that out gives me a little bit of an existential crisis, but I know that I am capable of, and will keep in touch with friends that I’ve made at Hopkins without Facebook. And also because I had to learn how to do that when I first came to college, because it is so easy for us in this modern age where social media and networking sites have replaced real inter-personal relationships, to forget that writing on each other’s wall once or twice a year does not constitute a friendship. It requires a bit more effort, a bit more investment of time and thoughts to continue the connections with people that you deem worthy of that effort.
Furthermore, there is the question of privacy. Marlon Brando famously once said “Privacy is not something that I’m merely entitled to, it’s an absolute prerequisite.” I might cherish my own privacy a bit much, but divulging too much is never a good thing. There is a reason that self-help interview sites always mention to change one’s Facebook to private settings, the picture, information, etc if you’re apply for graduate school or a job. But I’ve always thought that that is the way that it should be all the time. There has always been a certain joy in finding out tidbits about one’s friends and relationships building over time, so that only one’s closest friends know everything about you. That differentiation has all but evaporated in an online world where nothing is sacred and everything is up for disclosure. (If you think I’m being over dramatic, check out the website http://www.stfuparentsblog.com/ seriously do it – if my memory serves me correctly, I don’t think the author uses bad language but freely discusses bodily functions of babies, just a head’s up).
I am by no means advocating not using Facebook, that is a personal decision to make and it obviously serves its purpose of allowing people to stay connected. My question, however, is the merit of that connection and making sure that the quality of relationships isn’t sacrificed in the name the number of “friends” one has online. So with this being a new school year, no matter where you might be, give a real conversation a try, call somebody on their birthday, go old-school and send an email – the benefits of building meaningful connections and relationships will be yours to reap for years to come.
All the best.