BY: Julie Raffensperger

A blue and white page. Email, password, log in. “Sign up. It’s free, and always will be.” Where have you seen all of this before? If you guessed Facebook, you are absolutely right. Every day, millions of people around the world factor Facebook-time into their daily routine. Think of how many hours we spend monotonously clicking through our Newsfeed, going through a friend’s album two or three times before we even realize it, or coming up with a creative status to see how many people will “like” it. Facebook has not only become a place to “connect and share with the people in your life,” but it has become an outlet for procrastination, wasting time, and even more worrisome… socializing. You may be wondering why socializing on Facebook is a reason for worry. The initial intention of this website for social interaction was great, but the actual outcome has proved otherwise.
Although chatting, posting pictures, commenting on statuses, and everything else Facebook has to offer is a great and entertaining way to socialize with friends, it takes away from the personal level of friendship that interacting with one another in the real world offers. Furthermore, when behind a computer screen, a person may be much more outgoing or confident than they are in real life. This poses problems when they are interacting anywhere other than behind a screen and keyboard; they may lose their confidence or not know how to act when put in a face-to-face situation. When so much of our time is spent communicating via computer, we lose sight of the benefits that interacting with others on a more personal level offers.
On the other hand, there are great aspects to Facebook as well. Sophomore Tracy Archer comments, “I like how easy it is to keep in touch with people on Facebook, especially family who live far away that I rarely see. It’s also fun to look back at pictures and wallposts from awhile ago and see how much has changed.” Most people would agree with this statement, but not many of us know when using Facebook gets to be a little too much.
Now for the most troublesome problem posed by Facebook: Friends. How many times have you gotten a friend request from a person that you think you may have met, but you are not really sure? You think back to recent weekends, classmates you interact with, your last family get-together and you still cannot put your finger on who this person could possibly be. If you have in fact met this person in real life, however, you will seem incredibly rude for denying their friend request. Although, if this is a person you really have not met before, then you do not want to confirm them, allowing all of your personal information to be exposed. The question of what to do can seem agonizing. See how this poses a problem? Your Facebook world and real world unfortunately interfere with one another, setting you up for many difficult situations. Part of this has to do with the lack of privacy you have on Facebook. Knowing that all three hundred of your ‘closest friends’ can see over a thousand pictures of you, access your personal information, and see your latest conversations might be somewhat unsettling, yet we continue to partake in this craze, regardless of the consequences.
Maybe someday this whole trend will die out, because people will eventually miss their privacy. Maybe years from now when you are all grown up, your Facebook page will still remain. You wonder if years down there will be tagged pictures of you ranging from your first boyfriend or girlfriend, to wedding photos of you and a completely different man or woman. However, when sophomore Nick Villalta was asked if he would ever delete his Facebook, he responded, “I don’t see myself deleting my Facebook page anytime soon because I did once before and I didn’t even last a week before I reactivated my page. Facebook makes it convenient to keep in touch with friends and see what they have been up to without actually having to ask them. And if you lose your phone (which I do often) and have no Facebook to ask your friends to send you their numbers, it will be hard to get in touch with people you do not see everyday.”
Someday our generations’ need for constant communication via Facebook may die out, or something new could begin. Nobody knows for sure, and only time will tell. So for now, we will just have to sit behind our computer screens and wait.