The Internet, more specifically instant messaging, is the solution to all young people’s boredom. The second we find ourselves without something to do, we punch in our AIM password and talk to all of our friends who are also on the Internet and who are just as bored.
And what do we do when none of our friends are around to instant message? Leave our rooms and introduce ourselves to someone? Please, that’s a concept of the past. We surf the net, looking for anything remotely interesting to entertain us.
The most recent Web site to catch the attention of college students across the nation is thefacebook.com. Not only does it save us from boring, lonely nights on the Internet, but through this ridiculous concept we make “friends.”
This is thefacebook.com’s first semester in existence and already it has exploded as the newest trend. Facebook describes itself as “an on-line directory that connects people through social networks at colleges.” The site says you can use Facebook to search for people at your school, find out who is in your classes and look up your friends’ friends.
To be a part of this on-line directory of college kids, you register under a name, password and college e-mail address. Then you fill in personal information about yourself (including phone number and address), your school and a picture of yourself. Once you register, other users can facebook you, which means students can see your picture and add you to their list of friends.
Ask anyone who has their name and picture on thefacebook.com why they are on the site and their reply is, “You can meet people from Temple through it.” Fair enough, but couldn’t you also meet people from Temple by shutting off your computer and talking to someone?
Many are embarrassed to say they use the site. A common excuse for using the site is, according to freshman Neal Santos, “It’s addicting, like cigarettes. It’s really not that interesting – it’s just a competition to show that you have more friends than other people.”
Excuses or not, the facebook provides its users with friends, some whom they’ve never met, within seconds. The friends users make on the Internet could be kids who live down the hall or around the corner from them, but since users spend all of their time on the Web waiting for someone to facebook them, they never find out for themselves.
Users would rather have people send them a picture through a Web site than socially interact.
Sadly, people are becoming dependent on Web sites such as The Facebook to form relationships with others. According to a study done in 1998, published by the Associated Press, “The more hours people spend on the Internet, the more depressed, stressed and lonely they feel.”
That’s ironic; the more time you spend on thefacebook.com making friends, the more alone you feel.
No one realizes this, though. We’re on the Internet talking to people and making new friends through this addicting site, so how can we possibly be alone?
Robert Kraut, a social psychologist professor at Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh, says, “One reason for the negative effect may be that using the Internet leaves less time for the deeper relationships of friends and family.”
Hopefully this trend of making friends through a Web site ends soon. The facebook can provide you with a list of “friends” who also go to Temple, but introducing yourself to someone in one of your classes doesn’t even compare.
Go against the hottest craze: Log off of thefacebook.com and go talk to people verbally.
Beth Keeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.