I love Facebook. I really do. Like millions of students nationwide, I woke up Sept. 5 and logged on to Facebook.com. Much to my chagrin, the News Feed feature was narrating the lives of my friends.
Disgusted, I almost immediately found anti-News feed groups (ironically through the News Feed) and joined them. Hundreds of people signed online petitions and joined anti-News Feed groups, leading Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to issue an open letter apology. All of these actions were well and good, but they immediately made me think about the power that we have and how misdirected it is.
Since I love Facebook, I am glad that the problems were addressed and changes to the privacy controls were made. In the long run, however, this issue is neither life nor death. All of these protests just served as a commentary on how misdirected our attention is. There are more serious issues that threaten our existence
– like global warming. Yet instead of turning our attention toward that, we worry about something as trivial as Facebook.
Another extension of collegiate America’s
infatuation with Facebook is the now deleted group “If this group reaches 100,000, my girlfriend will have a threesome.” This group was an instant sensation, so much so that it was featured on The Best Week Ever Web site. Group creator Brody Ruckus offered incentives
like pictures for reaching 300,000 and other milestones. The sad part about this is Facebookers everywhere ate it up and joined in droves. Instead of 300,000 people uniting for a good cause, they jumped onboard the latest fads. Ironically enough, Ruckus’ account, group and IP address have since been deleted despite his minor “celebrity” status. Many allegations have arisen as to the validity of Ruckus’ identity with people claiming that he never even existed. If Ruckus is indeed fake, then that makes those who joined the group even more pathetic.
What upsets and frustrates me so much is that students everywhere did an amazing job of uniting their voices and protesting this “injustice.” But then I think of the disappointment that was the “Vote or Die” campaign, which made a stop on Main Campus during the 2004 presidential elections. It was supposed to be MTV’s big push to make the youth voters important and help change the presidential holding. Instead, it became a fashion statement. More eligible college-age voters did indeed cast a vote in the 2004 elections, but the actual percentage who voted was still extremely dismal.
It is almost laughable how much our generation’s priorities are misdirected. The News Feed feature was the topic of a majority of conversations I had the pleasure of overhearing on campus for those three days. I understand Facebook is a big part of our college lives, but how long will it take for the novelty to wear off once college is over? My guess is that it won’t be that long. There are only so many times I will log onto Facebook to check what my friends are doing with their professional lives and view pictures of drunken exploits while I sit at an office desk all day.
At the exact moment the obsession with Facebook ends, I can only hope and pray that people’s focuses will shift towards more important issues. These are the real, concrete problems that we should be turning our attention to. We should be worrying about how long social security funds will last instead of how everyone will know that I changed my favorite music and favorite quotes at 12:37 p.m.
When Facebook goes “public” in October,
people everywhere with an e-mail address
will be able to sign up, much like the popular social Web site MySpace.com. A lot of concern has been expressed over who will be able to see profiles, but Zuckerberg has assured current Facebook users that only people in the same networks will be available to view profiles. Still, Facebookers are worried that the site is going under too many changes too fast.
“Facebook is doing too much of a good thing,” said sophomore Gary Traverson. “All of these new changes make it way too easy to get a hold of my personal information.”
I do not want to come across in a way that makes me seem like this rebellion against the News Feed was unwarranted. In fact, that is the exact opposite of how I view this situation.
Yet everyone should take a step back, breathe a little bit, and then realize that we are talking about a rebellion against Facebook, when there are many other problems in this world that deserve our attention. If we use our collective voice for something worthwhile, then maybe someone in power will accept our opinions rather than brushing them off.
John Lamb can be reached at