I Hate Facebook
it’s time to euthanize this once-great beast
by Eric Hulting
Hate is a strong word. I don’t ‘hate’ a lot of things. In fact, I ‘like’ a lot of things. I think I’m a reasonably understanding and empathetic person who rarely finds enough irritation in anything to actually ‘hate’ it. But there’s some things I once liked, that, for one reason or another, transform into objects of disdain and abhorrence. Facebook.com is one of those things.
It wasn’t always like this. I made my Facebook profile in the summer before 8th grade. I remember how cool it was to scroll through the “People You May Know” tab and realize that, yes, Mr. Zuckerberg, I DID know those people. I remember how everyday after high school got out I would arrive home, plug into the Matrix, and hop onto the seemingly limitless world of pictures and statuses and private messages that increasingly served as the primary fabric on which my friends and I socialized outside of class. Facebook was a safe zone, we decided, where we could interact and have fun without our parents looking over us. It was like a collective basement for us to secretly chill in, with no door for Mom and Dad to listen through or peek into. Even if you weren’t parading around pictures of alcohol and talking about sex, it was nice to have our own world devoid of parental judgement. Facebook, at that time, was thoroughly, and intrinsically, ours.
Then the “enemy” invaded. I knew something was up when my dad offhandedly mentioned to me that he had a Facebook profile. At first, this didn’t perturb me too much. My dad was, I acknowledged, much more immersed in the Internet and its grab-bag of interesting sites than other dads seemed to be. He was the one who helped me create a website for a school project in 6th grade. He was the one that showed me YouTube for the first time, not the other way around. Later on I would realize he was an early adopter, a recon team for the rest of the old people who were inevitably about to arrive. I loved that my dad was getting hip to this new digital environment, but I knew his presence meant terrifying things for our Holy and Pure book of faces.
Shortly after, I started noticing a change. None of my friends were posting statuses any more. People were cleaning up their profiles and untagging embarassing pictures. My Facebook “friends” were gradually making the movement to Twitter and Instagram. The honeymoon was over. Facebook had become nothing more than another place where we showcased our good side and hid the things we didn’t want our parents to see. It wasn’t ‘fun’ anymore; it was simply a personal Public Relations tool for prospective employers and faraway relatives.
When I go on Facebook now, it’s nothing more than a wasteland of egregiously-biased “news” articles, videos I’ve already seen on Twitter, and statuses by people I no longer know but once accepted a friend request from without thought. It’s trash. I hate it. I hate what’s become of this network that was once so inherently important in my life. I hate that this thing, this tool of socialization that taught me so much about communication and interpersonal relationship, has become nothing more than a place to throw a good video link down or talk to kids in your group project whose phone number you don’t have. (I don’t care if it’s embarrassing that I’m reminiscing about a fucking social network; you’re lying to yourself if you think Facebook played no role in your own personal development)
But what I hate most about Facebook is that I can’t stop logging on. No matter how hard I try (I don’t try that hard), I’m still a slave to that red notification symbol. I can’t stop looking at new profile pictures. I can’t stop dropping witty comments and scanning posts on my fraternity’s group page. I can’t stop sending my friends lowkey slappers via Facebook Message. And maybe that’s the point. Maybe it’s changing for the better. Maybe it’s good that Facebook is starting to adjust to its role of PhotoAndGroupBook, and maybe it’s just me that’s stuck on its former days of glory.
Historians are going to be obsessed with Facebook, and for good reason. It’s the foundation on which our generation learned to communicate. It’s where we learned how to present a positive brand of ourselves and talk to the opposite sex. It’s, honestly, where I learned to write the way I do today. I wouldn’t trade any social network for Facebook at its peak. But it’s 2015. Please, Mr. Zuckerberg; let Facebook go out like Biggie, leaving an indestructible legacy no one can touch.