After reading Becky’s article about texting rules, I couldn’t help but think about other social media – and inevitably Facebook. After moving to Israel almost 3 months ago, I have given and received plenty of new friend requests to and from the people I have met here. The first thing I do after adding someone new? Stalk their profile of course.
Many of us check Facebook morning, noon, and night. We do it several times a day from our phones, tablets, and computers. It is free and readily available to most people all over the world. With Facebook, we can check our friends’ profiles to see how they are, while we keep several different conversations going on with the same person in different forms of media (I regularly have three different conversations with my boyfriend happening at once through texting, WhatsApp, and Facebook message). At face value, these platforms seem to promote and simplify personal connections, but I’m not sure that is always the case.
Looking at someone’s profile brings about a strange sensation (especially if you’re doing it alone, in bed, in the dark, and at 2am). It’s a feeling of being secretive, yet exposed. Intrigued, yet almost dirty from the inside out. After a while, I become numb and feel kind of depleted, yet there is no way to stop. I have sat with friends and delved into profiles. Sometimes it can be just a gander at a profile picture, and other times it can turn into an hour-long session – by the end of which, we begin to recognize his or her friends from previous pictures.
I have stared for many lost hours at a crush’s profile. I start by checking his profile pictures, the last few things happening on his wall, and even dive into his tagged photos. But to what end?
I’m not here to rant about how Facebook is bad, and the end of human contact as we know it. I admittedly enjoy my mind-numbing time on it sometimes. That being said, I think sometimes we become so hungry for a connection that we make one, but not with the person. Instead, we connect to the person’s deliberately constructed image of their life.
I too have manicured my own Facebook Profile so its viewer will feel a connection with me, one in which I have control. The perceived connection is there and real, but how much can I trust these connections that someone feels when they look at my profile, if they are based on my deliberate self-portrayal?
Facebook has become an integral part of many people’s lives. It brings connection straight to our fingertips. We can send anyone a message from almost anywhere in the world, just as long as we have 3G or there’s free wifi. We can post pictures instantly of the amazing burrito that we’re eating for dinner. But if social media is a “tool” for communication, why not strive for the same caliber of connection on these platforms as we would from an honest, face-to-face meeting?
Facebook: the ultimate connector and the ultimate missed connection.