My relationship with Facebook began in the spring semester of my freshman year circa 2007. Like every relationship, the beginning was great and exciting. Back in my time, Facebook was exclusive to college students. I was able to find anyone and everyone as long as I had their full name and school. Suddenly we felt the need to bring our cameras to parties so we could capture moments Facebook worthy moments.
Whenever I met someone for the first time, the first question out of my mouth was “Do you have Facebook?” Growing my social network was important. I accumulated 500+ friends yet half of those people I didn’t even know.
I shared everything with my new love. Every feeling, activity, milestone, plan and even opinion which were sometimes controversial. Aside from knowing all my thoughts and feelings, Facebook kept tabs on my location when I checked into every restaurant, city or lounge. I even planned my birthday parties by creating and sharing the event details with Facebook.
Over the course of six years, our love slowly started to fade. More people like my parents, uncles, aunts and even coworkers started to join Facebook; they were butting in on our relationship. I began to slowly pull away by limiting my sharings of personal opinions, photos, and check-ins. Little by little, I started to hide information from the love I once told everything. We started to breakup and makeup as I deactivated my account every three months, I just needed a break.
Even though my FOMO always sends me back to Facebook, I realized that it’s an excellent tool to connect with my family and friends. To salvage our relationship, I made a conscious effort to make this relationship work by making four alterations.
I took my time and went through my friends and got rid of the people that I don’t have any connections with. The term friends has a new meaning now.
I refused to download the Facebook Messenger app on my phone. If I don’t reply immediately to a Facebook message people will get over it. After awhile I also deleted the Facebook app from my phone. It helped reduce the time I spent on the site. I only log into Facebook from my laptop.
I think twice about everything I post now. I’m not the 18-year-old freshman anymore. Therefore, I have to think about the consequences of every post. I challenge whether or not something is post worthy.
I’ve put a stop to emotionally driven posts. I learned this by experience. Not everyone shares the same opinions as me, so I don’t always have to broadcast mine.
No relationship is perfect; there are good sides and bad sides to every love. When it comes to life-altering advancements in the digital age, it’s important to realize the benefits while also being aware of the negatives. Let’s focus on the good things, learn how to cope with changes, and think about the long lasting consequences.