Facebook OCD

By Christina Arzapalo | carzapalo@flagler.edu

Every night after work and before I go to bed, I find myself checking my Facebook and Twitter for one last time. And most of the time, ‘one last time’ means probably about half an hour of browsing my friends’ pages and seeing what they’re doing.

Sometimes I even check out friends of friends. Or family. Then, of course, I have to update my own status, just so everyone knows exactly what I’m doing. Don’t forget Twitter, too!

I’m not the only one who does this either. All of my friends do. And all of theirs!

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. What is it with my generation’s absolute obsession with social networking? We have this nagging urge inside all of us to constantly update the world with what we’re doing, and keep track of what everyone else is doing as well.

But why?

Well, I can’t really explain it. It’s just something we’ve been conditioned to do. Most of the students at Flagler College grew up with computers, and as we’ve grown older, we’ve moved from one social networking web site to the next.

First came AOL Chatrooms and e-mail. Then, a few years later, Myspace was the hot new thing. “Comment on my photo!”, everyone begged their friends, promising to comment back on theirs in return. Teenagers, myself included, would write angsty blogs on Myspace with song lyrics from bands like The Ataris and Good Charlotte. Those were the good days.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Facebook exploded. At first, one had to have a college e-mail address to join the web site. But now, anyone can! And I do mean anyone…my 86-year-old grandfather checks his Facebook multiple times daily. It’s a competition to see who can have the most friends, the most ‘likes’ on their status, and the most comments on their mobile uploads. The whole thing sounds so stupid when it’s written out like this, but it’s true: we are a generation completely obsessed with all aspects of social networking.

There are a few downsides to being so heavily involved on the Internet, though. Here’s an example: you get into a big fight with your best friend Annie, and decide to delete her from your Facebook friends list.

“OMG! How dare you!”, Annie sends to you in an angry text message. “You are the worst friend ever!”

It can be a slap in the face, and people take it very personally.

Ladies and gentlemen, friendships are ruined every day over social networking problems.

Then there is Twitter.  I feel like it was invented for people who enjoy updating their Facebook status multiple times a day.

“Christina’s going to class!”

“Christina got an A on her photojournalism project, yay!”

“Christina is soooo sick, caught the Flagler Flu, boooo ;(”

You get the idea.  Why anyone would care enough to follow each other on Twitter is beyond me. But surprisingly, it’s caught on like wild fire . . . or a flesh-eating disease.

I think it would be really beneficial to our lives if we all just stepped away from the social networking web sites for a day. Yes, that includes visiting them on your iPhone and Blackberry, too. Just take a minute and live life without having to worry about updating everyone about what you’re currently doing. Take a walk — and don’t tell anyone! I promise that it will feel good.

Just try it.

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