My Life Before Facebook

Lily is a 16-year-old from Placentia, CA. She enjoys playing guitar, writing, and watching movies. Her favorite subject is Language Arts.

Facebook, Online Predators, Social Networking, Growing up Online

In all honesty, if Facebook had never been invented, I wouldn’t know what I was missing. My life was as normal as it could be for a teenage girl. My friends and I spent a lot of time together, but I wasn’t as into their lives as I am now. That’s the thing with Facebook; it opens up a new introspective world. A new way to connect.  I could talk with my friends anytime I wanted. I could see if so and so was dating someone else. Behind my computer screen, I was very observant. It was actually a little scary, and sometimes the monster known as “Facebook drama” would rear its ugly head. But the online world was also exciting. I could create a profile. I could present myself to my Facebook community in a new and different way. This wasn’t the same as Myspace. Myspace was messy, cluttered, and peoples’ profiles were more of a façade of glittery images and loud music that shocked you when you first clicked on their page. Facebook was cleaner, neater, and gave you more of a chance to express yourself in a personal, genuine way without the clutter and ostentatious bother of Myspace.

 

That being said, Facebook was a new danger. I made sure my privacy settings were up to date and strong but even now I get random friend requests from middle aged men and strangers, sometimes those from different countries. Facebook also limited the face-to-face conversations my friends and I had. I find myself typing to friends more than speaking. It’s unordinary if you really think about it, how much we now know about each other simply by looking at our friends’ Facebook profiles. Myspace was merely for decoration, the number of friends in your list and who was in your “top 8”. Facebook was your internet self, your page. It also started reaching out to people of all ages. My family (including my extended family) now has a Facebook. One status update can change everything. I find I censor myself a lot on Facebook in fear of my family’s eyes as well as future employer’s.

 

But while Facebook may be a contradiction at times; both freeing and limiting, it’s also addicting. People find they can’t tear themselves away from their online personas and their friend’s latest status updates. This creates a lot of time away from real communication. I fall victim to this as well. At the end of the school day I’m too tired to plan things with my friends. After all the homework a night I just want to lounge around my house. However, social connection is right at my fingertips. It’s a quick alternative to classic social interaction however it should not be your only social interaction. I’m trying my best to limit my Facebook (and computer) time. But I doubt I’ll ever delete my profile any time soon.

 

This Week’s Sponsor:
If you can survive a teenager, you can survive anything.
In Leah’s Wake – a novel by Terri Giuliano Long
“This is a story that will stay with you for days and weeks.” –Radical Parenting

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