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The Carletonian

Does Facebook make us too available? Ponder this: A column by Erin Anderson

<sn't great friends with Bobbie. She played on my volleyball team for a season and I would say we became pretty good friends. The last time we had been in touch I knew that she was seriously dating a guy and they were planning on being together “forever.” We had even discussed possible details of their wedding (which everyone who was familiar with their relationship assumed was going to happen). But life took its course and Bobbie and I parted ways.

We haven’t talked for about a year, so it might strike some of you as curious that, without having any direct contact with Bobbie, I recently discovered that she and her beloved boo broke up because he was being unfaithful. I also know that she was heartbroken, confused, and is now trying to move on. Did I hear this through the grapevine of volleyball friends that Bobbie and I share? No. Did I talk to friends that were friends with Bobbie’s ex-boyfriend to find out this juicy gossip? No.

All I had to do to find out such personal information was log onto the Internet and launch a website I’m sure many of us are familiar with- Facebook. Ah, an all too familiar term. Yes, indeed, Facebook was the source of information. I simply signed on, went to my home page and glanced at the going-ons of the day, one of which happened to be a broken heart symbol followed by Bobbie _______ and Frank _______ ended their relationship. Of course, I was curious, so I looked at her page. Upon doing so, I couldn’t help but read her status- corny song lyrics: “I gotta shake it off, cause the lovin’ ain’t the same, and you keep on playin’ games…”. I’m not a complete idiot so I put two and two together and figured the reason for such a status had something to do with her apparent break-up. As if this wasn’t enough information for me to take in all at once, I couldn’t help but glance at the previous day’s status which Bobbie had dutifully filled out: “Why can’t she see he’s taken? Why does she want him to break my heart?” Then the day before: “Bobbie doesn’t know what to do anymore.” AND the day before: “If that b**** doesn’t stay away from him she better watch her back…” I think we can all put the pieces together here.

Now you might be wondering why you should care about Bobbie and Frank’s unfortunate (well, more unfortunate for Bobbie since Frank had apparently been doing just fine for himself) predicament? You shouldn’t. It’s just what I find to be a wonderful example of how our personal lives have been diminishing greatly since the invention of Facebook. I know that each person who has a Facebook personally made the choice to create one. But I never figured it would get to the point at which it is today. Say you go online. The home page screen uploads in front of your face and you can instantly see who has a birthday today, what parties/events are taking place today, who broke up with who or who got asked out today, etc. You can even go ultimate creeper status and see exactly who is signed on to Facebook at any precise moment. And as if the options of calling, texting, and e-mailing someone aren’t enough, you always have Facebook chat! These are just a few things that you can do when signed on. But then there’s also the flip side – when we’re not signed on. This is perhaps what I find most thought-provoking. Even when I have no desire to communicate with anyone via Facebook chat, or even when I have no desire to see who was born on this day, or who asked who out, there are people viewing my page. Anyone at any given time has the option of scanning my pictures, seeing who I hang out with, what I wear when I go out, what I do when I go out.

At any given time someone is able to learn personal information about me, anything from my date of birth and city of residence to my political and religious views. And even if I don’t want them to, anyone, whether or not they are my friend, has the option of sending me an Inbox message. Find this kind of creepy? If you don’t, great. But if you do, I hope that you will ponder this.

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