Thursday, December 06, 2007

I hate you, and yet I want to add you as a friend (a guide to finally getting over social networking).

Before I even start this one up, I intentionally waited to write anything on social networking. I wanted to wait until this trend was on the down-swing... Up until this point, every time I wrote on the subject, there was a strange hint of positivity, mainly stemming from the fact that, no matter how many times I said that Myspace was awful and Facebook was dull, I secretly loved my daily online fix.
It started when I moved away from home for the first time when I was seventeen. I ran away from everyone I knew, and flew to France. I learned very quickly that small French villages don't take too kindly to a strange Canadian that throws a terrible Quebecois accent onto every word. After a few months, I got tired of having to take the bus five hours to Paris or Nice to have any sort of conversation with someone that didn't give me dirty looks or make fun of me to my face, so I started chatting on MSN to everyone back home. In the next few years, I made a ton of international friends, and was using MSN and AIM to keep in touch with them, in the days before digital phone service (no long distance charges, son).

One summer when I was in the States, someone asked me if I was on Myspace. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I signed up anyway. I didn't fill out any of the information on myself, and I didn't put up any pictures or backgrounds or music or add any friends. As a matter of fact, I left it that way for over a year. I was over it before I even started. Meanwhile, while I was ignoring the online world, shit was blowing up like Baghdad, and everyone had a profile with fancy songs and colors and pictures of them drinking a 40 of Olde English when they were goofing off that one time.

Enough was enough. I added photos and some Biggie tracks and the comments and friend requests started coming. This was the point that was like that special time in an alcoholic's life where they decide that it's totally okay to drink a couple of litres of cheap vodka a day because they're bored anyway....
...I would wake up in the morning and check Myspace, then go to work and check Myspace, then check it again because sometimes people post kooky bulletins while they're at work. Then, I'd go home and check Myspace a few more times before going to bed. Someone could offer me an all-expenses paid trip around the world, and I'd be all, "Okay, just let me check my Myspace first".

Then one day, someone started mentioning Facebook, something that I had heard a ton about while I was in the States, but had yet to encounter in Canada yet. Quickly, it became quite obvious that everyone in the country was making the shift from one site to another, and Myspace was about to be left in the dirt (my American friends, however, seem to be intent on keeping both sites in good working order). At first, I hated Facebook, mainly because I couldn't come home after a good night of drinking and add a new esoteric song to my profile. That being said, it didn't take long for me to realize that social networking is not about individuality anyway.

Initially, Facebook was a friend-request frenzy. I accepted and added freely. Then one day, I realized that I was learning way too much about people I didn't even really like that much. I did a little bit of a sweep of my friends list, and vowed to be a bit more choosy. This was the first sign that maybe the trend was slowing down a bit. Then one day, not too long ago, my dad added me as a friend. My dad is the raddest guy ever, it was the most adorable thing I'd ever seen, and I'm always thrilled to be "online buddies" with one of my creators, but I think it signified the end of an era.

Although I'm still a daily user, my cynicism has grown exponentially. No longer am I waiting for the next amazing bulletin or a new kooky photo album. No, what I'm really waiting for is the next big site to come and sweep Facebook out to sea.

(Sike! You guys didn't think I was that bummed about social networking, did you? Yes, those sites are totally stupid, but it's totally okay because I'm bored anyway.)

~sarah p.

No comments: