I joined Facebook sometime in the summer following high school graduation to keep in touch with friends and to transition to college by friending random NYU upperclassmen to ask them about the school, both in anticipation over attending it in a few months and in worry over whether i made the right choice. I also randomly friended other NYU freshmen if i liked their Interests. Shameful, i know, judging people by their Facebook profiles, but i didn’t know better back then. Both these types of friend requests, especially the latter, would be considered inappropriate by today’s Facebook etiquette, and some of these friends are still on my list, showing up in my News Feed from time to time. Not including those upperclassmen who were very nice to me, providing helpful advice and still checking in on me from time to time, and those “interesting profile” people who, to this day, write witty status updates and share interesting links (which i’m always looking for), these people don’t matter to me and i wish i hadn’t been so thoughtless to friend them in the first place. I know there’s the option of hiding specific people’s activity, preventing them from showing up in your News Feed, but even the thought of doing that makes me feel guilty (even though i know they’ll never know), because i was the one who friended them.
Today, i use Facebook for three things: keeping up with my friends’ lives, communicating with Facebook-appointment-making-exclusive friends (to be explained later), and for keeping up with the online and offline world.
Since my social life is nearly non-existent, i rely on Facebook to find out what my friends are up to and remind myself that there is indeed life happening above the rock i sometimes live under. As for the above-mentioned FAME friends, i have a select group of friends, mostly those i’ve made in college, with whom i make appointments to see each other almost exclusively on Facebook (as opposed to by e-mail or phone). And these are mostly college friends because, as opposed to high school when i didn’t have Facebook and didn’t need it to make friends, almost all of my college friendships either took place entirely over Facebook or were largely undergirded by it, with the help of friendly messaging and wall posting and link sharing. In other words, without Facebook, it would probably have been much harder for me to make friends in college, especially since i went to a school with over 20,000 undergrads. I don’t know if that says more about me or Facebook or NYU.