From Imagine ISP
Hello. My name is Lara and I am a Facebook addict. It has been five minutes since I last checked my feed, and I my mouse is already starting to itch in that direction.
Okay, so I exaggerate a little, but only a little. And I’m not nearly as bad as I used to be. I first joined the fad back in University, shortly after the website was started. I added some friends, posted some photos, wrote some status updates, etc. And then I went a bit off the wire. I started using Facebook as a procrastination tool. Write an essay? Sure, I’ll get around to that. Just after I check my feed. Ooh, someone has posted something interesting? I must reply, repost, comment and then check back periodically to see who else has commented.
Facebook became my social life and I stopped spending time with real people and opted to Facebook chat with them instead. I invited people from school to friend me, even though we had never said more than two words to each other. Whenever I got an invite, even from someone I didn’t know, it pained me to reject them. It felt like rejecting a friendship, something that I would never want to do. And yet, it was merely avoiding creepy people who had found my profile by unknown means. Not quite the same thing.
This was not the first fad I had followed. I was part of the MySpace crowd for a little while, I participated in Hot or Not, I did the online dating thing and, even my early teenage years were spent glued to mIRC, where I felt more comfortable interacting with people than I did in person. Facebook was just the latest way of online interaction, and I wanted to be a part of it.
As I grew up and my studies took precedence, I started checking up on my Facebook less and less. When I went overseas for a year, I picked back up on it a bit, using it as a tool to connect to friends back home, to check on South African news and to make sure that I was in the loop with my foreign friends as well. Facebook became the great equaliser. Sure, I didn’t speak the same language as some of the Korean friends that I made, but we could still be Facebook friends!
And now, here I am, 6 years on, still using the website. I think that says something. MySpace, mIRC, they were fads. But Facebook has become more than that. It has become the ultimate social networking tool. It is not just about friending the people from high school to make yourself look cool or updating your status to tell everyone what you ate for breakfast. It is more than just the procrastination that it used to be (even though it still serves this purpose pretty darn well.)
So why do I still use Facebook? First and foremost, I use it to keep up to date on what’s happening around me. If a friend has a birthday coming up, I am usually only reminded about it because Facebook reminds me. If an event is happening, I know that I am not going to be getting a hand written invitation, but am far more likely to get a Facebook invite.
In addition, I tend to do photography on the side. Facebook has become a platform for my photographs. Not only can I post them to my account and have my friends view and comment on them, I can also create my own photography page and try to make my hobby into something more.
Status updates have become so much more than just telling someone what you are doing in that very moment. Sure, they are still sometimes used that way, but they can also be used to pass on a message to the hundreds of people that you call Facebook friends, to share links that you find important or meaningful, to share news (and by news, I mean both national and personal) as well as to entertain. You can even share a link from your page, telling clients and potential clients about new products, new opportunities and new promotions.
I may be a Facebook addict, but at this stage, I do not see it as something that I need to get help for. Rather, I see it as something that helps me navigate through the web of the Internet and keep in touch with friends and family, as well as the few acquaintances on the side. So tell me, are you part of the fad? Maybe Facebook addiction is not such a bad thing.
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