March 5, 2015
The generation that grew up with Facebook during its conception can agree: it’s pretty irrelevant these days compared to other forms of social media. We used to spend hours trolling through profiles, uploading picture albums, writing excessively long statuses, and sending messages to our friends. For us twenty-something year olds, Facebook was the first time our lives were digitally documented, and we don’t remember what life was like before this social media diary of our hormonal years. One might assume it’s just the fact that once you graduate from high school and college to join the real world you don’t have as much time for social media, but it seems apparent that we’ve just turned our attention elsewhere.
But think about this: Almost everything we were once accustomed to using Facebook for has been outsourced. Posting albums of pictures is still left to The Book, but our favorite and spur of the moment activities are documented and put on Instagram where we can scroll through pictures without all the white noise of ads, statuses, and Buzzfeed articles. Statuses were once the way in which we expressed our random thoughts, strong opinions, and heartfelt feelings. Now we express our words in 140 characters or less on Twitter. We used to write on people's walls when we didn't even have their phone numbers. Facebook messenger, Twitter Inbox and Instagram Direct Message are now used to creepily communicate with someone we're not on close terms with. Even posting videos on Facebook has transformed into using Snapchat and Vine to instantaneously share our surroundings with others. These single purpose forms of social media allow us to follow and interact with new friends, old flames, work acquaintances, complete strangers, our favorite celebrities, businesses and companies.
So why do we keep Facebook around? Well, it has all of the pictures we’ve posted and that our friends have tagged us in dating back 8 years and we’ve come attached to them. Everything from our eigth grade stepping fourth ceremony with that atrocious dress to our senior prom with an overly expensive gown and dud of a date is digitally documented. While friendships we once had might drift apart, we’re reluctant to get rid of the documentation that they once existed and that we actually thought it was acceptable to rOtAtE uPpEr CaSe aNd LoWeRcAse.
Most importantly, thank God for Facebook for reminding us when it’s our friends birthdays. We’re yet to understand how people managed before this system. But FYI Facebook, you’re getting aggressive, going out of your way to notify us when that creepy kid from our sophomore year group project adds a picture or that your cousins ex-girlfriend is still sending you Farmville Requests.
When we need to stalk someone in a hurry, we open Facebook because it’s just about the only form of social media left that has public pictures and people are 90% likely to use their real name. Other than stalking new acquaintances or complete strangers, we often need an excuse to back-stalk ourselves or others or get a quick chuckle by looking at the weirdos from high school who still post emotionally-infused status rants about politics. It's okay Facebook, you'll always be our #1 back burner bro.