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What is the real purpose of Facebook?
I will admit that I have Facebook and I am the proud owner of 95 "friends". I came to Facebook late in life at the ripe age of 23 so I had missed the opportunity to friend anyone I had ever met, acknowledged, or ignored during my college years. But 95 is not shabby number, with 95 friends I should never have a moment to spare and should be glued to my cell at all times, and yet once the majority of weekends roll around I seem to only be hanging out with my husband, going for coffee with my mom, "training" my dog (usually she is training me), or working on my course work for grad school. My closest friends have moved away and we see each other all too infrequently, so wouldn't you think my other 90 or so friends should step up?
Indeed they should, but these "friends" are really just what I like to call 'friend collectors' or what others might call 'cyber stalkers'. Not in an illegal way mind you, but there are in fact people who just remain on Facebook all day long eagerly waiting for updated statuses from people they have not seen face to face since high school. To them I am not a real friend, or of any real importance whatsoever, I am simply the difference between having 999 friends and the much sought after 1,000. Recently I friended a classmate from high school at her own request, and after I approved it I saw her profile, almost 1,500 friends! how could this be possible? Think of how many Christmas cards she must have to send! Remembering this girl from high school I could only come to the conclusion that she has either done something outstanding for the community if so any people knew her, or she must be the ultimate friend collector! Looking through her list I started to see familiar names and faces, it seemed plausible that she knew these people, but then I saw my ex-boyfriend who was four years older than me, and since we were together for almost 7 years I knew for a fact that she did not know him from Adam. Then I saw my brother-in-law's step-brother, another impossible connection! I came to the only conclusion I could, that this poor girl was using Facebook to fill a void in her own life, the idea that she had almost 1,500 virtual friends was a comfort compared to the reality of having only a few friends in real life.
Another great example of a Facebook friend was a young woman who could not stand me in middle school and honestly I don't even think she went to my high school. She friended me a couple of months back, I accepted. Last week I was walking down the hall in the mall and I saw her, I went to catch her eye but when she saw me she looked away. Aren't we friends? She sought me out on Facebook and made the effort to make me her friend, and yet now we were face to face and she chose to ignore me. I'm lost, it is as if you want to comb through my profile, see what my life is like, but only if you don't have to ask me directly.
People also seem a lot more brave on Facebook. I recently posted an article on my view on health care reformin America. Then one of my husband's friends from college made a snide comment about what I had written under the posting. What annoyed me was not that she gave her opinion, I believe that everyone should give their opinion. It was that I knew that if we were face to face she never would have opened her mouth. But the power of Facebook makes people believe that they are invincible and if the debate gets heated they can just sign-off, no need to stay and stand your ground like an adult.
So I ask again, is this for real? Why is this society reaching the point where we want to spend hours searching through all of our 'friends' profiles but we want nothing to do with the people in real life? Why do people really think I care what someone else posted on their Facebook page? If I wanted to know I would drift in to the world of make believe and find it for myself.