Facebook is not just an addiction--it's a disease

What Is Facebook Addiction?

These words will go down in history: “Susan Mulla has requested to add you as a friend, but before we can do that, you must confirm that you are, in fact, friends with Susan.” If you’re ever lucky enough to receive an email saying that phrase, you best accept my friendship. If you don’t, how else can we read each other’s profiles every five seconds, or write inside jokes on each other’s “walls”? I think we all know what I’m talking about here; it’s the Facebook , and it has changed the way we live as college students.

Some have said, “Facebook is the worst social disease to hit college campuses nationwide,” and I would have to agree with that statement. So let’s take a deeper look into this new fad that has taken so many of us captive.Being a member of this cult following, I’ve realized that quite possibly the most crucial aspect of the Facebook is creating a flawless profile. Many of us are guilty of spending hours upon hours crafting our profile to ensure we come across as desirable to that special someone stumbling upon it. A flattering picture is the first step to the perfect profile. Next, your music interests have to be listed, but in all honesty it’s just an opportunity for people to pretend they are really eclectic with their music tastes. For example one might write: “I’m totally into ‘Death Cab for Cutie,’ ‘The Pussycat Dolls’ and ‘Yo-Yo Ma.’” You don’t have to try to impress people by listing every band you’ve ever heard of — it’s pretty obvious you’re faking.

Then there is always the request for friendship from that old high school “friend” who you actually never said a word to in high school. Maybe it was the person who laughed in your face when you asked them to prom, and now expects you to accept their friendship. Heck no. I say reject that “friendship” and show them what they missed out on. Then, there’s that whole “poking” deal. I will never forget the first time I was “poked.” I just sat there at my computer dumbfounded, in awe of the words I saw in front of me: “You have been poked, do you want to poke back?” I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered, offended or violated.

There’s also that whole stalking thing, too. Let’s be honest. We can all admit that Facebook has opened a door to the opportunities to stalk people. For example — last year there was a guy in one of my classes who caught my eye, and being too scared to talk to him in person, I Facebooked him. About five minutes later I find myself sitting in my room listening to the mp3s I got off his AIM profile and flipping through his Web shots. What was I doing? I didn’t even know the guy and already he was serenading me.Now, I can’t help but ask myself what is going to come of us if we continue communicating via Facebook and Instant Messenger? Will we eventually meet people, start dating, get engaged, get married and have kids and get divorced, all in one chat session? I know it might seem like I’m sitting here pointing my finger at all of you, but I’m just as guilty of Facebook addiction and compulsive away message reading as the next screen name on your buddy list. To be completely honest, I haven’t yet met my Collegiate Times editor in person, because all we do is pass e-mail back and forth.

What killed normal human interaction? I think we have simply become lazy. It’s easier to put up an away message that will let people know if you’ve had a bad day or billboard every single detail of what your schedule entails for that day: “Off to class, then lunch, then the gym, then the bathroom, then washing my hands, then drying them.” Who needs to know all of that?

So here is what I say to you all of you who sit at your computers and check away messages and stalk the guy you saw at Hokie Grill once — stop living like this. I’m convinced that we could fritter our whole lives sitting in front of the computer screen. What we need to do is ask ourselves this question: “What will happen when all of my buddies are away, or when the Internet connection cuts short.” We need to face it and realize that life doesn’t happen on a computer screen, that having 202 friends on Facebook doesn’t make you cool.


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