Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why Facebook is Like High School

by Elodia Strain

I finally gave in. I made myself a Facebook page. I resisted for so long, but I was an advertising major in college and my ad training just wouldn’t allow me to let a good marketing venue sit untouched anymore.

So I sat down at my computer one day, no big deal, and signed up. I uploaded my photo and typed in my favorite movies and TV shows and felt relieved to have finally done this. But the relief was soon to be replaced by something more akin to, well, panic.

It started when I was Friended by an old high school pal, I’ll call her W. I was so excited! I clicked on her page, feeling exhilarated by the prospect of virtually catching up. But soon I was staring at the page, mind whirling.

My page didn’t have a cool background on it like W’s. I just had the white and blue normal ole Facebook page, but W found some trendy wallpaper on some website that apparently specializes in that kind of thing.
I also didn’t have tons of photos on my page like W did—amazing photos that made her look like the coolest person ever to live. I quickly scanned my photo folder to see what I could upload—but most of my photos are of me and my husband, taken by one of our outstretched hands.

And then there were W’s friends. Two hundred and some of them. I stared at the little friend box on the bottom of her page in shock. W and I are from a small California town. How did she have 278 Facebook friends? And how did her friends have so many friends? (Up to 980 in one case.) And, was it just me, or was this whole Facebook thing suddenly feeling a lot like high school? I mean, I was feeling like a total loser, something I haven’t really felt in quite this way since I left the hallowed halls of Los Banos High.

All of a sudden I had the pull to get myself a cooler page, some cooler photos, and some very cool friends.

I started with the friends. But the question was, who did I know? Over the next few days, I discovered the answer as friend requests started coming into my email box. More friends from high school. A few people who read my book. Old roommates. And even some complete strangers.

So this was how so many people had so many friends! I wasn’t a total loser. I just needed to dig out my old yearbooks and college directories—like everyone else was apparently doing—and I’d easily be on the cusp of two hundred friends. Whew.

Relieved, and pretty weirded-out that I’d gotten so sucked in by Facebook, I decided to forget about my boring page and lack of glam photos for now. Because if I were to go back to my high school self and tell her some words of wisdom, they would be: “Don’t worry so much.” And I have to practice what I preach.


Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Elodia, awesome blog. Can't we all relate to that? I wouldn't go back to high school if my life depended on it. Bleah. But I do have a brand new face book profile- I'm new, too. If we aren't friends yet, I'll click on you. :-)

Oh, and my page is extremely boring. :-)

Marcia Mickelson said...

I love Facebook. I've caught up with a lot of friends as well. I'll be your friend.

Julie Wright said...

My whole life is one big high school repeat of insecurity and feeling lame. I am so looking you up!

Tamra Norton said...

My sister just sent me a Facebook invite the other day. I really need to suck it up and come on board...right?