It was the beginning of my sophomore year and the entire student body at USC had just gained access to the newbie social networking site. We learned that Facebook originated at Harvard, spread to the other Ivy’s and finally made the 3,000 miles journey west to Stanford, UCLA, and USC. My friends and I carefully crafted our retrospectively primitive profiles by adding birthdays, classes and other basic information. We agonized over the perfect profile picture because if you recall, users were only offered one pixilated representation.
Recently Facebook has undergone scrutiny regarding their privacy settings. It seems that people are suddenly feeling violated by the somewhat complicated privacy options. In fact, recently I have found myself defending Facebook’s honor whenever a disloyal user casually threatens to un-friend the online sphere. I stand by my conviction that social networking will only further infiltrate our society; there is no sense in fighting an inevitable. I’m sure there was much controversy over e-mail in its infantile stage; how impersonal! Can you imagine not using it now?
Honestly, having been a Facebook user for six harmonious years has afforded me the luxury of growing with the network. Mark Zuckerberg and his team have introduced countless changes and tweaks every year, which has made understanding what Facebook is today fairly seamless for long-time members, such as myself.
However, every one of those new additions was met with resistance from users, because people don’t like change. Some people might remember the controversy over the introduction of the news feed about three years ago. The modification took some adjusting, but right on its heels followed its cousin, Twitter.
But back to the privacy uproar of present. Yes, more information is available online; your information to be exact. However, skeptics tend to overlook that users are in full control of how much information is given. The only real requirements are your full name and email, which is a heck of a lot less incriminating than ordering a pair of shoes online.
While the sharing of personal information is admittedly a scary subject, it’s the future. I suppose I just don’t find our future to be bleak. The world wide transmission of information has led to so many wonderful reunions and created an easy way to connect. I personally keep in touch with literally hundreds of people I would have otherwise let fall to the wayside of my life. Aside from personal connections, I feel more connected to the world in general, and I don’t even mind being shown targeted advertisements every three seconds.
Bottom line: Next time you get frustrated/upset because you keep getting Farmville invitations or you just saw that your Ex is engaged…rethink pressing the delete button. The truth is you’ll only end up signing up again once you get bored/curious/over your Ex.
Today I made the holy pilgrimage to…the Sanrio store. For those of you unfamiliar with this blessed place, it’s the store that sells Hello Kitty shit. Growing up a young nerd, I found myself inexplicable obsessed with this adorable Japanese import. Any gift money received went straight into Sanrio revenue. I should really be a share holder at this point.
My friend Roxy, who also shares this childhood affinity, and I drove to the only Sanrio store in Colorado. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. It was a tiny little hole in the wall compared to my memories of walls packed with scented erasers, plastic wallets, and tiny notepads. I hate growing up; everything is so damn small.
Regardless of my let down, my friend and I still managed to spend one whole hour scouring 250 sq. ft. There were just too many things to “ooh” and “ah” over. Countless pencil cases that brought tidal waves of nostalgia, and a sheets of stickers that caused squeals of delight from young women in their mid-20’s.
I walked into this mess fearing for my checking account. I no longer had a monetary limit, or a mother to say “NO.” Luckily, said mother’s voice in my head prevented me from a chaotic impulse purchase tornado. I managed to escape this bright and inviting trap spending less than $30. However, this trip uncovered a retarded obsession that laid dormant for several years. I suppose this means there will be more pilgrimages to the holy land to come. I hear there is a three-story location in San Francisco….
In the past few years I have optimistically started several blogs. Most of my virtual attempts at self-expression were born on particularly lonely nights. You know those nights; the kind of nights when you’re convinced no one in your REAL life understands you. The only answer is to turn to the world wide web. Oddly enough, you’re confident that only someone totally unrelated to you will somehow…relate.
My previous self indulgent rants never reached beyond a few entries. My last pathetic try still only contains one lonesome blog. I don’t know why this surprises me, really. When I was younger I seemed fairly adamant on starting copious journals and diaries, but never finishing them. I would abandon my journals like lame friends, only to find them resurfaced months later. Upon reading my past thoughts and desires, I would deem them trite (like most of my writing) and shove it in a drawer (like most of my feelings).
Bottom line: people change. I am hoping this blog doesn’t end up in a virtual drawer only to be shamed like its predecessors. Seriously. It’s different this time.