It should come as no surprise that I, like many fellow high school students, enjoy spending time on Facebook. “Spending,” however, might be an inaccurate verb here; it could be “losing,” or even “throwing away.”
Spending time on Facebook is like losing dimes out of a hole in the pocket of an old coat.
For the technologically unaware, Facebook is a social networking site. In other words, an opportunity for, generally, high school and college students to share pictures, communicate via “wall” posts and participate in some form of online stalking or another.
I can’t count the number of times I have heard a friend or acquaintance say, “I don’t know who that is – can we look her up on Facebook?” Or “Is he single? Let’s check Facebook!” Or even, “What did they do last weekend? Let’s see on Facebook!”
Some of the most interesting and unusual pursuits on Facebook, however, come in the form of applications. These are the optional boxes on which a user may feature his or her profile, and they range from the self-important to the silly to the just plain strange.
A politically minded person may post her views in the “Take a Stand” application; a bored person may post his latest top score on the Facebook game-of-the-moment.
And while the newest update to the Facebook layout allowed users to ignore these often numerous and distracting boxes, they are often hard to completely disregard. After all, half of my new notifications on any given day are invitations to “CATCH!” or “THROW BACK!” a snowball that a relative stranger in my Spanish class virtually “threw” at me.
Romantics might complain that Facebook removes much of the purely physical interaction of one’s normal relationships, but Facebook applications seem all about physical contact. The aforementioned snowballs may be “thrown” at one’s Facebook friends, along with turkeys, Santas, or vice presidential nominations, depending upon the season.
One may “poke” a friend – a choice which normally instigates a seemingly interminable “war,” which consists only of clicking “okay” every time one receives a notification saying, “So-and-so has poked you. Do you want to poke so-and-so back?”
A startling number of people also choose to enable the zombie-schoolgirl-werewolf-vampire type application, which allows one to “attack” and infect other users while in the guise of the chosen monster.
Such an infection causes the friend to, I suppose, suddenly decide that it’s great fun to pretend to be a ghoulish type and irritate friends with online “attacks.”
A number of Facebook applications would also make highly interesting social experiments.
At the top of this list is the infamous Honesty Box. Imagine a permanent suggestion box stapled outside your door, where anyone can deposit a slip saying anything at all – whether that statement is personal, sweet, or downright nasty – and you may never know who sent it.
I have received Honesty Box comments ranging from inquiries on the state of my relationships to input on my clothing. If nothing else, it serves as an intriguing statement on the bravery granted by online anonymity.
Students can also anonymously and callously rate and rank one another through such self-explanatory applications as “Are You Interested?” or “Compare People.” Of these, I have attempted to steer clear.
All in all, Facebook applications are mostly harmless fun, if at times a bit inexplicable. They add another layer of interest to Facebook, otherwise known as The Place Where Productivity Goes To Die When You Should Be Doing Homework.
Julia Ringo, a senior a Bainbridge High School, is writing a monthly column for the Review.