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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Column: A social hiatus

Indecisiveness is frustrating.

About a month ago, I deactivated my Facebook account. For the majority of winter break I was free from the Farmville requests, ambiguous photo album titles and status updates everyone loves to hate. It was vindicating and I was proud.

Then school came around, and I reactivated it again. Looking back, the whole process made me look like an indecisive idiot. Even if nobody noticed, I still feel like one.

I’ve gone through this whole process probably six or seven times already, for various reasons each time, but always when I’m in a disgusted, bothered mood. Sometimes I deactivate it over the overly optimistic updates people post about their day at an ice skating rink in San Francisco. Other times, it’ll be over an epiphany that I’m not actually friends with the majority of my “friends,” and that by keeping it alive, I’m just lying to myself. It’s probably true.

But what bugs me the most about the whole thing is the fact that I actually do need it – or so I tell myself. I need it for my job at The Aggie and for my current technocultural studies class. I need it for the added communicative ability, the desire to stay relevant and the fact that Twitter still sucks.

And then minutes later, I’ll convince myself that I won’t need it. It will seem annoying again, for more and more reasons every time. For instance, a relatively new feature called “suggestions” adorns the right side of Facebook’s homepage – a little sidebar that shows pictures and links to people you either haven’t talked to recently or share mutual friends with.

“Say hello,” Facebook suggests about a friend I haven’t seen for years. Ever since Facebook implemented the whole instant messaging feature, it’s gotten a lot more chatty.

“Hell no,” I replied. I never really liked the guy anyway. He was pretty snobby, and I haven’t really missed him since he graduated. I removed him from the suggestion box – at least Facebook provides this option, too.

A familiar face then takes his place in the suggestion box as “someone I might know.” She and I have 30 mutual friends.

“You probably know her, so add her, bro,” Facebook suggests. Facebook’s right – I do know her. Only I deleted her from my friends a month ago because I can’t stand her. Thanks for making it awkward.

I usually tell my mom to delete her Facebook when she pops up on my news feed. She can’t stand it, either – mainly because of the corny attempts at poetry her middle-aged friends post as their status updates. But she keeps it to stay relevant and to check on her two sons.

An arts writer once wrote last January that “old people on Facebook” was the worst trend of 2008. Whether they’re here or not doesn’t matter to me. I just don’t know how they can stand it themselves. My uncle posts around 20 Youtube videos a day on his status updates. This bugs the hell out of my mom, who generally restricts her usage to her family and therefore sees nothing but his videos on her news feed.

What really prompted my last deactivation was when my eight-year-old cousin tried adding my mom to the HOT or NOT application. I think she did it to my grandma, too. What an idiot.

I know I’m not alone, either. Type “delete” into Google and the first auto-fill suggestion that pops up is “delete facebook account.” How many of them actually mean it? And is this really Facebook’s problem, or my own?

I think it’s Facebook’s. Time to delete the damn thing, once more.

JUSTIN T. HO actually likes Twitter, since it’s so simple and concise. Everyone should convert, and truly “share the news,” as Facebook suggestions often suggests. Agree at arts@theaggie.org.

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