The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 28th

Get some face time; eliminate Facebook

My senior year of college, the student newspaper announced that a new Web site called “” was open to our campus community.

With a few clicks of a mouse, I became part of the first 50,000 users — now only a small drop in the 400 million-person networking tsunami that exists today.

But two years ago this month, Facebook and I broke up. I’m not sure if the news feed announced it. But I do know that of my hundreds of friends, only two noticed that I left.

Why leave? I’m sure you could name a few reasons. It was a time suck. Nothing really came of it. I felt like a voyeur. I was seeing weddings I wasn’t invited to, finding out about parties with people I didn’t know and befriending people I just met.

More than the looking itself, it was the drive to keep looking that turned me off. I imagined people looking at my page. Worse yet, I imagined people not looking at my page. It was like “Rear Window,” except I never looked as good as Grace Kelly.

I enjoyed seeing old friends, but I realized that I didn’t feel closer to any of them. I just got the gossip on them — what they were doing and where they were. I didn’t talk to them. I didn’t write them. I just looked at them. And their friends. And their family. And their Christmas photos. And their ultrasounds.

My mother tells me stories of her old boyfriends, with the emphasis on old. In the past. Incommunicado.

Any curiosity about what they are up to now is met with a shrug and a sigh.

But now with Facebook, no one is allowed to let go of the past. Once we graduate, break up or search for a clean slate, some friends stick around like party guests that won’t leave.

And while we’re glued to the past, we’re not allowed to step into the future either.

What once was unknown can be known with a click of Google’s search button. I once met a guy and thought, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” and realized that somewhere was Facebook.

He was married to an old middle-school friend of mine. I wanted to say, “The honeymoon in St. Bart’s looked fun!” but that would have been weird.

Of course, Facebook has also been a fantastic way to bring people together. But for me, I wasn’t getting a chance to move on.

The more I was looking into the other worlds and comparing it to mine, the less connected I felt to it all.

Since then, I’ve started graduate school, and I might have missed a gathering or two announced among Facebook friends, but now I like the idea that if someone wants to get to know me, they’re going to have to work for it. It’s like an automatic screening test for seriousness and loyalty.

You’re going to have to ask me — in person — my age and hometown, my religion and political affiliation. I’ll show you my favorite movies and play you my favorite songs. I’ll share my photos with you and tell you about my wonderful friends. I’ll add you to my personal — for my eyes only — collection and, if need be, I will let you move on and grow up.

And I’m finally living the life I’d love to put on Facebook.


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