How many times is your browser opened to Facebook and you find yourself having nothing to do but continuously hit the refresh button? You’ve already scrolled down the newsfeed up to where you left off last time… you’ve already commented on all the semi-interesting links people posted… you’ve already stalked all the pretty girls you felt like looking at for the day… so what now? What is it you are hoping to see on your Facebook feed that you cannot find anywhere else in life?
This is the question I want to ask today.
First, I want to offer some ideas as to why Facebook became such an indispensable part of our lives:
1.) Facebook offers us a sense of community. Kind of like being in an exclusive club with all the cool kids. In a fast paced world like ours, being –or rather— feeling excluded is something we find unbearable.
2.) Facebook offers us a way to express our individuality. We can “like” certain movies or certain celebrities etc. This important act announces to the world that we’ve got “good taste”. Also, status updates: there are people out there that depend on your daily postings of what you had ingested for breakfast.
3.) Facebook allows us to stay “in the know” about the people in our lives. We no longer need to talk to our friends in order to know what’s happening in their lives. This includes big news like getting knocked-up. People have no shame in sharing, on the contrary, they want you (someone they probably met a total of twice in their lives) to know that their last check up with the gynaecologist was a success!
4.) Facebook offer us a variety of games to play to get a break from “real life”. After a long day at work, you just want to come home and reap the carrots you sowed last night on Farmville, take your dog Tidus for a walk on Pet Society, and then recruit some new members to your gang in Mafia Wars.
5.) Facebook allows us to find interesting things we otherwise might not find via the links people share on their walls. For some of us, what people share is our only source for news and other worldly affairs.
6.) Most importantly, Facebook lets us see semi-nude pictures of the hot friends of our friends who conveniently left their privacy settings wide-open. God bless their souls.
In summary, Facebook provide us with a cool community to voice our opinions; a way to contact and keep up with our friends; ingenious games, news, and soft-core pornography. As to the question what is it we are looking for when we refresh our Facebook page, I suggest it is nothing less than the meaning of life itself. The elusive thing that will answer all our questions as to why we are here and the shining light that will instantaneously endow our lives with infinite value and happiness. As to the more pressing question of whether or not we’ll find it in such a place, I offer an analogy:
We are like the prisoners of Plato’s cave enchanted by the beautiful shadows on the wall… except it is not chains holding us down, it is the allure of the shadows… shadows that dance so poignantly that we cannot for a second stop clicking refresh.