Six Years of Facebook and Our Ever-Growing Dependency

Hedy Gutfreund Editorials Editor [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="368" caption="The Latin Forum Cover Page, September 2005"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1380" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="Forum Article, September 2005"][/caption]   While looking for a paper cup in some drawers during a Yearbook work night in the Pub (the publications room), I came across a stash of old Forum issues on newsprint. When I got to the September 2005 issue, I noticed something peculiar in the “What’s News” section: an announcement that informed the student body that “The Facebook, an online directory that connects college students across the nation, has recently created a high school version.” Then-senior Patrick Fink (’06) joked that “The Facebook” is “the new cocaine.” And as Sean Parker (portrayed by Justin Timberlake) says in The Social Network, one of the biggest blockbusters of last year, “We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the Internet!” And he could not be more correct – but maybe this is not something to be bitter about. Living on the internet can provide us with a global connection we previously did not have. But few could possibly predict what widespread positive effects Facebook has had on our community. It’s allowed our time at Latin to extend far past the classroom. I’m a part of many Latin-related groups (from “Nazi Mind Prosecutors 2011” to “Latin Forum 2011-2012”), and I find them immensely helpful. Latin can be connected far beyond the classroom. As Senior Katherine Pollock puts it, “Not only has [Facebook] made organizing events and meetings easier, but it has allowed conversations to continue outside of clubs block. For example, our LAW Facebook group is a place for people to post articles, leave comments, and just generally state their opinions. It has been great to be able to continue the discussions we have during school in a different forum.” Facebook may seem to some like a pointless waste of time, but it is a different level of communication unique to our generation. We know Facebook etiquette, fun Facebook emoticons (<(“), anyone?), and we know how to avoid Facebook spam. We have grown up with Facebook, and our online profiles are a part of who we are and how we connect with the world as a whole and with our friends as well. Sophomore Nicky Azar, who does not have his own Facebook page (though he does have one to communicate with members of the club he co-heads, KICK), notes that “not having Facebook is inconvenient and makes life harder, but it’s possible to live without.” Those who oppose to Facebook worry about how much time it will take up and safety issues as well. As I addressed in my May 2011 article about cyber security (, online profiles can, of course, be dangerous if we don’t take precautions. Many seniors changed their Facebook names to protect themselves from colleges unfairly judging them, and many others just do not want people to be able to find their Facebook profiles. Facebook has, however, recently updated its privacy settings, particularly restricting the shared content of a teenage profile (“adult” profiles of those who are over eighteen have less stringent security). Still, during the haze of exam stress and the day-to-day stress of Latin, many people find Facebook to be a huge distraction. With hundreds of friends online at a time, it sounds much more appealing to talk to people than to study. Sophomore Josh Martin, though, does not see Facebook as distracting. He argues, “Facebook isn’t a distraction at all. It makes it much easier to communicate with everyone I know. It helps me organize meetings with people, chat with multiple people at one time, and catch up with people I can’t see on a regular basis. Facebook is like texting on steroids, except more useful.” Like Patrick Fink, Josh compared Facebook to drugs, emphasizing its benefits but slightly conceding to its side effects. Though the 2005 issue of the Forum notes that it was a big change to allow high schoolers on Facebook (as opposed to when it was limited to college students), now, Facebook has extended to middle school students and even favorite pets. Forest Lubell, sophomore Lane Lubell’s parrot, is a favorite Facebook friend among many students. Lane comments, “I think it’s fine unless [the pets’ Facebook pages] are severely overused and/or take over the user’s own account.” A little Facebook humor never hurt anyone – a funny picture of a parrot in your newsfeed can be just as entertaining as a witty status. All differences aside, Facebook really allows our community to be tight-knit in a new way. I knew that we had a Forum meeting to discuss this issue because of our Facebook group. All of the quotes I gathered for this article were gotten through Facebook (with the exception of Nicky, of course). I will advertise the Forum on Facebook as usual, and our online dependency will continue to grow, but maybe in a more positive way than expected. Our use of social media will help us flourish, connect, and share.  ]]>