Danny Licht, editor-in-chief
It was a big day when I signed up for Facebook. I was in eighth grade and I was excited. It was a whole new world. What I didn’t know then, though, was that Facebook is a trap. And now I hate it. And I don’t know how to get out.
When I first signed up, I looked for pages to like. I wanted everyone to know exactly how cool I was. I projected my identity onto the white-and-blue wonderland. I found friends who also liked The Killers. I shared photos. I said hi to my cousins in Palo Alto. I’d log on once a day, glance at the News Feed, check for messages, sign off. It was quick, and it was great.
But now it’s something else entirely. I log on by reflex. It’s quicksand. I can log off, sure, but it’s no use. I’m too vulnerable to its attractions. I’ve developed a desire to refresh the page to check for something. I constantly feel there’s something I could be finding out, that I’m forgetting someone’s birthday or that I should be responding to a message. I scroll down and down, deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole.
The problem, I think, is that it feels productive. After all, there’s always something new going on. With each refresh, I’m seeing something new. Someone else went somewhere else with someone else. Something else is hilarious on BuzzFeed. But these things are useless. They’re all missable. Facebook offers the pernicious sensation of doing something when I haven’t actually done anything.
What’s a boy to do? I’m a teenager with a desire to connect. If not online, then where am I going to talk to people? Outside? I end up infinitely scrolling, doing nothing, learning nothing. I can’t remember a single Facebook post I’ve seen in the last hour, and I’ve seen a lot. I could’ve been reading a book. I could’ve gone jogging. I could’ve gone to a friend’s house. But that’s all too much work, too much brain power. All Facebook wants is that I look at ads. It occupies me and requires nothing in return. It’s standby mode. It’s relaxing.
But when I wake up from that reverie and wander over to Jupiter calendar, and I see that I still have to read “Hamlet” and study Locke and find the derivative of inverse sine, I remember all those wasted hours. I wonder where the time has gone. I wonder why. I wonder if there’s anything I could have done. But I’ve asked these questions before. I know all the answers. I know that Facebook took it, and that I allowed it to — that I wanted it to — and that there’s nothing I can do to stop it. If I were to delete my account, I’d lose contact with most of my friends. And if I were to try to ignore it, I’d lose to my lack of self-discipline.
The only escape is to leave my phone at home and go outside, where the only remnants of Facebook are faces, and the birds are chirping. The sun is setting. The leaves are brown. And I can’t help but think that it would make for a good post.