Facebook, once exclusively for college students, is now open to all and as open as can be. Over the past few years, the site has undergone continual changes in terms of how much insight you are allowed into your facebook friends’ lives.
The newsfeed sidebar shows a variety of updates from what people post, comment on, or hit Like on. The recipients of their activity may or may not be your mutual friends, thus you’re granted a window into your friends’ lives outside your own friendship.
More recently, features have been added that show how long ago someone was online or active. Oftentimes people deliberately check-in to places, and other times their mobile gps shows their location. Additionally, when sending a private message to a friend, you are now able to see whether they’ve viewed your message or not.
What’s wrong with all this? Well nothing except that it can aid you in questioning your self-worth from time to time. People may be on appear offline but you see updates from them in the sidebar. Does that mean they’re on invisible and talking to others but not with you? Your friend has clearly seen your message, but has not responded in two days. They seem to be active otherwise though, so are they ignoring you? Are they bored of you—how hard is it to message back that they should wait this long?
Well whether those assumptions are true or not isn’t important. What is important is that they are in fact assumptions and don’t deserve quite so much of your time.
And so I theorize that the trick to Facebook is to use it precisely for its purpose—stalk people, but do it openly.
In the online world, “out of sight, out of mind’ is unfortunately a timeless risk, and people may sometimes need a reminder that you exist. Don’t take it personally. This has to do with the nature of the the digital medium itself, and not your friend’s insensitivity towards you.
So keep it open, break the spell of facebook. Honesty is to this day, the best policy.