An emoticon speaks a thousand words

Facebook is a horrible invention. A stalkers’ paradise, the triumph of impersonality and insincerity over genuine communication, and a way to publicise your life to others, it’s a miracle real social interaction still exists in the world. I see it as nothing more than an advert, a means by which we can all stand beaming in the thousands of identical photos that have been tagged, like each others’ pearls of wisdom (otherwise known as status updates) and talk about how interesting and exciting our lives are to everybody and nobody all at the same time.

Now I don’t claim to be innocent in this; I, like many people, am an avid user of Facebook and deeply ashamed to say I look at it every day, a number of times. I would delete it, but I’d feel somehow disconnected, like I were missing something, even though nothing really occurs in a virtual universe, and no pleasure can be derived from reading about the lives of others at the expense of your own.

As if the social networking giant which could, in a post-apocalyptic vision of our future, constitute the world’s first ‘global database’ with which our lives might be controlled to a greater extent, wants to dictate to its ‘users’ even more, we now have the deeply unsettling side bar. In this no activity undertaken on Facebook goes unnoticed, it seems, so stalking or at the very least obsessively observing what other people are doing becomes as easy as nodding and speaking when you’re instructed to.

The most terrifying prospect of all, though, is that Facebook’s power and hold over our lives will only augment, as will the amount of data they hold on each of us. If this doesn’t bother you, then just make sure you don’t reduce your interactions purely to this, the social network. Otherwise in reality, you just won’t be saying anything at all.


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May 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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