It’s complicated

Sometimes I think that running a social media site must be like being in a relationship with someone who’s extremely high maintenance. You have to devote your life to making anyone interested in you happy, and if you slip up even once, you run the risk of them leaving you for something newer and cooler. Social media empires rise and fall at the drop of a hat: just look at Myspace, or Friendster, or a bunch of old social media sites that I’m not old enough to even remember existing. What seems cool one day might be lame the next, and it happens so quickly it’ll make your head spin. I’m still not sure how I’m supposed to feel about hash tags, honestly.

In this ever-changing social media landscape, Facebook has managed to succeed in a way nothing else has before. For some reason, what started out as what was essentially a virtual yearbook for college students became a global phenomenon. Over a billion people use Facebook every month, and half of them use it every single day. You probably have Facebook, and so do all your friends. And yet, despite Facebook’s unparalleled popularity,  it seems to be sort of... unpopular.

See, people love to complain about Facebook. Maybe it’ll be about the stupid latest update, or a new change in privacy settings, or the fact that it’s just soooo mainstream now. But even though no one seems to admit to liking Facebook, nobody’s actually leaving, either. People talk about doing it, sure. I have lots of friends who deactivate their Facebook account only to re-activate it in a couple of days, and if I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say “I would stop using Facebook if my friends did,” I would never have to worry about my student loans again. The problem is, your friends aren’t going to leave Facebook. And why would they? All of their friends use it. Facebook’s not going anywhere anytime soon, surely disappointing millions of Facebook users.

The resentment towards Facebook can’t just be about Farmville and your mom sending you friend requests, though. People are probably starting to feel like Facebook’s taking control away from them. Facebook asks you to reveal so much of yourself to the world, which can be pretty scary to some people. To make matters worse, quitting Facebook, or even never joining Facebook at all, just doesn’t seem possible anymore.

It’s weird how Facebook has become so integrated into our lives. It’s gotten to the point that I immediately think it’s weird when I meet someone who doesn’t use it. I mean, who doesn’t have Facebook? Probably axe murderers, war criminals, people who don’t like Jennifer Lawrence — you know, anyone who has stuff to hide. But normal people have Facebook, right? When did that happen?

How can anyone even live without Facebook anymore? We’ve become so dependent on it — to keep in touch with our friends, to laugh at the misfortune of our enemies, to get likes on our latest selfies — that it would be impossible to leave. Facebook is like a constant reminder of our shortcomings as people, and so we hate it. But on the bright side, you can always write a Facebook status about how much you hate Facebook, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a few likes, so you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.


<em>The word &ldquo;Facebook&rdquo; is written in this column 25 times. I&rsquo;ll be waiting for my cheque in the mail, Zuckerberg. </em>