By Danielle O’Connor
The world’s most recognised social network has recently hit double digits. It’s been a decade since a fresh-faced Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room. Congrats, Zuckerberg. You hit the big time.
Initially, Facebook was a way for Harvard students to communicate before its reach expanded to high schools and other colleges of the like. Today, it’s a platform for anyone of any age — despite a restriction on users under 13-years-old — to interact and network with people around the world. Friends and family on opposite sides of the globe can keep in touch without the screaming matches usually involved in long-distance phone calls.
It’s also a brilliant way to reconnect with that pen pal you had from Argentina who’s now 6’3”, full of muscle and has their profile set to public. Aside from infinite opportunities to network with friends and family, what kind of influence is this phenomenon having on our day-to-day lives? Enter students everywhere.
I’ve been an avid and devoted Facebook user since 15 March 2009. Specific, right? I know this because Facebook told me, just like it tells me when my friends’ birthdays are, and what events I agreed to attend months ago. These are but some of the innovations and ingenuity old mate Mark and his buddies developed for our ease and convenience.
This constant flow of information has become somewhat of a necessity, particularly within Gen Y. It’s infiltrated every one of our screens from desktop to laptop to tablet to mobile, and I’m no exception to the rule. I’m the first to admit that I’ll scroll right down to the last post I read before I logged off my computer (only to do a quick check on my phone once I’m in bed) so that I don’t miss anything. I mean, really, who doesn’t want to be in the know 20 times over about what Adelaide’s weather is doing? Admit it, you do it too.
The dominance of social media is everywhere, and students struggle to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Getting enough quality and regular sleep, devoting an adequate amount of time to study and keeping a healthy (and real) social life is practically unheard of, and Facebook is contributing to the issue.
It’s the perfect form of procrastination: simply refresh the page and your newsfeed is instantly flooded with hilarious videos, trivial status updates and uncomfortably relevant university memes. It’s a vicious cycle.
But Facebook isn’t the source of the problem. We are. A well-seasoned procrastinator will find a way to avoid work no matter what — the internet is merely one distraction. Even cleaning one’s room can become a fascinating-even-to-the-point-of- enjoyable task when the call of assignments sounds. There are definitely limits that we as Facebook users need to enforce on ourselves for the sake of our degrees and, quite possibly, our lecturers’ collective sanity.
So don’t be ‘that guy’, up at 3am writing an essay due at 9am the same day because you procrastinated on Facebook for too long.
I’ve been ‘that guy’. That guy sucks.