Facebook: The ‘you’ you want to forget
Remember the old you that sported a side fringe and used emojis as punctuation? We do.
Coming to uni is a chance to re-invent yourself.
You’re miles away from home, you’re not living in your childhood bedroom, and most importantly none of your old school friends are around to reminisce about the time you thought bukkake was a kind of dessert.
Freshers’ Week sees students all over the country going into overdrive trying to create 2.0 versions of themselves. Whether this means getting a fresh lid, researching unheard of underground bands or knocking back perilous amounts of alcohol so no one realises how little you actually have to say, everyone’s at it.
Sadly, unlike the golden years of yore when communication was a call on the landline and no one knew anything about your past unless they were graced with an invite over the holidays, we have Facebook. And with Facebook comes an endless wealth of embarrassing photos, cringey wall posts and god awful statuses that are all readily accessible with a simple click of the mouse.
Backstalking has become the go to form of procrastination as students revel in the chance to have cheeky glimpse at the past lives of their new friends and get a better idea of what they were once like. However, it doesn’t stop there.
No, it’s now common practice to like and comment on these incriminating relics of the past. Your precious misdemeanours can’t be confined to the eyes of those who are bored enough to put the effort in, instead they’re pasted onto the central timeline for all the world to see.
Recently my sexual deviant of a Social Sec stumbled across my Facebook statuses of 2009-2010, the musings of 15-16 year old Kieran, who was particularly fond of a status. I sat in my room mortified, as my past persona began appearing all over Facebook. I have therefore decided to step up to the plate and reveal a compilation of the cardinal sins of Facebook use that we are all guilty of.
Everyone got a warm glow of satisfaction when they achieved that magical yet elusive double figure tally of likes on a status. There was a buzz, a brief shot of serotonin, for a few minutes you were, in the words of Ron Burgundy, kind of a Big Deal.
However the buzz soon wore off and was replaced by the craving for even more validation, a primal need to justify your existence on this earth through a social media presence. This resulted in hundreds of attention-seeking statuses based undoubtedly on quantity not quality, spouting shit chat onto the World Wide Web in a desperate attempt to fill the gap inside.
The most heinous form of this sin had to be the Dark Age of statuses known only as the ‘like this and I’ll’ era. This saw hundreds of inane statuses pleading for attention with the promise of information about what they really thought of you, their favourite memory of you, or if you’re lucky a rating out of 10.
Queue years of self-doubt and therapy because you only got a 4 for hairstyle.
The (8) status
A particular crime that has come back to haunt me a lot lately and one of which I was a serial offender. Rather than post anything of interest or wit, everyone knew that posting a few lines from a hugely popular song was a sure-fire of way of getting some likes without the need for time-consuming planning.
These statuses would not be complete of course, without the (8) sign at the end, to show you’re listening to a song, (COS THE (8) LOOKS LIKE AN EAR, GEDDIT!!).
Back then, my mindset must have been that I’d look well edgy, posting #relevant lyrics and even capitalising the loud parts to show I really knew my tunes. Not that they were particularly inspiring songs, more like the contents of a standard Friday night Klute starter pack.
Don’t worry though, people were informed of their iconic status and popularity by my addition of ‘TUUUNE’ at the end. 15 year old Kieran, what the hell was wrong with you?
There is something undeniably comforting about talking to people in the surroundings of your own home, through the comforting glow of the computer screen that doesn’t look back at you.
The precious time afforded by online communication as you pretend to be busy getting on with your life whilst you furiously think of something vaguely witty or intelligent to say is an invaluable resource to those without game.
It can be the difference between a two-minute conversation ending awkwardly in a joke that looking back on could appear to be vaguely rapey and a full blown conversation that ends with the prospect of mutually consensual sex.
Yet the ominous blank space when a girl wishes she hadn’t commented on a status and ceases to respond, as said guy tries to openly flirt with her through comments everyone can see, was a classic source of embarrassment and taught men valuable lessons about being rejected.
How many hopes and dreams have crashed and burnt, when Facebook introduced the “seen” feature to Messaging. Going through those old Wall exchanges is an exorcism. At the age of 20, I am happy to say I don’t do this anymore. I just use my shit game in actual social situations. I now have alcohol to disguise my crushing failures. Is that an improvement?
And the pictures
A picture speaks louder than words. Never has this saying rang more true than when seeing pictures of yourself from back in the day.
The notorious gun salute to show you are a proper badman, the awkward side-tongue escape, the disjointed side lean…all these and more form the visual reminders of a misguided youth. Add to this the fashion faux pas of the past: the overly gelled hair, the oompa loompa make-over, the neon fancy dress choices, and you have the makings of a world of nostalgic pain.
Occasional moments of genius
However, for the hundreds of toe-curling, mundane and pointless statuses, once in a blue moon, that rare diamond can be found in a mountain of rocks that offers some redemption for your embarrassing past self.
It can be manifested in the form of an iconic picture, a witty status that could be a moment of divine inspiration or just impeccable timing. However in all honesty, following today’s example set by The Lad Bible, you probably stolen from somewhere else and sneakily passed off as your own work.