Confessions of a facebook addict

Let’s get one thing straight: I am not one of those freaks who spend all day on AOL Instant Messenger, myspace or on a live journal. I don’t have a Web site, a guestbook and I don’t blog. I admit it, my name is Stuart MacKenzie and I, along with thousands of other students across the United States, am a facebook-aholic.

It started innocently enough. As with most addictions, it began with whispered rumors and peer pressure. Friends from bigger colleges such as Brown and the University of Cincinnati bragged about racking up legions of friends and going to wild parties posted on Thefacebook. I grew jealous. I wanted to know more.

There was no D.A.R.E. for Thefacebook; all I knew was that it looked fun. What can I say, I was curious! I knew I wanted to experiment with facebook-ing but I didn’t have a hook-up. Facebook-madness hadn’t hit Northern Kentucky yet.

And then it came-that fateful day when I checked my inbox and I received an e-mail from a “trusted” friend: “You have been invited to join the Collegefacebook.” Ahh, the Collegefacebook-my gateway drug. With a much smaller number of people and cool options as the real facebook, I thought I was safe. I would make a profile, post a few pictures and be finished. Soon, after building up an army of NKU friends, I realized it wasn’t enough. I wanted more. I needed more.

I even checked out the real facebook, Thefacebook, just to see if it would let me, a humble NKU student, on. It wouldn’t.

I asked my friends from other schools to sign on just so I could get a taste what it was like; to not just be in a Collegefacebook, but Thefacebook. Instead of filling my hunger, it whet my appetite. Seeing all the people and possibilities and that the real facebook offered opened a whole new world for me. If everyone was doing it outside of NKU, it was OK, right?

I soon shared my addiction with all my roommates and friends. The topic of conversation soon became, “Hey, have you seen Ashley’s new picture?” or “check out my new quote,” instead of “How ’bout them Bengals?” or “What do you think are the best ways to solve our problems in the Middle East?” I even e-mailed my friend Alex who has been in Germany all year. It was so euphoric; I felt like Thefacebook’s Timothy Leary; I had to spread the word to the people, all the people.

Those were the days. We were so innocent then. We had fun. We messaged each other-one drunken night I even eliminated all of my friends who listed Maroon 5 as a favorite band. It was all so exciting!

But as my addiction grew, I began to crave a stronger fix. The day soon came when my friend requests started to dwindle. NKU’s student body had exhausted all possible connections. I was tired of checking Collegefacebook. Even Ashley stopped posting new pictures!

I signed onto the Collegefacebook less and less. I started eating and going to class again. I thought I might actually have time to study and pay my car insurance.

Then it hit. Like a tidal wave of procrastination upon an already lethargic student, it hit. The word spread like wildfire. My friend Julie, a modern-day Paul Revere, called me chanting, “Thefacebook is coming, Thefacebook is coming!”

I couldn’t believe it, just when I thought I was out. NKU is on the real facebook!

Gone are the days of Collegefacebook. We are in “Thefacebook,” the coolest Web site, the link to other colleges, real colleges, universities even! Better yet, we have the gateway to thousands upon thousands of college coeds!

That’s when a dark period in my life occurred. It’s painful to say-but that’s when I began to facebook binge. At first, a three-day facebook binge wasn’t a big deal. I mean, come on. Who hasn’t started two groups and looked up all his high school buddies and their buddies’ buddies? I mean, I’m not as bad as my girlfriend’s roommate. After watching the OSU/Michigan college baseball game on TV, she logged onto ESPN’s Web site, checked the roster, searched Thefacebook, and “poked” the catcher because she thought he was hot. I mean, they study in Connecticut. That’s trans-state stalking. I think that may even be a felony. I, a poor NKU student, was just making up for lost time. Finally, little old NKU was allowed on Thefacebook. Harvard people are on Thefacebook-this was big time, baby!

But what started off as innocent fun soon spiraled into a full-time habit-it was an addiction. And I was not the only one. Late Tuesday nights, pleas went out to The Northerner’s editor in chief begging for five-minute facebook breaks. We wanted, yes, we needed it!

Like iPods or alcopops, Thefacebook has become a favorite distracter of the modern college student. It’s a reason to not study. Hell, it’s a reason to not go to class-at least, as long as that cute girl next to you hasn’t updated her profile.

I mean, honestly, what other ways can you catch up with long lost high school, middle school and even grade school friends? Where else can you compare interests, meet people and even, as several staff members of The Northerner can attest, date people who contacted you via Thefacebook? Where else can you find parties, remember your friends’ birthdays and stay in contact with far away acquaintances-where else can you monitor who is dating who and what your ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend looks like?

Facebook-mania has hit the streets. Don’t blame me when you find yourself making and joining groups. Don’t blame me when you intentionally look up the favorite movie of the cute girl in your Algebra 099 class. Don’t blame me when you “poke” your girlfriend from the sixth grade, just to see what she is up to. Blame Thefacebook, blame its creator Mark Zuckerberg, and blame yourself-because I have warned you. Besides, you can’t point fingers at anyone. That’s getting too far ahead-the first step in recovery is admitting you have a facebook problem. I would know. I’ve been a member of Thefacebook anonymous for two weeks.