Now entering the Twilight Zone of Facebook

by Christine Whitman, Senior Staff Writer

It was a normal Wednesday night. I’m sitting in the living room with my roommate, stressing over the horror that is public relations, when I hear a booming sound escape from inside my other roommate’s bedroom.

Just for reference, I have five roommates and sometimes I wonder if I’m in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

Anyway, I realize she’s laughing hysterically, which isn’t uncommon. She bolts down our hallway, giving Flash a run for his money, and starts reading her old Facebook posts to us.

No, not “old” as in last year, or two years from now, but her original Facebook posts — from 2009, when we were freshmen in high school.

As she continued to read, I started thinking, “I wonder what I wrote online seven years ago.” I shuddered at the thought. How could I have survived the Internet without my high school and college training about what not to put on the Internet? Regardless, I took the plunge and scrolled all the way down to the beginning of my life, post-MySpace and pre-Twitter.

I felt like I had just entered the Twilight Zone and all I needed was Rod Sterling telling me I had entered another dimension.

Each post was a compilation of unnecessary, vague status updates, inside jokes, commentary no one asked for and an abundance of spelling errors.

As a current student journalist and future public relations professional, the spelling and grammar errors were appalling to read. Did spell check not exist back then? Did I even know what spell check was?

Speaking of vague and unnecessary, on Oct. 8, 2009, I posted a single smiley face. Am I the only one wondering why I was happy? Where is the backstory or context? I feel like I’m suffering from SFAS: Smiley Faces Anonymous Syndrome.

Like every other 14-year-old, I thought I was the funniest, wittiest person on earth. But from the several un-liked status updates, I realize that’s not the case, which was a rude reality check.

Could it have been possible that I posted too much content on Facebook? Could it be that no one wanted to know what I was eating for dinner? Impossible.

But I promise, something positive did come from my entering the Twilight Zone of Facebook.

I realized how important I was to those around me, not Kanye West important — but close. I have had the same core group of friends for almost 10 years and the same best friend for 15, and when I looked back that Wednesday evening I saw the early years of our friendship.

Before Twitter and Snapchat, everyone posted everything on Facebook, so there was a ton of content to reflect on.

From the clear status updates and inside jokes I actually remember, I was able to reminisce on the time we spent together. I became overwhelmingly sentimental as I glanced at all the updates, photos and YouTube video links that were once so important. Although I don’t remember what all of the inside jokes mean because there were quite a few, I still found myself laughing at all the possible meanings.

How else would you let someone know you care besides posting a chain-mail status on your wall that you had to repost before getting bad luck?

No matter how horrifying, I invite you to read your old Facebook posts. If you start seeing vague status updates, inside jokes and spelling errors galore, congratulations, you opened a Facebook account during your teens — and survived. But put aside the negative and you’ll see how many people thought it was important to post “I love you” on your wall for all of your other friends to see.

Although it may be hard to survive, don’t delete your old posts. Keep them online to remember how far you, and your friends, have come.

Besides, nothing is really “deleted” from the Internet anyway.

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