Cyber world belongs in cyberspace

Despite illusions to the contrary, Facebook only exists on the Internet

Ayame Ulrich

According to Facebook, Victoria King has 623 friends, 26 photo albums and 70 likes, including The Breakfast Club, “Justin Bieber has a spaz attack” and “ ... usually by the third day, I just really wanna dance ... ”

Her birthday is July 17 (year unknown) and she belongs to the Miles Macdonell Collegiate ’10 network.

In real life, I definitely don’t have 26 actual photo albums in my home, and while I do like The Breakfast Club, I am indifferent towards Justin Bieber. Although the Kotex commercials really are funny, I wouldn’t necessarily consider them as something I “like.”

I didn’t spontaneously come into existence on July 17, and other than the people I still keep in contact with from high school, belonging to a “network” really holds no meaning for me.

Oh, and the 623 friends? Robin Dunbar, British anthropologist and current director of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford, estimates that a person can only actually maintain, on average, 150 stable relationships at once – at the most.

So no, there are definitely not 623 “friends” in my life.

Reality, I would like to introduce you to cyberspace – a place where the organized and simplified version of me exists. Although advertised as a means for “social networking,” in all honesty, Facebook is just another excuse to dick around and avoid studying.

Living in a virtual reality is no longer just a tagline for an A-listed Hollywood movie; it exists, and we participate in it everyday.

Consider the people whose walls we write on – do we talk to them in real life? Are our relationships with our Facebook “friends” reflected in the way we treat them in reality?

Furthermore, what would a Facebook reality look like?

No, there are definitely not 623 ‘friends’ in my life

The following is a list of features any Facebook reality would have to include.

•“It’s complicated” would be an acceptable relationship status, legitimized for all legal purposes.
•The introduction of Farmville to the world of agriculture would alter all future farming endeavours.
•Companies such as Clearasil and Neutrogena would have no market, as everyone’s hyper-exposed, photoshopped faces would need no dermatological help.
•Rather than saying monosyllabic words like “are” or “you,” we would simply sound out the letters as they appear phonetically.
•People would all be a lot wittier, and never experience awkward mumbling or incoherent babbling.
•Needless to say, all great works of literature would need to be rewritten to include “omg,” “lol,” “rofl,” “lmao” and “lmfao.”
•Excessive use of exclamation marks may result in heart attack, stroke or possible death (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
•Appearing offline would mean sporadically becoming invisible in a room full of people.
•“Creeping on someone” would be the equivalent of lurking around corners and spying on others.

It goes without saying that I am still logging in and checking my notifications at least once a day. I still attempt to make clever and amusing comments on various uploads.

But, I will not be posting pictures of myself doing mundane tasks, like brushing my teeth or waiting for the bus, just to make the cyber me seem a little bit more truthful.

For now, I’m taking everything on Facebook at face value (excuse the pun), and sticking to my tangible, no-login-required reality.
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Victoria King is a first-year student at the University of Winnipeg.

Published in Volume 65, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 25, 2010)

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