Facebook: The Nature of the Beast

I, once a strong-willed man, caved. I reactivated my facebook.

I know what you are thinking, I never thought I would either. Most of my friends can tell you, I was very stubborn in my rejection of the popular social media site. I had no problem reminding people, “I don’t have facebook.”

That, however, is in the past now. As much as I did not want to, I rejoined facebook because of what my time away from it told me. I lost touch with a lot of people…a lot of people. I did not intend to, but without that constant blip of status updates and photos, I simply forgot about people. It does not mean that I meant or wanted to, I just did.

I made it a goal this year, kind of a New Year’s resolution, to pay more attention to news. After all, being a journalism major essentially requires you to be in touch with what is going on in the world.

For the most part, I think I have done a good job. I will remember articles that I have read, videos I have watched and the like during everyday conversation with folks. But it dawned upon me last week that I was not in touch with the news that should matter most to me: The news of my friends and family.

It was not until last week when I realized the “media” aspect of social media. I realized I had been going about facebook all wrong. When I was young and stupid (i.e. two weeks ago), I despised the idea of facebook because I did not want “everybody” knowing so much about me. I did not want my information easily accessible on the Internet, despite having nothing to hide, mind you.

Then I realized that American journalists have fought for transparency since the origination of this country. What I was doing by removing myself from public view was eliminating transparency.

As journalists, we are the representatives of the public and we, therefore, become public figures in doing so. That realization made me go back to facebook.

Does this mean I am going to post everything I do on the Internet? Not in a million years. Even public figures need privacy. But I see this return to mainstream society as a way to reconnect with the people closest to me and the content they produce.

This brand of news is that on which I should be educated the most.

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