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February 22, 2007

I haven’t written anything for a while, so I’m here at the library trying to figure out something to write.  So far I’ve managed to sit here and stare at the screen for about 20 minutes or so.  I’ve got class in another 40 minutes, and I’d hate to have spent this entire hour-and-a-half break doing nothing more productive than checking my e-mail and farting around on Facebook, as I do more and more these days.  Speaking of Facebook, I thought I’d give a short description of the impression I get from some people I know.  The people I interact with every day pretty much define my life, after all, when you factor out school, which decidedly does not define my life much at all since I still don’t know what I want to do.

In particular my Facebook comment made me think of Ellen Yu two doors down the hall, who has given up Facebook.  Deleted her account and everything.  Said that it really didn’t do anything for her, that it was just a waste of time, that anyone who wants to contact her can call her, or better yet, do so in person.  Standard denouncement of the impersonal nature of the Internet, basically.

And it’s absolutely true that Facebook’s an enormous waste of time, and if you just never went back to check it and let your account fester for days or weeks at a time, you’d be totally right to do that.  The issue I have is with actually deleting your account.  If you’re doing it so that people can’t stalk you anymore, great, but naturally that’s never an issue for everyone; searching for people online’s practically a way of life.  Other than that, the only thing that could be bad about having a Facebook is getting annoying e-mails telling you when anyone does anything–which you can turn off–and leading people to believe you actually use your Facebook, causing them to write things on your wall that will sadly never be responded to.  This too, of course, can be easily corrected by simply letting people know in your profile that you basically don’t ever log on.  Basically, I can’t think of any reason not to have a Facebook, even if you intend never to use it.  You never know when it might be useful to have one.  Some long lost friend who knows nothing but your name could use it to contact you.  Uncommon maybe, but it’s not like keeping a Facebook involves any of its own sacrifices to compete with that one.  And I can’t help but feel that Ellen only got rid of her Facebook so she would never even have the option of logging on anymore.  She was purposely eliminating an option so that the notion of logging on to Facebook would never have to tempt her again.

And herein lies the problem: abstinence for abstinence’s sake.  It doesn’t deal with the real issue at hand, which is that you habitually waste time.  If you delete your Facebook without dealing with that problem, you’re just going to find other things to replace it.  And Ellen strikes me that way with a lot of the things she does–she’s an excellent student, studies consistently and without procrastinating; quite smart, perhaps smarter than I am; doesn’t drink, doesn’t party, doesn’t let anyone or anything distract her from her purpose of succeeding.  Trust me, I’ve seen it and heard about it.  You don’t distract Ellen when she’s working.  You just don’t. 

In a way, it’s kind of impossible not to respect Ellen for what she does.  But none of these are the marks of a successful person–these are the marks of someone who’s trying too hard to force themselves to be a successful person.  It’s like my new take on drinking.  Drinking doesn’t actually make you do stupid stuff–you have to want to do the stupid stuff in the first place.  Of course, there aren’t really any advantages to drinking, so that doesn’t count much.  The studying thing does count, though.  Ellen seems to base a lot of what she thinks about a person on how much that person studies.


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