Point of View: Networking aspect of new media hits ‘creepy’ level

By Wakeelah Crutison

Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t believe Facebook is the proper conduit to ask someone on a date.

Over the break, a friend of mine asked a girl he liked to go out with him through a private message on Facebook. He had her phone number, and they talked on the phone regularly.

When it came down to it, however, instead of calling or even texting, he relied on an uninspired, impersonal method to gain her attention. Surprisingly, she said yes — also using Facebook.

I know it’s referred to as social networking, but Facebook is not actual socializing and I find that more and more people are treating it as such.

I’ve recently seen the Facebook phenomenon take hold of another friend. She is what I call a FaceCrusher, or a person with a crush on someone on Facebook.

Because it’s a Zuckerberg world out there, we all get on Facebook and scope out people’s pictures every now and then. My friend has taken her creeping to a new level.

She has developed a crush on a classmate, which wouldn’t be weird except that they have barely spoken.

She looks at his pictures, reads his wall posts and checks his status updates with a borderline religious fervor.

She, a perfectly rational 20-year-old, has practically reverted back to the days of staking out his locker and having a friend play Cupid to see if he likes her. I’m surprised that I don’t find her doodling his name surrounded by hearts on her notebook.

This behavior is creepy and I told her as much. She laughed and said it wasn’t creepy, just resourceful. If stalking is being resourceful, there are a lot of people with restraining orders filed against them that should be traded in for merit badges. But, as we say, po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

The FaceCrush introduces voyeurism to the regular crush and subtracts the impossibility from the celebrity crush. People are able to pine to their hearts content in solitude while perusing pictures on Facebook, but also have the opportunity to hold a conversation with the object of their affection.

Facebook is seemingly so indelible that to not have one is to cripple your social life and miss out on a vital part of our culture.

With valiant attempts to replicate life on our computers, we try to condense the complexity of our lives into a single page by way of pictures, “likes” and making “friends” with people we (probably for a good reason) never hang out with in reality.

But you can’t effectively put your whole life on Facebook, and more importantly, would you really want to?

We constantly update our statuses to say “going to study” or “I hate the rain” or “got an A on the test” and, miraculously, other people respond, as if this is interesting. It’s not. It’s just life: mundane and not really worthy of being broadcast.

Yet people continue to do it, and more amazingly, people continue to view it.

We post hundreds, sometimes thousands of pictures– ample fodder for the FaceCrushers among us. Though some people have innocuous intentions and peruse strictly on the basis of getting a glimpse of the life of a classmate or potential friend, succumbing to curiosity, but for others it’s deeper than that. Facebook fixations emerge.

The question is: When does a crush cross the line from cute and innocent to creepy and disturbing? Is there a point where you graduate from FaceCrusher to stalker?

With the proximity Facebook brings, it amplifies the FaceCrusher’s delusions of grandeur, making the crush that much harder to overcome.

People develop actual feelings for people they don’t even know based solely on pictures they see and on the stories they think the pictures tell.

It creates a false sense of knowing someone.

Actual relationships are still a product of real life spawned from face-to-face interaction, not face-to-Facebook, which just provides an illusory
connection online.

The real-life equivalent is a different thing entirely.

The scary part is that some people don’t recognize there’s even a difference– that they are not, in fact, one and the same.

Just because you know what movie a person “likes” or see pictures of them on vacation for spring break doesn’t mean you know them any better than you did before you typed their name into the search bar.

This is not to say that Facebook is a bad thing. I too have an account.

It’s a good way to keep up with friends from high school or to post funny things on a friend’s wall or make initial contact with someone you just met.

But it should not be the sole source of social interaction that a person experiences.

Wakeelah Crutison is a senior pre-med journalism major from Arlington and a copy editor for the Lariat.