Gather around, children. I want to tell of a time long, long ago. A time when heels were chunky and jeans were flared, when the Backstreet Boys could still be called boys and Justin Beiber was just a Canadian toddler banging on drums, his future of megastardom and lesbian haircuts but a glint in his eye. A time when I was in college.
It may be hard to believe now, children, but there once was a dark time when, wait for it, facebook… didn’t…. exist. Yes, it’s true! Freshman year my friends and I were forced to communicate solely via email, AIM, telephone (actually used for telephoning then), or the dreaded ‘face-to-face talking’. It was rough. But then, lo, a state or two away, Mark Zuckerberg worked his magic.
Now I went to Vassar, which, while excellent, is not an Ivy League school. Thus, we were not among the first round of schools to become open to facebook. We were, however, close enough to an Ivy that we were in the second or third round (now, remember, there was once a time when only students from approved schools could join – your student email address was proof of your worthiness). So it must have been my sophomore year that we all started joining this mysterious new creature; choosing profile photos, filling out our info, learning to navigate the maze of privacy settings, and working around the fact that your status message had to begin with ‘[insert your name] is’, so instead of saying anything like ‘does anyone have a copy of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ they can lend me?’ you would have to write ‘Anika Chapin is looking for a copy of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ that someone can lend her’, or, in a sloppier choice, simply ignore the built-in format and go with ‘Anika Chapin is does anyone have a copy of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ they can lend me?’ But I was always too grammatically anal-retentive for that.
And then, as in all stories, time marched on. More colleges were added, then all, then, in a controversial choice, facebook was opened to everyone. And we pioneers of the early days blended with the rest, except for a lingering tendency to write our status messages in the third person (or maybe that’s just me – what can I say, Anika Chapin is finding it hard to adjust totally.)
In fact, I hadn’t thought much about the early days of facebook at all, until I decided to re-examine my own info pages, created all those years ago. And what I found is that I should have looked at that way earlier. You see, at some point, facebook must have changed from a text box format to assigning categories to your interests. Which means that my innocuous list of interests went from being a hopefully charming way to own up to the fact that I have the hobby group of a very lazy goth nerd to something that looks like the world’s strangest tone poem. I screencap for you:
I mean, what are those strange three-pointed things, anyway? They look like the little wooden massage bugs that everyone’s office has on at least one desk.
So I guess it’s time for me to do a little updating. Because if anyone were to look at my info page now, they would assume that my constant status update could be ‘Anika Chapin is insane.’