What happened to Facebook?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As an ESL teacher, I am sometimes caught in a time warp. Of course, teaching people younger than I am is always going to expose a generation gap, but actually it is the textbooks that are a bigger culprit.  This is probably because of the pictures they use or topics they use for context in whatever grammar or vocabulary I am tasked with teaching.

In a previous text, the theme of the unit was nostalgia. This is certainly a worthy topic with people my age, but doesn’t seem to make a dent in younger people.  If your world is less than twenty years old, why would you care that a cell phone used to be “the brick”?  With the pace of change, things five years ago are nostalgic for them.  In that span of time, they have probably changed their cell phones three times, gained and lost thousands of “friends”, and shared more pictures than I probably took throughout my entire teenage years.  They have also seen the rise and fall of several social media platforms, and already abandoned them.

I had tasked my students with writing profile paragraphs, and gave them a variety of contexts. Some chose work profiles, and a few chose social media ones.  When I asked them which sites they used, they all answered “Instagram and Twitter.”  I, naively perhaps, asked “What happened to Facebook?” After the snorts of derision calmed down, they explained that they still had it, but couldn’t remember the last time they posted anything there.  They also went on to explain their various “friending” policies on Instagram.  I won’t bore you with any of the responses.  All I can say is that I wish they put that kind of mental effort into their studies.

I can certainly understand the appeal of Instagram for my students. They are travelling and they’ve got lots of pictures to show people at home.  I have used it for that purpose as well and I suppose it is less clunky than other sites.  In the past year, I have started using Instagram and I have to admit that it is nice to see those hearts pop up.  However, I am much happier when I see that it has managed to send viewers to my blog–where my real passion is.

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About Anthony

I am: equal parts rebel, romantic and shockingly average Joe. a writer trapped inside of an ESL teacher's body. an introverted attention seeker. a teacher who hopes one day to be called "Captain, my Captain." an intellectual who can do some very dumb things. a person whose Japan experience, despite being so long ago, still exerts a strong influence upon him. a lover of books, music, beer, hockey and Pizza.
This entry was posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, ESL, nostalgia, social media, students, teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to What happened to Facebook?

  1. John says:

    Interesting post Anthony. This week there have been themed TV programmes on the Internet…30 years old this week.
    I suppose its 25 years since I wandered into an “internet” café in Belfast. My understanding was that the Internet is the worlds biggest library. It contained every scrap of information Humanity had gleaned in centuries. The problem as explained to me was that it was not in complete book form. Rather it was like walking into the worlds greatest library and finding that all the pages of all the books had been torn up and all the pages scattered around on the floors.
    WE got online in August 1998 and on this side of the Atlantic it was very very expensive for maybe two years. Our ISP was AOL and I loved the chat rooms. Our main one was “Galway Bay”, a meeting place for Irish and Irish Americans. I recall a stranger walkining in and observing “you people type with Irish accents”.
    “Galway Bay” was of course for meet ups rather than hook ups. But really the question most often asked was “ASL?”…Age, Sex, Location. The women tended to answer as 22/f/model/Las Vegas…..or reply that they owned underwear older than wannabe suitors. In other words we were very protectionist. I wonder if we all just played roles. Maybe I was a non-drinker, philosopher type who sat in the corner, dispensing advice.
    But even then people were burned…in my case financially and for others romantically.
    I still have one friend from 1998.
    Then people moved away from AOL to Yahoo Chat rooms. And the dubious enhancement of a web cam. I had a friend from that era until about a year ago. Burned again I guess. And there is one other also.
    There was very briefly BEBO and Myspace……..but my best friend dates from the Myspace days.
    I have been on Live Journal for about 12 years. I enjoyed the blogging but never really made friends there. The only reason it is still open is that there are years of blogs.
    Facebook came next. I have four accounts, a dormant political one…a one on one with my best friend, one with about 10 friends that is stamp collecting linked and my main account (also mostly dormant).
    I blog on Word Press. Been doing so for about eight years but too many times I shot myself in the foot or burned bridges. I did amass 350,000 views on my Politics Blog but it is now dormant. Ive tried Twitter.
    For me, the Internet days or the social media years are over. Yes I did make friends who encouraged me at going to university at 53 and graduating aged 57…in blogging to a level that the British Library listed it as worthwhile for students of Norn Iron politics and of course I got to visit my best friend in Texas and lecture to her post grads.
    But its over. And Instagram doesn’t interest me.
    Ultimately “friendship” is not the right word for the people I know over 21 years. Except in one case.

    • Anthony says:

      I was inspired by a radio program (and now Podcast) called the History of New Music. It was tracing the rise of MP3 music sharing to the Apple store. It is a great program and really quite interesting. I didn’t get to hear all of it, but what I heard was fascinating. It made want to bring up a part of the topic to my students (hoping they would use either a particular tense or at least some of the target language–alas, that didn’t happen) and that led to the post.
      Thanks for your comments.

  2. lkvy says:

    I gave up Faceplant in 2009. Reactivated my account in 2018 only to leave again a few months later. Faceplant was supposed to be a way to keep in touch with people but nowadays the only things people share on there are articles and memes. Nothing that would let me know what they have actually been up to!

    I miss the blogging era. In early 2000, half my friends had a LiveJournal. My old blog saw way more hits than my current one (even though I think I provide far more interesting content now!)

    🤷🏼‍♀️

    • Anthony says:

      So, what you’re telling me is, that I missed the blogging heyday. Is it too much to hope for a revival?
      At least you can appreciate an improvement in your content.

  3. Hunida says:

    Instagram is such a bore to me! There’s nothing to it but photos & hearts?! Comments are even ingenuine as heck on there.

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