Over winter break I met my friend Emily for lunch in Boston. To passersby we probably looked like old friends—effortlessly conversing about our families, friends and campus life.
In reality, this was the first time Emily and I had met, though we'd connected months before as part of an online blogging venture. Our friendship was built on a Wi-Fi connection.
This is the new social order, and although we'd like to think that nothing genuine can come from curating a bevy of social media platforms, there is already proof to the contrary.
Which is why I've been provoked by Bowdoin's "Mass Deactivation" campaign to defend a social media network near and dear to my cold, digital heart, against an experiment which—though a fantastic testament to the capacities of the blogosphere to facilitate mobilization—is ultimately misguided.
The organizers of the campaign profess that their "only agenda is to find out how Facebook is affecting our lives," yet they have chosen to observe these effects by distancing themselves from the site, rather than documenting habitual use of the very active world of Facebook.
Additionally, both the editors of the Orient and the architects of the experiment allude to Facebook's business practices—hinting at an underlying skepticism of corporate Facebook, which is a part of the timeliness of the experiment.
Deactivating Facebook, though a nice dose of self-knowledge for some, is not nearly as productive as a month-long exploration of the utility of Facebook and its numerous functions (of which many users, including myself, have barely scratched the surface).
To borrow from Spoon, capitalism with no fear of the underdog will not survive.
Similarly, a society that lauds the startup and wags a finger at the corporation misses an essential fact of life. Namely, that a corporation of individuals is merely the multiplication of the same potential for human error, greed and dishonesty that exists in the heart of a single entrepreneur sitting in his desk chair.
Furthermore, let's not lose sight of the fact that Facebook was started by a college student (more or less) just like us.
Some of the same people who cheered Zuckerburg on as he went nose to chest with the Order of the Winklevii now do themselves a great disservice by balking at the rise of his dorm room demon—which will be, as all things, capped at a certain point.
Whether Facebook is approaching plateau should not be our concern. Given how entrenched this social network is in our society, why not take the next month to assess our Facebook habits, instead of deactivating all-together?
Ask yourself how Facebook can be harnessed to perpetuate those same values that you are worried it will unseat—the keys to the world's library, generous enthusiasms, etc.
Inevitably, some who participate in the experiment will realize that they don't need Facebook and skip elatedly into the arms of Pinterest, never to look back.
The rest will realize that they don't need Facebook, but justifiably want it and will log back in to watch the latest "moment of zen."
"Like" it or not, Facebook isn't going anywhere, and life without Facebook isn't coming back (gasp). It's gone the way of "life without traffic lights" and "life without the Gutenberg press."
Think about it.
The packaging of something intangible—essentially cyber real estate—and the monetization of the clicks and minds of its pedestrians...it's a daunting, though not damning, reality of the world in which we live.
Life without Facebook was great, but so is life with Facebook—so acknowledge the dependent variable in the previous statement and for Zuck's sake get on with it.
Daisy Alioto is a member of the Class of 2013.