Facebook has recently come under a great amount of scrutiny. It seems like people either love it or hate it. I fall somewhere in the middle. Obviously, like 98% of my fellow college students, I waste a disgusting amount of time perusing “The Book.” Yet even with all of its shortcomings, Facebook has revolutionized studying abroad.
Before I ever left for Australia, I knew my roommates. By creepily stalking them on Facebook, I was able to make judgments of their character (luckily, most of the judgments were wrong). Facebook allowed us to get to know each other weeks before we ever met face-to-face. When we were finally all together, I already knew who liked John Mayer or The Simpsons, or who really wanted Facebook to change back to the old layout.
I am not a girl. I cannot extend my right arm while holding a camera and snap a perfect group photo. I do not own a purse. I hate adding extra bulk to my pants (reference “The Passport Wallet”). These facts plus more explain why lugging a camera around all the time is impossible.
One would think that I would be out of luck when it comes to having photos of the great times in Australia. One would be quite wrong. Having four girl roommates means having four cameras. And with the “tag” feature on Facebook, my time in Australia has been documented four times. If my science is correct, that makes the pictures 4D.
Pictures are also a great way to stay up to date with friends from home. When homesickness strikes with its powerful fists, I can live vicariously through some acquaintance’s new album.
Sadly, my time studying abroad is almost over. In the months here, I have made some great friends. Besides looking cooler, having all of my new friends on Facebook will make staying in touch one “like” click away. Of course no friend will be left behind with the obligatory “happy b-day” wall post.
I have made preliminary travel plans to visit some study abroad friends some day. And you better believe Facebook will be the primary source of communication for said travel plans. It is easy, familiar, and free.
There is a debate going on in the Facebook world about how it’s best utilized. Is it a digital soapbox to stand and complain about work/finals/relationships? Is it a battleground for who can post the best “text from last night?” Or is it an awesome place to stay connected with friends from around the world? I choose all of the above.