A Once Popular Site Faces Decline
Ellie Mann, Business Editor
October 26, 2012 • 389 views
Filed under Features
On Nov. 6, 2008, Gabriella Rizack ’13 was “doing homework.” On Nov. 16, 2008, Rizack was “with lindseyy.” And, on Nov. 28, 2008, Rizack told the Facebook world, “haha finally I got one again” regarding her Facebook account that she reactivated. These are only three of the many statuses that Rizack has posted since she got a Facebook in 2007. When asked if she is embarrassed about her previous Facebook activities, Rizack frantically nodded her head up and down, smiled, and said, “Extremely!”
More recently, Rizack, and many other Staples students, have been using Facebook for entirely different purposes than when they were younger. Now, instead of posting statuses more than once a day, students use the site to “stalk people, to look at pictures and to chat with friends.”
Rizack said that she now uses the social networking website mostly for school purposes.
“Sometimes when I need help on homework, I will chat random people in my classes,” Rizack said. “It’s kind of awkward because, usually, I don’t really talk to these people in class, but I ask them questions at home.”
Rizack also said that in addition to getting homework help, she sometimes makes a Facebook group to work on projects. “A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get her work done,” she said.
Facebook’s launch in Feb. 2004 has allowed people all over the world to be able to share pictures, statuses, and wall posts with friends and family members. However, for many current high schoolers, Facebook is geared for more educational and work-related purposes.
There are exceptions, and Lily Barsanti ’14 is one. “If someone has a question, they will text me,” Barsanti said. “If I have a question, I will text someone. Facebook is not meant for school.”
The movement towards using Facebook for school is recent, students said. Sophie McConnell ’14 didn’t believe that Facebook was helpful for school until June 2011. In fact, McConnell didn’t even believe that Facebook was necessary at all. While some “Facebook addicts” have had their social networking website for seven years, Sophie McConnell just created hers two summers ago because she was “sick and tired” of communicating with friends and family through her outdated email address.
“I basically didn’t get a Facebook or email because I thought I was being cool and different. Then, one day, I woke up and was like, ‘You’re not cool or different; just make a Facebook.’ So, I did.”
However, even after making a Facebook account, McConnell admitted that with school and several hours of dance each night, checking Facebook is not a priority for her.
Staples Players have also tried to keep their Facebook usage down to a minimum. This year, Staples Players has put a lot of effort into decreasing their dependency on Facebook. “To say that you need a Facebook is not really acceptable due to the arguments surrounding Facebook’s possible impacts on grades and privacy with the service,” Players Vice President of Technology Matt Kresch ’13 said.
They steered away from Facebook by creating a new section of Staplesplayers.com called “Current Players Info” through Weebly, a free online website builder. Weebly allows Players to easily control the site and make edits through a very simple user interface.
In past years, Players had experimented with using blogs but relied heavily on the Staples Players Facebook group. The Facebook group was used to disseminate all information to members of Players, such as the cast list, weekly rehearsal schedules and any announcements that needed to be made.
Players will no longer stay organized through Facebook, but will now do so through Weebly.
One Staples Player who sometimes has difficulty logging off of Facebook and focusing on school is Alexandra Rappaport ’13. Rappaport is happy that her theatrical schedule will no longer be organized though a social networking website.
“I don’t have the willpower to disable the website like some people do,” Rappaport said. However, Rappaport certainly believes that the amount of time she spends on Facebook has decreased since the seventh grade and will continue to decrease now that Players no longer uses Facebook.
Nonetheless, Rappaport is still embarrassed by her Facebook activity from prior years and even said that her past Facebook life comes back to haunt her all of the time.
“Once, I made an album titled ‘Bangs’ after I had just gotten a haircut,” Rappaport said. “It was simply an album full of pictures with me and my freshly-cut bangs. Pretty embarrassing.”
Sean Clarke ’15 also believes that some of his past Facebook activities have been embarrassing.
“I used to play Farmville,” Clarke admitted. “I would be excited to harvest my crops each afternoon.”
So, while there are still people out there lulled in by Facebook’s tempting qualities or who are using it for educational purposes, many people are starting to feel as though Facebook is not as prevalent as it was in the past, and the uses for Facebook are not the same.
As albums filled with pictures from Photo Booth decrease, albums for projects and studying are on the rise.
“My Facebook use has declined because I don’t upload Photobooth albums anymore,” Rappaport said. “I still go on, but the tab just kind of sits open. It’s kind of a comfort thing…so sad.”