Status means everything

Christine Guerrini

Let’s admit it: Facebook owns our souls. So, of course, it cut us deeply when the Web site started changing the layout and making all sorts of unnecessary features. The first in that long string was “Status.”

I heard the moaning and groaning of students who couldn’t believe it. Now, they want people to know where we are all the time? Unthinkable!

But they still used it religiously.

If you really think about it, the Status tool is nothing more than a downgraded version of the AIM away message. Instead of a large amount of space (1024 characters, to be exact), Facebook only gives you a mere sentence.

On AIM, people utilize song lyrics, poetry, literature: pretty much anything to get a certain point across. It’s actually confusing. If there’s no name attached to the words, the meaning is too general. Some girl might write an away message about a classmate that she can’t stand. But a friend might read the exact same message and think it’s about her instead. Then they’ve just got drama, and who wants that?

The real problem is the compulsion to make ourselves seem wildly grand. Our pictures have to convey that we’re attractive, funny or outgoing. We openly declare our love online and suddenly we’re romantics. We put up a sarcastic away message, and we’re bold. And everyone certainly needs to know that Christine is “out partying,” “glad that it’s the weekend” or “ecstatic she got pictures taken with Tony Yayo and Jay Wright at Hoops Mania” (guilty as charged). We’re driven by this need to be ideal or “cool.” If you’ve got enough time to change your message before everything you do, you’ve missed the mark.

Don’t get me wrong. This is the electronic era, and I can’t go a day without checking my e-mail at least 10 times. The issue is, why do we need the Internet to define who we are?

We don’t.

Your AIM away message or Facebook Status is never going to make you seem as great as you think. Some people might actually find it annoying to have it pop up that you changed your status for the third time today … exactly 36 minutes ago. Go out and talk to people face-to-face. Instead of talking to your friend who lives two doors down online, walk down the hall and knock on his or her door. Villanova is a campus full of friendly, interesting people. Make a personal connection rather than a digital one. Once you take the first step, you may just find that you can cut your habit back to three – no, five – times a day.