If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an adolescent/person who has attended a lot of Bar Mitzvahs, it’s that no one should ever ask a 13-year-old what they think about anything. When I joined Facebook in the fall of 2008, I was just approaching the zenith of middle school awkwardness. I had a lot of emotions but hadn’t yet found the right way to share them. Then I joined Facebook. “I care about how you’re feeling,” Mark Zuckerberg said, to me and to every other teenager circa 2k8. “And so do all of your friends and acquaintances.”
Thus began a yearlong stretch during which I publicly posted my innermost thoughts and feelings, often two or more times a day. At turns mysterious (“is feeling conflicted…”) and specific (“my frosted mini wheats smell like fish food…o.0”), my statuses were universally un-liked and un-commented. I used exclamation points with shameful frequency, perhaps to give my thoughts a sense of urgency (“is watching titanic and is going to have nightmares tonight!!!”). On three separate occasions I posted what must have been the world’s most clever Jason Mraz reference (“is the geek in the pink”). But none of these soul-baring revelations received any feedback. Sometimes I ventured into incisive political commentary (“thinks McCain is a weenie-head.”) or cultural musings (“they’re not doing project runway on lifetime??? what will happen???”). At my emotional nadir, I posted a desperate plea for everyone to vote for Anoop Desai on American Idol.
I was the worst. But that blank status box loved me anyway. It wanted to know my feelings — about school, about friends, about art (“is listening to Demi Lovato’s new album and is surprised!”). Facebook made me feel like I mattered.
Contact Madeline Kaplan at email@example.com .
It’s 2010. Enter 15-year-old Chloe, a high school freshman who spends all her time on Facebook and YouTube. One day, Chloe stumbles upon Sam Tsui’s medley of Michael Jackson songs. She’s hooked (and smitten). Eight months later, she visits Yale, sees Sam’s cameo in the welcome video and nearly faints in the admissions office. Panic ensues: She knows she absolutely must get in to Yale. When she hears that a senior at her high school knows Sam, she creepily Facebook stalks said senior, looking through his friend list until she finds someone listed as Sam Tsui.
Everything looks legit: His profile photos are casual, his relatives are linked to his “About Me” page, and most of his friends are Yale students. Chloe proceeds to send him a Facebook message with the subject line “Huge Fan.” In the message, she mentions her newfound aspirations to come to Yale, gushes about her Sam Tsui fandomness and tells him to “keep up the amazing work.”
Sam (or someone pretending to be him) actually responded to the message and, at the time, 15-year-old Chloe felt like nothing would ever be the same. When 19-year-old Chloe stumbled across this blast from the past a few days ago, however, she only felt embarrassed by her overeagerness and creepy Facebook stalking skills. But hey, at least it made for a great story, right? #Yalewasfatefromdayone #creepy #sorrynotsorry
Contact Chloe Tsang at firstname.lastname@example.org .
It all started when I clicked the “Ask” button on his Facebook relationship status section. I love making jokes and being thought of as funny, so I HAD to do it. I pressed the button, thinking we’d laugh about it in the dining hall later that day. But, no, that’s NOT at ALL what happened. Instead, I didn’t hear back for a day, which in Facebook time is LITERALLY YEARS. After a nervous 24 hours, he finally responded. His response created a Facebook nightmare, to say the least. He requested TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP with me. Oh geez. I had NOT anticipated that answer. I thought, “How will this play out? What is my next, hilarious move?” There was only one thing to do. I decided to raise the stakes on HIM and accepted the request. “Ha ha!” I thought, “I outsmarted him! I’ll have the last laugh” But I was wrong. No one had the last laugh. It was a big mistake and a Facebook faux pas. As a result, it has now been FOREVER, and we are STILL in a relationship on Facebook. The joke was funny, sure, but now we’re left with this residual relationship. Who will end it? And how? Help! I’m stuck in a virtual relationship.
Contact Rachel Paul at email@example.com .
Do we really want to know what other people think of us? Before the series of tubes that is the internet came into being, our answer to that question didn’t matter — you were as likely to get a straight answer from someone in person as you were to, well, um, have something really unlikely happen to you. Suffice to say that people bit their tongues more in the pre-internet age, before Facebook’s veil of ignorance descended on our communications.
It’s now all too tempting to ask for and receive a frank appraisal of your character. But the flip side of this is that people sometimes ask you to appraise them. WKND found ourselves in just such a situation a few years back, when we undertook the questionable mission of offering our friends our honest opinions of them. All they had to do was send us a three-digit number, and we would post a status with that number and our Real Feelings about that person, in a sort of weird, public FormSpring (remember when that was a thing?). Now, if you know anything about WKND, you know that our Real Feelings are extra real. The realest feelings, if you will. So pity the poor soul who asked for our opinion, only to learn that we disapproved of their music taste and posture and general aura. WKND broke a few hearts. But none so badly as Anastasia’s.*
We wanted to like her, we really did. But it was difficult when her Eastern European accent was so thick that we couldn’t really understand anything she said. She certainly seemed like a nice girl … but that was as much of a read as we could get. So when she sent us a three-digit number and asked for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we gave it to her:
“389: You seem really nice. We just can’t ever understand anything you say.”
We were young, we were cruel, we were apparently bad at aural comprehension. But Anastasia never forgave us. At least we don’t think so. We still aren’t entirely sure what she said.
*Name changed for the sake of all involved.