Facebook should not be this important

It’s amazing what college students are capable of doing when they work together and rally around a cause.

Generations ago, this meant protests in the student center or marches on Washington. It took time for word of these events to get out and for people to get to them, but still, the people came.

That isn’t the case anymore.

So students recent anti-Facebook activism, while misguided, is at least a little encouraging.

On Tuesday morning, students awoke to a “Facebook Facelift.” By the afternoon, the discontent and unhappiness with the new features, especially the news feed, had grown and many Facebook groups had been created to oppose it.

Many students, including those on this editorial board, are creeped out by the news feed and mini-feeds in everyone’s profile.

It’s one thing to be able to take the time to peruse profiles of your friends and see who’s talking to whom, who’s dating whom and who posted pictures of last night’s debauchery.

It’s another thing to be able to track your friends (and your friends’ friends) every movement on a Web site.

Yes, the information was always there and could always be found, but it wasn’t thrown in your face. Logging in now, you’re immediately confronted with who’s attending the party you didn’t get invited to and who’s going to be depressed for a few days because her relationship just ended.

We agree with the dozens of Facebook groups and the petitions against the changes circulating now. Bring back the old Facebook, or at least let us opt-out of the changes. The news feed is a little too stalker-esque for our tastes.

But that’s not the point of this editorial. The point is that in the bigger picture, how does the fact that your friends can now track your life in second-by-second updates compare to say, hundreds of thousands dying with AIDS in Africa or disenfranchised voters in Ohio not being counted?

While it’s great to see college students come together and use their collective voice, we have to question our generation’s priorities.

One of the comments posted on the Students against Facebook News Feed’s wall, ignoring the poor punctuation, really hits this point home:

“This group is historic … it proves that no matter how apathetic the ave college student is these days we can still UNITE for a cause like our parents did!”

Now don’t get us wrong. We think the new additions are just as crazy as the next person. And we like to see students voice their opinions. But we’re going to draw the line at the last sentence in this posting.

We can unite over Facebook. We can get more than 500,000 people to join a group that actively opposes the changes to Facebook. But when was the last time half a million students got together to protest something that really mattered – to try to make policy-makers change something we didn’t like?

Sadly, tomorrow’s headlines will probably read, “Students rebel against Facebook,” and once again in the eyes of both the media and college students, a stupid Web site will be more important than other events in the world.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.