Underground social networks emerge

Hasmik Djoulakian

(Feb. 9, 2012) — Most people nowadays have a Facebook account, something which could not have been said five years ago. Social networking has taken off in recent years as a means of people staying connected and sharing occurrences in their day-to-day lives. According to junior Meline Teroganisian, it has become a hollow tool which provides little gratification. “It seems like using Facebook is just a way for people to post pictures and statuses and feel vain when they see people ‘liking’ and commenting on them. There’s no substance to it,” said Teroganisian. Although Teroganisian has a Facebook account, she does not go on it regularly. Instead, she updates her account on 43Things, a website which allows people to post their New Year’s resolutions or stories of accomplishing them for motivation from and for others. You may then invite others to join a group goal or join someone else’s goal and in doing so have a group of people working towards the same result to encourage and cheer you on. “It might seem silly to some people, but writing down things that I want to get done helps me,” said Teroganisian. “It gives you accountability because there are people who know you’re trying to do something, and so it seems more tangible.” Recent changes Facebook has made have not all appealed to students. The new ‘timeline’ page layout is the biggest recent change, one which senior Bryan Salvador finds unnecessary. “The new Facebook timeline isn’t that great. It just seems like the simple layout before was fine, now everything just seems convoluted.” Status updates from years past are made easily accessible, something many students find discomforting. Although not a conventional social networking website, Postsecret provides a way for people to connect on deeper levels than most other traditional ones can. This is made possible by the fact that everything posted on the website and the app (which has been taken off the app market) is anonymous. Anyone who would like to may send a postcard with their secret written on it to Frank Warren’s home, the creator of the self-proclaimed community art project. Junior Isabella Karaguezian has not sent in a secret of her own, but she has seen the Postsecret website and finds it both touching and haunting. “Some of the things people send in are funny, but a lot of them are really personal and heartbreaking,” said Karaguezian. “People comment on them and you can tell that a lot of them are impacted by the secrets. Sometimes it changes their lives.” One of the more well-known social networking websites is Tumblr, and for many it is more worthwhile than Facebook is. Junior Susan Zeitounian feels comfortable posting things on her Tumblr because she does not necessarily know the people who see her page. She also likes the fact that she can pick and choose which blogs to follow. Zeitounian does not share very personal things on her Tumblr, but says that what it really comes down to and what it provides for her, the key difference, is self-expression.