the magazine of the columbia daily spectator
May 1 2013
Mmm, baby: The very best in food porn
April 27 2013
Alternatives to Butler
April 19 2013
Red Bull and relaxation
April 17 2013
Back to the kitchen: A short journey through sexist pop culture
April 12 2013
Bikinis and big booties, y’all
April 8 2013
Azealia Banks Did What?
April 5 2013
More stories from Columbia’s military veterans
April 3 2013
Sing, O Muse, of some sappy story
April 1 2013
Missed the Cliterary Open Mic? Check out the highlights here
March 29 2013
Sex & Low Beach
Facebook and self-control really don’t mix. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but Mark Zuckerberg has stolen too many years of my life. I’ve spent hours clicking through photos of people I barely know, looking at pictures of couples I idolize, or at my own photos, wondering at the many, many stages my hair has been through. Now that it’s just over eight years old, Facebook is an electronic minefield of memories, and it’s often hard to resist indulging in a trip down memory lane—even if it’s not a pleasant one.
With this in mind, Erica Mannherz and Clara de Soto launched an app called “KillSwitch” this Valentine’s Day for Androids and iOS phones that selects a “target” for the kill from your list of friends, then entirely erases them from your Facebook presence. Photos of the two of you against a variety of tropical backgrounds, embarrassingly lovey-dovey statuses, tagged posts—gone. Well, not gone gone: If you decide to, you can undo the action or save all the materials in a special folder for days when you really feel like crying. Mannherz and de Soto described their target audience to Business Insider as “anybody that’s had a falling out... be it a friendship or coworker,” but the V-day timing of the app’s release suggests a different audience: anyone at home watching Blue Valentine with a bottle of whiskey, hitting the refresh on their ex’s Facebook page.
There’s really no winning with exes and Facebook. Either you’re clicking through old photos of the two of you together, or you’re looking through photos of him and his new girlfriend while plotting murder. Everyone knows that breakups would be a lot easier if people just vanished the second they were no longer in your life, but our generation’s attachment to social media has made that nearly impossible. There’s a reason Facebook has to adjust its platform every few months to include more privacy and editing options—the wealth of information we store in this website is insane, and managing it is truly difficult.
KillSwitch is a practical idea, but it only further caters to our generation’s obsession with recording everything and contributes to the idea that our online presence needs to be constantly maintained. Applications like KillSwitch only encourage us to live in an artificial reality where unwanted memories, like unattractive photos, can just be untagged. The real world is not as neat as friend requests and relationship statuses, and if we keep buying into this online paradise where we control our own images down to a T, we’re going to forget how to handle ourselves in reality.
After all, you can KillSwitch your ex, but you can’t literally kill them. So what happens when you run into them at the airport or at your local organic market? Are you going to cover your eyes and run away? No, you’re going to feel sad and awkward and uncomfortable, because that’s what happens when you break up with someone. But you’ll live, and maybe even learn something from it. The real world is a lot messier than Facebook, and if, a few years down the line, you can mend a broken heart with the click of a button, I’m still not buying in. I’ll keep the albums, notes, and alternating capital-lowercase love declarations and cry it out, old school, because if experiencing real, off-line feelings is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
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