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Facebook is the CBS of the Internet, but I love it anyway

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By CARIN MOONIN

I’m still trying to digest the reports that Facebook is apparently going the way of the dinosaur, dodo bird, and Myspace—and quickly—no matter how much time we waste on it. My gut tells me that’s wrong, that it can’t be. Personally, I think the reports of Facebook’s death are greatly exaggerated.

Although the newness and shine of Facebook has long dulled, I can’t imagine myself jumping ship entirely. Neither does Facebook. Or maybe I just need a break, for a little while?

It’s like this: Sure, I prefer one-on-one, in-person conversations with good friends to typing into the void. But sometimes, I need a break from that intensity. Sometimes, it’s nice to go to a party and have quick, somewhat shallow conversations with lots of people. The problem is, as nice as that sounds in theory, in practice…not so much. I don’t like to do that in real life. That’s where Facebook comes in: It smoothes my introverted edges like a nice pinot noir with a Xanax chaser.

I’m an introvert in real life, but on social media? I’m an extrovert.

Sure, I don’t post as much as I used to. But who does? Remember when everyone got email? For the first year, it was all forwarded dumb jokes and your mother writing the entire message in the subject line (wait, mine still does). And when we all joined Facebook, it was “20 things you didn’t know about me that you really must know RIGHT NOW!”

So, yeah. I get that those things get old fast.

But in spite of this, I like Facebook. I do. I’m unapologetic. And it’s not like I’m alone here: can more than a billion users be wrong?

I’m a word girl. I don’t use Instagram. I’m not into Snapchat. Pinterest scares me. So I like that Facebook offers me the convenience of a blog without the intimidation of a huge blank screen and the pressure to keep filling it with things. I like how Facebook gives me a ready-made audience. Twitter sometimes makes me feel like I’m trying to get someone to hear me at a loud concert; Facebook is more like my closest friends sitting around the fire at a rented cabin for the weekend.

Facebook has come to be like a utility. The utility of the Internet. And like most utilities—electricity, gas, water, etc.—you get them and then expect they’ll always be there, and only when there is an interruption do you realize that you lean on them and lean on them hard. There’s comfort in hearing the hiss of your heat kick on during a crappy winter day. Facebook is like that. White noise. Digital comfort.

Will other online entities take Facebook’s place? I’m sure. But I don’t feel like thinking that far ahead. I know it’s “the olds” like me who are still on the Facebooks. But I’m OK with that. I’m OK with utilizing Facebook, for the ancients like me, like the CBS of the Internet. And speaking of TV, I use Facebook like I watch TV: not much, but enough that I can check it to see what’s going on, realize that most of it is inane, and then turn it off and feel better about myself.

Carin Moonin is a writer living in Portland, Ore. Sometimes she'll even tweet about things she hates at @carinwrites.

Photo via English106/Flickr