By Nicholas Kurch

Facebook is supposed to be the great connector of worlds, where millions of people can connect with one another like they never have before. With it, we can all share information, find out how people in other countries live, and get to know people we wouldn’t ordinarily get to know.

I’m on Facebook all the time just like everyone else, but I’m not expanding my knowledge of the world like I thought I would. Sure, I can keep in touch with friends and family, but all I’m really doing is reading about what they had for dinner the night before, or how they had a great time at party without me.

“Facebook friend” is a separate noun from “friend.” These aren’t people I hang out with or truly get to know. They exist as I exist — to repost some crazy video of a dog petting a baby. Of course, I realize that it’s own my fault. I could be more proactive. But all I end up doing is reading the same news about celebrities from half a dozen different Facebook pages.

Facebook exists as a forum of sorts — and what I look for on it is what I’ll get from it. So the friends I have on Facebook tend to be people I already know but am too busy to spend any real time with.

My witty status updates are far wittier than I actually am in real life.

I’m afraid to comment or post how I really feel about something happening in the world or pop culture for fear of being trolled by some friend of a friend who doesn’t know the difference between “their” and “there.”

Instead, I go on Facebook to see how the other half lives. I look up an old ex-girlfriend to find that she’s living happily ever after — and find myself posting pictures that show me twice as happy as I’ll ever be.

Or I’ll go on Facebook to play games — silly games that I already have an app for on my smartphone, all so that I can beat the score of my aunt who lives 3,000 miles away.

I hear on the news about people in other parts of the world using social media to rally for a political cause. While they fight for democracy, I learn about the latest developments of some action movie that won’t come out until next summer.

I know Facebook is better than that. I know I’m better than that. I know I can use social media in a way that doesn’t just make me another consumer, annoyed by the ads before I watch some video of a cute cat.

I’m going to go out to see the world as I was meant to, and report back to my ‘”Facebook friends.” Hopefully, in the process, I’ll inspire them to get off their phones and visit the world they’re living in.

Nicholas Kurch writes about culture for online publication ‘Independent Journal Review.’

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