Illustration by Batool Al Tameemi

Why Run on Facebook?

You would be hard pressed to find an NYUAD student who does not use Facebook. From writing class reviews to searching for their laundry, NYUAD's Facebook forums are a hub for all things campus life that we are becoming increasingly dependent on.

Oct 2, 2022

To any young person, Facebook might seem like an outdated social media platform that caters to the older generation. To NYU Abu Dhabi students, it is our main source of communication. NYUAD students need Facebook to be in the loop. Without it, many of us would be wandering aimlessly. Students get access to most of their information through various Facebook groups which are catered to asking and answering questions, browsing internship opportunities and keeping up with on campus events. This is because there is an assumption that most, if not all, information will be on these platforms and will reach the most number of students. These platforms are run by students, for students. It is the only place where you are guaranteed to find out what is going on regarding the student body.
Social media has completely changed the way that we interact with one another. It is much easier to access information or connect with people. We are thus able to create and maintain online relationships with people we know essentially nothing about. There is a certain boundary that social media enables us to overcome — it changes the way we define relationships and the intimacy of those relationships, which in turn makes it harder to create unified communities such as that of NYUAD. These interactions and connections are considered a necessary part of university life. We form connections with one another through our shared experiences. However, we end up talking about little else. The need to know everything, everywhere, all at once creates an unhealthy investment in “staying in the loop.” It becomes a personal investment that is difficult to pry yourself away from. You might find yourself overly invested and watching intently for updates on a stolen pair of sweatpants, for example, in a building that you don’t even live in, or checking a post regarding a controversy between particular students that doesn't concern you. Nonetheless, all are being displayed on this public platform for all to see.
Social media has become a given in our day-to-day lives. We use it to communicate, to get information, to seek entertainment and even sometimes to find an escape from the reality of our lives. According to recent studies, a total of 98.98 percent of the UAE population are active on social media. This shows how social media has grown and evolved into a necessity for its users.
For NYUAD students, Facebook has become that necessity. We have fostered an addiction to Facebook which makes it difficult to go about our lives without it. Without social media, it feels as though there is something we are missing out on. Living without social media has become the extra puzzle piece left in the box, leaving us constantly feeling as if there is something we should be doing.
As NYUAD students, we use Facebook to keep up to date on issues surrounding the university, classes, professors and each other. We rely on Facebook during class registration to read reviews on whether a certain class or professor is worth taking and to stay informed when events take place. We rely on Facebook to promote personal endeavors, to find a lost item on campus, to voice concerns, to share achievements and to bring light to administrative changes. You can find the answer to any question or the exact person to reach out to in a matter of minutes. If you do not use Facebook, the eventual answer to your problems is usually to create an account.
It is so easy for Facebook to become a first instinct for students, considering its accessibility to most members of the community. There is a seemingly unlimited stream of opinions, experiences and answers from almost every student who does or has attended this university. I, for example, would go on Facebook to look for a review for a particular class or professor or to ask a question in one of the NYUAD centered forums, but end up scrolling for much longer than I would like to admit. The endless scrolling allows me to procrastinate without the guilt of not feeling productive. I end up knowing much more information than I came on the platform to seek out, most of which is not even relevant to me. It is a firehose of information that we feel obligated to consume all at once. It gives us updates on everything in real time, with everything coming right after the next in a way that we have little time to fully digest each thought individually because there is still so much to get through. Our strong dependence on Facebook to keep us in the loop has become an issue.
This promotes a system in which we become afraid of being self reliant because we know that there are other people we can lean on. Why make the extra effort of looking for the answer to your questions when they are most probably already written out for you? For example, posting a lost wallet or ID card on Facebook rather than reaching out to the person directly is unnecessary when you have their contact information. We rely on Facebook to give us all the information we need, so we stop looking for it anywhere else. If there was another option that could replicate this utility without relying on social media in the way that we do, our school would be better off. Worksmart is a possible alternative.
In the meanwhile, we should try to work past the instinct of using Facebook as the first means of action and look for answers or news elsewhere, like checking your emails or paying attention to posters around campus, to be well informed before we resort to the endless scrolling that has become second nature.
Shamma Alzaabi is a Staff Writer. Email her at
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