As the number of Facebook users worldwide rockets past 750 million, a commonly overlooked and once proud group known as “digital natives” have been steadily uprooted and driven from the site.
“At first we were the only people on Facebook,” recalls 13-year-old Chaz Wentworth. Wentworth is part of a thriving community of Natives, a term referring to persons who were born during or after the general introduction of digital technology and through interacting with digital technology from an early age have greater understanding of its concepts.
“When the colonists came they knew nothing of our land. They didn’t even know how to post and tag pictures. We taught them to survive on their own. We taught them to post to their walls and add new friends.” But according to Wentworth, this was only the beginning of the end. “Soon, the colonists had stripped Facebook of all of its resources. Soon they began posting numerous status updates that were vague, uninteresting, and at times incoherent.”
The number of digital natives on Facebook has dwindled over the past few years as they are forced from the site by older colonists and digital immigrants, who seem to hold little regard for established traditions and customs.
“I came to Facebook because my kids were on the site,” says Jackie Dilworth, a 40-year-old insurance executive and a mother of three. “I wanted to see what they were up to and post and tag pictures of them.”
But according to the natives, this is exactly why they are leaving. “Facebook used to be a land of freedom. A land to live and thrive without the watchful eye of our parents,” says Mark Glendale, a 15-year-old digital native. “The colonists are destroying our way of life here, just as they did to the great civilization known as MySpace.”
MySpace, a lost native tribe, was once one of the largest and greatest on the internet. However, in what would later be known as The Digital Trail of Tears, a flood of colonists forced the natives out, devastating the entire site in the process. In a dramatic twist of irony, the natives exiled from MySpace then formed the community now known as Facebook, which is now suffering in an eerily similar manner.
In light of these recent events, the U.S. government’s Bureau of Digital Native Affairs has sought to establish special internet reservations which would give digital natives local control and limit the number of colonists in these designated areas.
But to Chief Clicks on Mouse, leader of the Digital Native Nation, the idea is laughable. “The Bureau of Digital Native Affairs is a joke,” the chief says. “There are no digital natives serving in the bureau, nor are there any in the entire U.S. government for that matter. Now they want us to leave our land yet again for land that is far inferior to that which we settled in the past.”
The proposed settlement, known as Twitter, would house any digital natives wishing to leave Facebook. But according to Chief Clicks on Mouse, this is insufficient. “Not even the great eagle could make peace with only one-hundred and forty characters. You can’t expect us to move from this land which we have known from birth to start our digital lives over again.”
Martin’s group has petitioned the government for additional protections for digital natives, which the government has been resistant to so far. “There are many differences between us and the digital natives,” said President Obama at an event on Tuesday. “What we know as corn, they call ‘maize,’ for example. But I think that if they assimilate into our great nation it would be beneficial for both of our peoples.”
Chief Clicks on Mouse so far has not issued any further comment. Instead, he has spent the past few days overlooking Facebook and the garbage heap that now sits atop a once thriving community, sometimes even shedding a single tear.
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