Thursday, May 31, 2012

random acts of violence

I haven't been in the writing mood lately.  At least, not when I had an opportunity to write.  I have been musing over facebook lately.  It has been on my mind, I suppose, because it has been a love/hate relationship recently.  Have you felt slighted on facebook yet?  Someone not respond timely or at all?  Did anyone 'like' your status post?  Did some outspoken person (or just a person who had an outspoken moment) write their opinion about a subject that pretty much told you how they felt about how you do A, B, or C?  Have you written an opinion and had an unexpected backlash of opinions to the contrary thereby leaving you feeling as if you were ganged up on?  I would say that if you have, then you have been a victim of Facebook syndrome.  Facebook gives people something to hide behind so they are more likely to say things without immediate face-to-face consequences.  Folks, it is getting ugly on my newsfeed sometimes.  People are writing things seemingly without thought and others speak up and full-on arguments explode on the screen.  I have had less and less desire to write anything on facebook.  I still think in facebook statements but I will feel way less inclined to use these statements.  Some folks are less responsible with how they use their statuses.  I have witnessed folks use this public forum to vent there anger at those they should be speaking to directly and privately.  I have witnessed passive aggression all over the place.  I cringe (or fume) when I read these.  It is too easy to write the vomit coming from your brain without thinking about the people miles away reading it. 

My love for facebook is/was based on an appreciation of feeling some sense of connection to people from my life, past and present.  I, personally, find it really hard to keep up with people and have only done so by phone with less than a handful.  I don't love talking on the phone--face to face is SO much better but alas, not always possible.  I loved hearing about people's lives on their newsfeed.  Y'know, even the small things in their life were interesting to me.  It feels somewhat intimate to know that you were late for class or that you had a less than perfect patience with your coworkers or children.  That is pretty deceptive sense of intimacy, though.  A status post is such a small part of what is actually happening in a person's life.  Yet, it is tempting to lock them in that box of "oh, there is the guy that says he hates people who have pets..." or "there is that woman who railed on the presidential candidate i like..."  

I think facebook does one of two things to people:  (1) they become less careful about what they say or (2) they become more careful.  After a few years, I can say that I am finally in the second group.  It doesn't feel as raw and real when I post (which feels more genuine to me) but I am not wanting to hurt others (like I probably already have) nor invite someone to hurt me.  I'll keep the real and the raw for those I truly trust.  I will keep the real and the raw for those who have been safe and available.  I am truly thankful that the facebook experience has taught me greater temperance in speech.  I can always use more of that. 

Oh, and by the way, I am in no way saying facebook is evil and should be abolished.  My view is much more balanced than that.  Facebook is as evil or good as the person behind the keyboard.  It can be such a great tool to connect, encourage, and support.  Unfortunately, there is a flip side to that coin.

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