facebook brings out the high schooler in people
I honestly have never been a fan of FaceBook. I still don't see it's value beyond being a way of displaying very targeted ads. I play along because I secretly hope that one day I will have an epiphany and will see the reason everyone is so crazy about it. Until then, I watch and wait and frown at my laptop (a lot).
At first, I thought my problem with FaceBook was that I didn't like being Super-Poked. Isn't that something only my husband should do? The 'hide' feature took care of that problem.1 Really though, it is the level of behavior many people exhibit on FaceBook that bothers me most - it's like we have been time warped back to high school (or beyond).
I see many people sharing things in an attempt to make themselves feel happy about themselves. I call these "the look at me, I'm awesome" posts. Really I should call them "the look at that lost soul" posts. I know you know what I am talking about. Some of you are nodding your heads right now. Heck, I get that we all want to feel good about ourselves, but there must be something more important to share than what came out of your child's you know where. And if not, then remember that listening is always more important than talking. Go toss a farm animal or play Scrabblious.
An even worse offense in my book, are those who call in the cheerleading squad to have a pity party - the "oh woe is me" posts. Again, I am not against the pity party per se. But if it is all you have to offer, or you really aren't being honest about what's got you down, I am going to bring a mirror and hold it up so that you see your life isn't so bad. Yes, I am the one posting about homeless children - because really no one on my friends list has a life that is all that bad.
I think the thing that bothers me most though, is the lack of empathy that people seem to have. From time to time, people do share some really hard stuff. Things like "my family member has cancer". And you know there are people who just want to hit the 'like' button and move on, except, they know that would be wrong. You can't like the idea that someone might die. And so most do nothing. How sad is that?
But even when someone has really good news - like they dedicated themselves and earned a promotion at their job, people can't seem to just offer a true word of congratulations. Again, how very sad. Could you really be that jealous? In theory the people on Facebook are supposed to be people you know. The people closest to you, or who at one time were close to you. They are people who shared a life experience (like high school or working under a crazy boss) that no one else did in quite the same way. And yet most of us can't seem to be bothered to do something that takes literally seconds - offer a kind word.
I am not letting people off the hook, but I do think that FaceBook shares some of the blame for the way people treat one another on it. It is a very passive aggressive application. The best example I have is that of defriending. When you add someone to FaceBook, the other person has to approve. But when you defriend someone, it lets you do it without any kind of notice. Many people find out because the person shows up on the right column under friend suggestions.
So think the next time before you hit "share". Are you really adding value to your friends? Are you having fun? Are you being truthful and caring? If something is really bothering you, let us know. That is what friends are for, after all.
1If you don't know about the hide feature - it's great! It will let you hide things from your feed like Superpoke and Mafia Wars (and any of those other annoying applications that get people to waste hours in front of their screens so that FaceBook can generate ads). On the top right of an entry, you should see "Hide". It will let you select if you want to hide the application or the user. If you select the application, it will hide anyone who uses that application - not just the one user. And yes, you can hide people too. I admit to have done it, but only rarely when people are not thinking before they hit share. It keeps me from defriending everyone.
on the night stand :: Everything Matters! by Jr., Ron Currie.