Facebook…

I’m growing weary of Facebook.

Each day as I sign in, I hold my breath to see who’s “concerned” about what I’ve been discussing.  Does it have to be like this?

My frustration with Facebook has nothing to do with the connections that have been renewed and restored.  Nor, is my frustration due to the many people who are my “friends” but secretly, I have no idea who they are.  These friends send me messages and updates and I fashionably respond like we’re singing from the same hymnal but secretly I’m just being polite.  Obviously, they know me and the shortcoming surely is on my end, but for the life of me I just can’t recall some of these “friends.

My frustration lies with those who I actually do know and have had a relationship with for many years.  If we are being honest, prior to Facebook, I doubt we would have reconnected and both parties would have lived their lives without a hiccup.

What Facebook allows is a new freedom of expression.  People are empowered to boldly proclaim every thought they’ve previously held captive deep within the depths of common sense.  These same people, who would never utter a disagreeable word publicly roar their disapproval for everything political, religious, and social commentary not falling in the exact shadow they cast.

Worse yet are the stalker fighters who seek out their “friends” to do battle.  Any discussion is fair game for these, even a topic so seemingly benign as the weather can be the epicenter of an all out brawl.  Once word gets out of a fight in progress it’s back to high school where everyone seems to show up and watch and even participate.

*Confession.  I have spent time as a stalker fighter looking for a battle to defend my point of view.  The energy used to engage so many threads of conflict wore on me.  Soon I couldn’t say anything without conflict erupting and armies lining up preparing themselves for the next round of engagement.  I saw the error in my ways.  Actually, my wife kindly point out that the behavior was asinine.  As one who takes the advice from his wife (aka: the holy spirit) seriously, change was on the way.  I soon stopped debating and trying to make corrective points with the opposition instead seeking now only to interact on a friendly level with fun banter and playful jesting.

To quote Michael Corleone, “they keep dragging me back in.”  It’s been well over a year since my efforts on Facebook have stopped participating on battles of right and wrong but those out there can’t seem to leave well enough alone.  A little jab here, and backhanded compliment there, even a sharp rebuttal over there, yet I’ve held my ground and not caved it.  I respect much of this I’ve created, that whole Karma thing and all, but today I’m just tired of the whole thing.

I’m convinced Facebook is one of the markers denoting the beginning of the apocalypse.  Well, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it’s certainly leading to the downfall of civility if not civilization as a whole.  For all the good that Facebook provides, the reconnection to our past and ability to stay in touch with those we cherish, not to mention the ability to communicate with vast people in levels never before even dreamed.  For all the good that’s possible, I question if the bad is not overshadowing any redemptive possibility that currently exists.

This medium is being used effectively now as a divider of people.  Intentional or not, that’s the reality.  Never before has more information been available to the masses with which opinions and rally points where chosen beforehand. Slowly the machine is creating two camps, not just along political lines, today it’s those in the know and the others.  Methodically, the fabric of our being is being interwoven into a thread that aligns with one or the other grouping.  Carefully, religious belief, political belief, social concerns, and love seem to only fit into two pre-described camps without any room for deviation from any of the topics.  Middle ground has left us.  Compromise is gone.  Acceptance for those not entirely like us has disappeared.  Facebook didn’t create this divide but certainly has worked to magnified it and made the gap wider and thrust it to the forefront so it cannot be denied.  Strike up a conversation with any stranger and within minutes you can see if you share a jersey or are determined to be a future combatant.

I think life is too valuable for immediately sizing up people and quickly determining if they need converting or a handshake.  I hate that we can look at someone’s Facebook and determine everything we think we need to know about that individual, or at least be content assuming that we can know them in this way.  Facebook is creating a generation of surface level relationships that never seek to mine the gold of another’s heart.  Simplicity and expediency, while key parts of Facebook connections, serve little to no value with real souls.

So a tradeoff awaits us.  Do we accept the drama and bullshit that a Facebook account provides?  Or do we jump ship?  Do we go at it the old fashioned way?  The way where we seek to truly know the other before us, appreciate them for what they bring to the table, leave alone that which we disagree.  Imagine if those wishing to do battle with our thoughts had to look us in the eye and be accountable in person as in days of old.  No more paper (or electronic) lions bravely attacking every comment from the safe confines of their homes.  I dare say seeing so many people empowered with disinformation and innuendo leading the charge to save our world really distresses me.

While I can’t change much, I can change me.  Time to go share a glass of wine with friends in person, not just over the internet.

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2 Comments

  1. Bella said,

    March 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I loved this post so much! Thank you! I have been having a personal debate as to what I should do with my account on FB. Recently the idea of deleting it all together would be a great idea and the only reason I really keep it anymore is to keep up with school (reminders on a private group for my grad classes) and facebook “stalking” old and possibly new friends….but even that gets tiresome and sometimes can lead to more trouble than good or so called “connecting” with others. After reading this I have decided that I am going to delete my current account and start a fresh one where I will only find my classmates (currently) and my school group…other than that I am out of this joint….I’m standing my ground and I’ve decided that FB does more harm than good. Time to go make real-life friends again! 🙂

    • peacetrain5 said,

      March 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you for your thoughtful words. Onward!


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