Wednesday, April 04, 2012

In Your Facebook

Social media, in particular the phenomenon known as Facebook, can be a lot of fun. I’ve caught up with old friends and reconnected with cousins, neices, and nephews. For keeping in touch, it’s a marvelous tool.

That’s about the extent of the positives. The negative list is much longer.

I would guess that more domestic and interpersonal blowups have been caused by misuse of Facebook than by any other technology to date. Some of the cyber-debacles I’ve heard about include pregnancies being announced prematurely by casual acquaintances, information on upcoming company layoffs being leaked by nervous employees, and cheating partners being outed by triumphant exes. Some users find themselves stalked by ghosts of relationships past, and we’ve all heard the news about school kids being bullied online. Combine all the inappropriate postings with the resulting angst, and it appears we’ve got quite a redhot relationship detonator exploding with alarming frequency among all these interconnected “friends.”

Whatever happened to thoughtfulness and consideration? I know, it sounds like I’m back in the last century. But really, does anyone ever stop to think before they hit the keyboard how their words are going to affect other people? In my experience, Facebook encourages a very self-absorbed culture and discourages common courtesy. Add to that the fact that our everyday lives are not that fascinating. Does anyone really care that you just had a latte, washed your car, and spent $15 on lunch? Do we really have the right to drill into anyone else’s private business for the sake of a few “likes”?

The bigger question would be, is Facebook more often a life improvement or a waste of time? I’m leaning towards the second choice. I find myself logging on to Facebook less frequently these days, but I do have an idea for a post: You live your life, I’ll live mine. If I have something to tell you, I’ll give you a call. We can keep the conversation between the two of us and not have to check back later to “view all comments.”

I “like” it.