I admit to being a regular Facebook user who has gleefully eliminated trips to card stores and the post office. Who gets to keep up on the life events of the people I love who happen to live across the country. Who follows favorite authors and groups of interest. Who laughs at The Onion headlines and the occasional Purple Clover item.
Facebook really shines on your birthday. That one day a year when it’s all about Y.O.U. Being on the receiving end of all those wishes is a great feeling. But then, I’m one of those (silly) people who unrealistically expects the whole world to stop and acknowledge the day I arrived on this planet. It isn’t logical, but it’s how I feel, How I’ve always felt.
And still I would say that I really think the Facebook thing has gotten totally out of hand.
- We don’t need to remember special days anymore – they pop up helpfully in that news feed. No thought needed, no planning or effort involved, a quick post and you’re done, obligation fulfilled. Then there are the “memories” Facebook provides when I least expect it. Some of those are good, some not so much. I object on principle to a social network not as old as some of my shoes providing such things. I can remember just fine thanks.
- We’re being sold something all the time. It’s no surprise that marketers would invade this space, but how about all the well-intentioned people doing private fundraising? If you support the cause Facebook makes giving all too easy. If you don’t… then the effort is in your face (so to speak) like it or not. Giving (or choosing not to) isn’t private any more.
- We use new features without thinking. There is absolutely no need in this world for people to use a social network to locate friends. Call them don’t stalk them! Think too about the wisdom of sharing your location with everyone. Just because you have cool new features does not mean they must be used.
- We can insult with our shared opinions and attempts at humor. The ease of sharing, the sheer ability to voice every living thought and impulse is too much for some, they must comply, check in, update us on every move they make. No thought is spared for the poor souls reading the rant, opinion or inane observation.
Worse yet… now unfriending has become an insult. I admit to unfriending family members on Facebook recently and it felt good. Better than good. Empowering. Uplifting. A welcome (long overdue) bit of separation in an over connected world.
Before the days of Facebook we didn’t have this problem, forced social media connectedness. Now we must be friends with old classmates we never see and co-workers we don’t exactly care for, it’s an insult if we refuse the requests and ignoring seems to work for only so long. Sooner or later you’re cornered. We’re obligated to see and react. To comment and show support. Even if we don’t want to. Even if we could care less.
I’ve talked before about social media and how careful we all need to be with what we say and share. My oldest is one of many who shun Facebook. Skimming a news feed full of photos and boasts about kids, well-intentioned fundraising and (questionable) demonstrations of humor can sometimes be a source of pain and angst. Everyone is living the dream, going places, enjoying success. And you’re reading all about it, forced to offer the obligatory comment.
I’m calling for some space, a little less knowledge. Facebook independence.