Friday, March 03, 2017

Facebookers: For the love of God, get a life

I'm a big believer in social media's potential to improve the human condition. I'm likely way oversimplifying this, but tools that enhance communication on a mass scale can also help break down the barriers that have traditionally fed the ignorance and xenophobia that makes the planet seem like such a messed up place.

At the same time, I'm not so naive as to believe that tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat don't also introduce a few flies into the ointment. Not everyone gets the memo, and as a result not everyone will figure out how to best leverage the power inherent in these sophisticated pieces of disembodied software.

Sometimes, the feeds that fly across my smartphone serve up jarring reminders of just how wide the gap between effective and ineffective use can be. To wit:
  • Facebook user #1, whining about how sick and tired she is of everyone around her, because someone had the audacity to cut her off during the drive home from work. She's woven four similar bitchfests into her timeline in the past week, in between shares of puppy photos, cat videos, vicious rants about how her life is over because her favorite sports team keeps losing games, and her successive high scores in Bejeweled Blitz.
  • Facebook user #2, recently diagnosed with cancer and facing a long, uncertain and unimaginably terrifying battle, having the guts to walk his friends through the last 48 hours of his journey. No bitching. Just the facts.
I'm not judging. It's a free country - well, for now - and we've got ample runway to use the tools as we see fit. But given the potential to use Facebook for good, it amazes me how so many choose to squander the moment, to use Facebook (and, let's be fair, other platforms) for the trivial instead of the inspiring.

In conversation with friends, family members and colleagues, I often jokingly tell them to "use the technology for good, not evil." But the more I think of it, maybe I'm not joking. Maybe deep down I secretly hope more people would think twice before hitting the Send or Publish button.

I wish I could introduce Facebook user #1 to Facebook user #2. She might learn something in the process. In the meantime, it's another reminder of why I'm spending less time in Facebookland. The dearth of perspective is starting to get to me.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

I think u and I know that the endless whining that seems ridiculous is done by folks who have no one to vent to... Or can't vent to because of their incessant habit which may drive people away.. I know it does to me..
I have learned to just click to another page or if I follow them, to unfollow... Its not worth the stress.

Muse & Views Bookclub said...

Facebook allows me to keep in touch with cousins and other family members, some that I have not seen in person since we were kids. Also keeps me touch with former colleagues and friends. It is easy to unfollow or ignore those who whine.