Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.
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I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook lately that seems to be swinging more and more to the hate side of things. I absolutely love Facebook for its ability to allow me to stay in touch with family and friends around the globe in a way that does not happening through regular correspondence. Yet, for the past year or so, I find myself more and more disgusted by what I see. The original users from when I first joined seem to have gone quiet as my news feed is now inundated with nothing but the sarcastic – but amusing – ecards, politics, those “I need 1 Million likes to get XX”, even more “like if you love XX, ignore if you hate XX” crap, and the like. Occasionally, there is a refreshing update or picture from someone, which keeps me from completely ignoring it.
In recent months, I’ve unfriended those who were truly upsetting me with their political rants and muted those who I probably shouldn’t unfriend. Perhaps I wasn’t ruthless enough because I still remain thoroughly unsatisfied and generally disgusted at how Facebook has become the online version of a soapbox. The latest issue was my sister-in-law getting into a jealous rage at Jim’s brother for friend requests from other females/former girlfriends. She even went so far as to write some nasty comments on these women’s pages spewing hate at them for daring to friend her man. Now, there are some underlying issues going on with that relationship which makes this an extreme example, but it is symptomatic of the entire issue with Facebook and social media in general.
There is a distancing effect with social media that causes people to behave in ways that they never would consider doing in real life. The vitriol which is flung at others with differing opinions every day is shocking in the complete lack of social grace such behavior embodies. It is as if computer screens have given people license to forget simple manners or has caused them to forget that other humans are reading the intolerance they are writing, humans with feelings who did nothing to deserve the nasty barbs written towards them other than put their thoughts out for public viewing.
I love the Interwebz and social media and will be the first ones to expound upon their benefits. There is nothing quite like carrying on a real-time conversation with someone on the other side of the world to make one realize how small the world has become. Yet, on Facebook at least, I see people’s willingness to listen to others’ opinions and experiences to have significantly diminished as the site’s popularity continues to grow. The truly interesting thing is that I do not see similar posts/hate/intolerance on Twitter, even though you have less control over who sees your updates and who can respond to them. Interesting observation, isn’t it? Perhaps it is the fast-paced nature of Twitter and the imposed character limit which causes people to think a bit more before posting? So why is Facebook, with its more personal connections, turning into nothing but rants?
As much as I am beginning to truly hate Facebook, I feel somewhat trapped to remain there. Jim’s and my families are all over the country, and we see certain family members once a year if we are lucky. Also, the marketer in me realizes how important all social media is to a website. Even though I might not care about comments and stats, I still want my stuff to be read, and I know that I have several friends from high school who only read my posts through links via Facebook. So, I’m torn between recognizing the importance of Facebook for marketing purposes and for general familial connections and wanting to delete my account immediately and divorce myself completely from the site.

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