It may be wrong, but I don’t care… I love Facebook. I can wake up in the morning, reach for my phone, search my mini-feed, and find out how many of my loved ones are doing. ~smile~ Social media is one of those luxuries we have not had very long, yet it is hard to imagine life without it!
Do any of my fellow Back to the Future fans remember how strange and awkward it was for Marty to exist in the foreign world of 1955? I dare say we would all feel just as lost if we were sent back to 1985. Think about it. Most people did not have cell phones , – and the cell phones which were available resembled bricks. The internet was not around yet (at least, not to the public) and computer games of that era left a lot to be desired to today’s standards. If you wanted to hear from a friend, you called from home or waited by the phone… at home. If you were trying to find your friend in a room of a thousand people, there was no texting. You just looked until you found them. Yes, we have indeed been spoiled by technology; and, as with any major life changes, there are pluses and minuses.
Connecting on Facebook
Thanks to Facebook, I have connected with a lot of people I would never have expected to see again. It is a delight! Friends from elementary school, old church friends, college friends – now I can get a glimpse into their lives no matter where they live!
Because Facebook has given me the chance to stay in touch with people whom I would not otherwise see, I choose to view it as a positive communication medium. There are those who do not share my views. To them, Facebook is where people go to give away pertinent information about themselves that should be kept private, and/or it is viewed as a huge distraction (which it can be) or even an addiction. I suppose I would agree that if you cannot go all day without looking at Facebook, it may be time to look into a temporary Facebook fast. After all, Facebook is a tool to stay in touch, but it should not keep you from engaging in life with people face-to-face.
In short, I love that Facebook allows me to connect with people, however so slightly, that I would not have the pleasure of seeing if social media did not exist. And, I am thankful for another way to connect with Eric, my friends, and my family. When Eric does something sweet for me, I like to post it on my wall as a way of sharing my appreciation with others. My hope in doing so is that it will enhance our connection, even in the smallest way.
Killing Connection on Facebook
As great as Facebook is for reuniting people and encouraging connection, it can be also be used as an emotional murder weapon. Just tonight, I read an e-mail someone posted on her wall from her ex-husband – something I’m sure that was meant to be private. My heart went out to the one who posted it and yet I could not help thinking that, in doing so, she was potentially making her situation worse.
How many times have you experienced passive (or not so passive) aggression when scrolling through your mini-feed?
Some people will never learn. When I say I won’t give you money, it means I won’t! So stop asking! Get a job, fat slob! You can work. Remember that. So get a job already and leave me alone. And if you call my house again, you’ll hear from my lawyer!
Aren’t those types of posts just lovely? Here you are having a perfectly peaceful day, when suddenly you are pulled into someone else’s emotional turmoil. Yes, you can choose to keep scrolling (and some do), but it is almost like passing a car accident. You just feel compelled to look for some reason.
When we were kids and someone wanted to hurt us, one of the best ways to do it was by spreading gossip about us or telling our secrets. Facebook has made such endeavors far less time-consuming. If you want to hurt someone now, all you have to do is say something derogatory about them on your wall and the world will see it in no time flat. It requires no whispering or questions from others. It’s just out there.
I am so glad Facebook was not around when I was a teenager. It pains me to think of the embarrassing statements I would have made! The lamenting I would have done after breakups. The passive aggressive comments I may have posted when in arguments with friends. A lot of people vent their frustrations on Facebook. Perhaps they don’t think through their actions, or maybe they don’t care. However, the problem with fighting “online” is that everyone who can see it now becomes privy to your problems. You may make up with your sweetie that night, but if you slammed him or her on Facebook earlier that day, friends and family who read it won’t soon forget it. Not only does it exacerbate the problem, but it paints the “victim” in a bad light as well. If Eric said something truly hateful to me and I posted it on Facebook, people would probably think ill of him and ill of me.
Wow, he would talk to his wife that way? But why would she post that? What kind of person airs her dirty laundry all over Facebook?
As easy as it is to connect with others on social media, it is an even easier place to kill a connection.
What’s the Verdict?
When it comes to the question of whether Facebook encourages or kills connection, I think the answer lies in the hands of the person using it. It is a tool and the person’s heart motive in using it will be displayed. When someone approaches Facebook as a way to spread glad tidings, happy news, and fun insights, it very much encourages connection. However, when people choose to use Facebook as a means to throw people under the bus, vent bitterness, and make hurtful comments, it is very much a connection killer.
A hundred dollar bill can be used to pay someone’s doctor bill or it can be used to bribe someone. The money is not good or evil. It is just a tool. Facebook is neither good nor evil on its own. In the hands of kind person, it will spread kindness, and in the hands of a bitter person, it will spread bitterness.
So, I would encourage you to use Facebook as a tool to connect with others and with your sweetie. Plus, I would make a pact with your sweetie that says “Under no circumstances will we use this medium as a way to insult, discourage, or harm each other in anyway, no matter how angry or frustrated we may become with each other.”
Have you found Facebook to be a means of connection for you and your friends/family?