After the election last year I thought I would not be able to tolerate Facebook any more. People were so divided, comments so vicious and vengeful and the overall sentiment simply negative.
But then I got used to it. I knew what to expect from my connections with opposing views and after a while it became like background noise.
Then there was the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the revelations that our election might have been influenced by a foreign power. Another reason to abandon the platform, but I stayed.
While both of these events had a lot of impact on broader issues, interestingly enough neither one of them actually triggered my motivation to the point where I wanted to take action. Not sure what that says about me, but I will leave that judgment to my readers.
Separation was looming and it was a long time coming for my frustrations reached a tipping point.
We have lost touch with what’s appropriate
Now, you are probably thinking what could have possibly been worse than those occurrences? Nothing global, nothing earth shattering, but yet another invitation to donate to a charity. Yes, I said it, it’s official now. Judge away, mark me as a horrible person, I don’t care because you cannot “Dislike” this article, because Facebook doesn’t have a “Dislike” button. You can however leave nasty remarks, so feel free to do that.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of having a platform where you can ask people to contribute in a positive way, who wouldn’t? But at the same time it seems self-serving. And before you start judging me again, hear me out on this one.
When I am invited to a birthday party of a friend, and by that I mean a real friend not a Facebook connection, and the friend asks me to donate to their preferred charity instead of bringing a gift, that’s totally fair game and really admirable. Needless to say that I would happily meet that request.
If however, most of my connections on Facebook all of a sudden think it’s cool to ask for contributions to their charity simply because they have a birthday, that’s where the self-involved part comes in. And that is exactly what Facebook has done to all of us.
Friend or Connection?
We have lost touch with what’s appropriate and what is real. We don’t differentiate between true friendships and connections. We ask everybody who is connected to us to act like a friend, completely forgetting that we might not have even met some of the people we share a platform. We probably couldn’t even name one characteristic of the person who we connected with years ago simply because they come up as a recommended connection chosen by the Facebook Algorithm.
Simply because people like your posts doesn’t mean you are popular. Simply because you know what’s going on in a person’s life because they happen to overshare on Facebook doesn’t make them a friend.
Facebook gives us a false sense of connectivity where we feel that daily updates give us access and build intimacy.
I don’t think that any of the people asking for donations on their birthday would have the courage to do it in-person, but Facebook makes it easy for us. Everything is just a click away. It’s easier to criticize, because we don’t have to respond after an insulting comment. It’s also easier to love things that we generally don’t care about, because it’s a only click away. As I had mentioned above, there is no “Dislike” button, so people are under the illusion that they are genuinely popular when somebody likes their post.
Trust me, most people who like your updates don’t really care about you or your life.
How many friends do you really have?
Facebook is easy, I give you that. That was one of the many reasons why I stayed on the platform and engaged on a daily basis. It’s easier to send birthday wishes, to share memories, to see your children’s photos and updates. But that’s exactly where the problem lies. We use technology to supplement human interaction and it makes us a dull, uninvolved, complacent society. There is true danger lurking behind those posts, the danger of losing touch with what’s really important in life.
If you really care about somebody, you will make sure there is a connection beyond social media. Once you cut the cord, so to speak it will soon surface who your true friends are.
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