There was a time where in polite society one did not talk about religion and politics. Thanks to the wonderful world of social media and in particular Facebook we now see just how wise that sentiment was. I am just as guilty of this as anybody. We all have our own page and we all share our views. We now have our inner monologue in the open for the whole world to comment, argue, and agree with.
It is quite fascinating to see just how wrong you are. I mean I thought we were a lot alike but now that I know what you think about (pick a topic) I wonder how we are even friends. I wonder what it says about me that we are friends. Am I condoning such lunacy by continuing to keep you in my life? Am I now part of the problem?
I can’t lie. Learning people’s views and how they process information makes me question how they function in the world. I am sure plenty of that wonder about me. I think I was happier when I did not know these things about my friends. I now see just how full of hate and fear some people are. I am sure some think I live in a fantasy world. I know we really don’t solve any issues by talking / arguing on Facebook. I sincerely doubt many minds change over a heated Facebook exchange.
Then why do we even bother? Is it the need to be right? Perhaps though I am not sure if I have ever seen a heated Facebook debate end with “you are right, you changed my mind. Thank you.” I think humans are social creatures. Social media is perfect for a lot of anti-social people. People that can’t express themselves in person. People that are shy. People that are inarticulate. Social media is the perfect platform. You can be anything you want because you are not in the same room with the person who you are claiming intellectual superiority over. You can be the tough guy who will kick the rear end of all of ISIS even though in reality you are afraid. It is freeing.
Facebook has opened my eyes to how different people are from me. In some ways these are wonderful differences that enable me to learn about cultures that I had been naïve to. Often it just opens my eyes to how angry and afraid and mean and thoughtless and lazy people are. It does let us converse with people a world away but often I wish I was on a different planet from those I converse with. I am certain some wish I was in a galaxy far, far, away.
So is Facebook good for us? Ultimately I don’t think so. I find I liked people a lot more before I knew so much about them. I liked them when we just discussed superficial topics that we both agreed on. Yeah, New Coke does suck. Jar Jar Binks is annoying. Now instead we try to solve world issues and we just do not see the world the same way. I should not partake in these discussions. They leave me angry and depressed. Scared for the future. I think often Facebook leaves you angry and depressed. I think you are scared for the future. At least we have that in common.