Monday, February 17, 2014

Facebook: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Like every piece of technology and social media, there was a time and place for Facebook, but is it still relevant today?
 I have had my Facebook since 2006. I joined when I started Benedictine College as a way to keep up with all of my high school friends. What a great way to stay in touch right? Absolutely! Facebook keeps me informed about all of the people I care about and even new people that I have just met. I have sparked friendships and grown much closer to acquaintances via Facebook by having similar life stories, interests and commonalities, that we never would have known about without this social media platform. I also use Facebook to keep everyone updated on this little blog of mine and I love getting feedback from you! These are all fantastic examples of the positive effects of social media.
Is there a line though? An invisible string in internet land that says "Do Not Cross" as a warning to unsuspecting wanderers? For the last 8 years, I have learned more about my Facebook friends lives than I would ever have been privileged to know in pre-Facebook times when you actually had to speak with people face to face. Has Facebook diminished our relationships with those that are truly closest to us? Why call people when you can just post on Facebook? Has Facebook also been a culprit in the rising truth that common courtesy is slowly being choked to death? How often have you had your feelings hurt by something that has been posted to Facebook? How often have you felt left out by your actual friends or family who post to Facebook, especially when Facebook is your main form of communication? I have been wounded more times than I care to admit. I mean for goodness sake, it is just a website right? 
Facebook projects a mirror image of who we are, but the image is edited and warped until we are satisfied by what we see. Our whole self is never truly represented. How self aggrandizing is it to hit a button and have 472 people immediately exposed to only the portion of yourself you want others to see? Let's be honest here, we compare ourselves to other people. We hate to admit it, but we are human after all. We can try to deny our feelings, but when you are having a craptastic week and all 472 of your "friends" seem to be excelling and thriving, it is damn depressing. The worst part about it, is that we are comparing our living, breathing reality to our 472 "friends" enhanced, inflated, and shiny internet reality. 
So why do I keep Facebook? There are people that I really do enjoy following, I love having an outlet to get my blog "out there" and it is an easy way for distant family to see my Littles on a semi regular basis. Are those good enough reasons though? I'm not so sure. 

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