The Problem with Facebook

Book of Face: Ch. 10, Verses 25-31

~ The Problem with Facebook ~

Oh facebook, where would we be without you?

You give us the ability to communicate with people anywhere in the world, any time of the day.
It really is quite amazing.

But there is something lacking.

Something missing.

Something not quite right.

In normal human communication (face-to-face), 80% of what we communicate is non-verbal.
It is expressed through facial expressions, body language, intonation, and a myriad of other factors that we are not consciously aware of.
That’s “real” communication.
In the digital age, the age of posts, and tweets, and comments, that is sadly lacking.
Sure emoticons may help a little, but they are a not the same as looking someone in the eye.
They are not the same as reading the face of the person you are talking to.

Communication is lacking.

Let me try and explain…

If I comment on something you have posted on facebook, I need you to do one thing for me…

Please, please, please, do NOT take it personally.

If you know me you should know this one simple fact about me:
I don’t go around randomly insulting my friends (facebook friends included).

I’m not a troll who posts belligerent things on people walls.
I mean, what would that accomplish?

Douchebaggery, that is all.

If I comment something seemingly harsh on your post, it is not because I wish to make you feel small, or stupid, or bad about yourself. I don’t want you to feel defensive, or as though you are being attacked.
All I am doing is opening up a dialogue about the subject you have posted on.
I want to talk about it.
If you didn’t want to talk about it, why in god’s name are you posting it on facebook?

I was un-friended today.
Yep, I fell below that line of facebook friend. I fell below that line of; people you went to high school with and have never spoken to since; coworker from your summer job 3 years ago; your ex’s brother or sister and although you were tight back then, it just seems a little awkward to be really chummy now; that person you met at the bar, and although you got along real well, you never talked to them again.
Yep I fell below the facebook cut-off point.
That place reserved for exes, and strangers, and former roommates who still owe you the last months rent.
I am not a “friend.”

How did it get to this?

My former “friend” posted an article upon their wall.
I read it.
I got mad.
The article was blatant bigotry (apparent to me at least).
I had to say something.
It came across harsh.
But the harshness was never meant to be directed at my former-friend.
I was angry with the article’s author.
But I wanted to inform my former-friend of the inherent bigotry of the article that was obviously not apparent to them.
Their reaction caught me off-guard.
They were instantly defensive.
They felt I was insulting them, calling them “racist.”

I attempted to sooth the situation, to explain to my former-friend the misunderstanding that had occurred.
To no avail.
Each post brought forth a new level of anger, and more defensiveness.
I wasn’t going to say that I was wrong about said article, because it was racist. But I knew this person, I knew they weren’t racist, and I tried to make this point known.
But to know avail.

After about the third or fourth post I was told to “fuck off.”
I noticed that my liking options had disappeared, I scrolled over my former-friend’s avatar and then I saw it…
We were no longer friends.

In all the time I knew this person, I had never had them tell me to “fuck off.”
I never thought I would. I never took them for the type.
Far too timid, too mild, too kind.
But the internet is a whole different ball game.

Here we don’t have to look someone in the eye when we tell them to “fuck off.”
We don’t have to say, “I no longer consider you to be my friend, and I want you out of my life.” Nope, we just click a button and the magic happens.

Ah, the magic of the interwebs.

Faceless, anonymous, impersonal.

Oh what a tangled (inter)web we weave.

That’s it.
That’s the real problem.
We are not fully communicating.
In fact we are communicating at such an inferior level that sometimes our point is lost entirely.

If I had been face-to-face with my former-friend, they would have seen that there was no malice in my speech, no anger in my face, no hatred in my heart.

They would have seen my concern, and my desire to help them understand my point.

But sadly, we weren’t face-to-face, we were face-to-book.
We weren’t adequately communicating.
And now here we are… former-friends.

So please, please, please, do this one thing for me…
Don’t take it personally.
Because if you could see my eyes, then you could see my heart.
And in my heart,
I love you.

and may we all communicate to the best of our abilities.

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