A Facebook friend posted an article link in which the writer very methodically went down a list of why people post certain things on FB (and by extension, I would assume, any social media) and what was wrong with all of that. It got me thinking.
There was much in it I could agree with–kind of, sort of. Some folks need approval and only post to get it. (Don’t forget the LIKE button down below.)
Others have no community–read that, no life–and so have high hopes that with a lot of FB or blog friends they will somehow find that sense of belonging they crave. This author would have you abandon that “shallow” quest in order to search out real flesh and blood friends and family (or stay home and sulk if you don’t happen to have any close by). I have, I must admit almost unfriended my faraway siblings for not LIKING my FB life, but blood is thicker than ambivalence–I think. That’s a real sulk.
It is true, as the author rightly points out, that folks often share too much personal information and / or pictures of mangled pets or stitches on a bloody incision. I will be very happy not to see one more healing wound or bug bite or even a bloody slab of prime rib with baked potato! Vegan moment! The meat, not the potato (but perhaps guilty by association since it had sour cream on top).
But what was ironic is that the commentary is a blog posted on the Web and linked to others on other social media sites. Maybe not hypocrisy, but certainly a disconnect there.
I think Web life might be the world we live in now.
Is conversation over coffee in an intimate coffee shop that plays old black and white movies in the corner with soft jazz piped through the system a better environment for fostering relationship? Probably. But can’t we have a both / and without being accused of sacrificing the sacred cow of what is supposedly real.
For some, the Internet offers a broader horizon to find folks of common (or uncommon) mind here, there, and across the world. For others, it might make far flung loved ones seem not too far flung as we share pictures and jokes and health tips.
And there might be that voyeurism thing.
Does social media have its problems. Sure. But most of that has to do with you driving into my lane on the freeway as you update your status.
Unless the apocalypse comes sooner than later, social web connections are here to stay. There is value in all of it as long as we find a balance with what is real and accessible and what is just safe fun–and as long as we don’t post any more extracted teeth.
(Don’t forget the LIKE button. I like to have an audience because I am needy. Or not.)