There's a creeping sickness in this world. It has infected people I know, knew and might meet in the future. It's the breaking of two of Moses' commandments. Mostly, from an anecdotal view, it's people not being good enough because they can't get over high school.
I like the internet. I really like social media. I abhor facebook. What I like about the internet and the social media network is the ability to communicate to people from different walks of life. This article, based on a Stanford University study, is mind numbingly frustrating.
The article, while interesting and well written, is quite heavy. You are reading my blog for quick information and some pithy commentary. Long story short, is the headline of the piece Why Facebook Makes Us Sad. Really? A website, albeit, a multibillion dollar one made even more popular by an academy award nominated film (please, Lord, do not let it win), makes people sad? According to people smarter than me and a few of you, it sure does. In my experience Facebook also makes people covetous, mean, paranoid, bossy, bullying, and crazy.
Everyone, regardless of their high school and or college experiences can relate to the politics of their teenage years. Hormones combined with gossip combined with ill adjusted socializing teenagers not equipped to deal with their emotions make for tough times. The theory, and unfortunately, it is only a theory, is by adulthood, you get over it and become secure in who and what you are. That perfect world doesn't exist.
The article highlights the paradox Facebook creates. People's pages are represented by the positive aspects of their existence. Everyone is chipper, has cute kids, their pictures are nice, and even when there is drama in their life, it's accompanied by a "like" button. There is no "dislike". That's not how the real world works. People don't get to see the ups and downs of every day life of their high school nemesis or college crush. Only the positives. As a result the same envy, jealousy and political trauma that existed 10 to 20 years ago bubbles to the surface like an eye of newt in a witch's brew.
Facebook, in my opinion, also reveals the worst aspect of the human condition; the belief that self worth is calculated through what others have. This is the most disturbing thing. I can't explain how many negative experiences I have had, seen, heard about or just known through negative social media, both myspace and Facebook of people who used it to justify their bad character traits. Listen, is Facebook, all bad? Of course not. I had it from August 2008 (preparing for my 20th high school reunion) til March 2010. I got in touch with several people I genuinely missed, like my childhood friend Barry, who comments this blog and my twitter account. The greed, materialism, Tiger mom attitudes, infidelity, and keeping up way too much with the Joneses was scary.
My wife still has her facebook page. She is a video game aficionado and likes the applications on Facebook for gaming. I appreciate her hobby. I know that some people use Facebook to organize events, enlighten people to causes, and create positive friendships. Unfortunately, as the study in the above article shows, Facebook also makes people emotionally unstable in ways they just never should be.
"Twitter makes me like people I’ve never met and Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life"
Is a quote from the twitter account of @ShaylaMaddox from a few months ago. That was made into a popular blog post here: http://thenextweb.com/2010/10/20/twitter-makes-me-like-people-ive-never-met-and-facebook-makes-me-hate-people-i-know-in-real-life/
I wish I could have created the words above but someone else was a lot more clever and prophetic. I have made every mistake in the book in my internet "career" But I never poked anyone and I never used the word Facebook are a verb. Maybe I'm placing too much credence in the fact that my experience with this blog and my twitter account have been 99 percent positive. I do know this, I graduated high school almost 23 years ago. The only time I felt like I was back there was the year or so I had Facebook.
Bottom lining my point of view; I wish the people I enjoy online and I could hang out once a week and have deep, interesting, fun, involved, intelligent conversations; like a modern version of the Algonguin Roundtable (google Mrs. Parker and the Viscious Circle. The movie is boring.) That can't happen, unless we all moved to Manhattan and started drinking and smoking. Wow, now I wonder if Dorothy Parker were alive today would she follow me on twitter or comment my blog? The infection has set in with me, apparently.
I don't want to be poked, prodded, conjoled, guilt tripped, cliqued, bullied, grouped, told, or made to socialize. I want to communicate. It's why I blog. It's why I tweet. It's why I talk. The creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was looking to stalk a girl and get over on his frenemies when he html'd his way into 500 million people's lives. I just don't want any part of that.
Today's song is one of my personal favorite. The Crown Prince of sardonic wit, and one of my songwriting idols, Elvis Costello, wrote "What's So Funny About Peace Love And Understanding" about his disconnection from the people he grew up with. He joked that the song made him a lot of new friends in the arts community and pissed off all the old friends he had back home. I wouldn't be surprised if this blog did the same for me.