Sunday, 17 August 2014

Contemplation: Share and Share a Like

[Disclaimer: I do not purport to speak for anyone but myself in this blog post. I take full responsibility for my opinions, no matter how skewed they may seem. :-) qb xx]

After seven years, I have a Like-Dislike relationship with Facebook.


  • I like keeping in touch with far-flung family and friends. 
  • I like the daft banter. 
  • I like that as a single lady living alone it keeps me from feeling isolated. 
(I touched on these first three reasons in my pre-Lenten Facebook fast post.)
  • I like tagging friends in photos of things they might like:
{@Amanda... @Lizzie...}
  • I also like being tagged in photos of things I might like: 

  • I like the fact that objects have been reunited with owners via Facebook. 
  • I like it as a wide-reaching platform for sharing causes, raising awareness, or requesting sponsorship.
However:
  • I dislike that Facebook has the potential to make folk feel inadequate. 
  • I dislike that Facebook has the potential to make folk feel guilty if they don’t Like or Share a viral photo:

  • I dislike that we rational folk occasionally can’t make the distinction between how our friends live, and how they depict their lives on Facebook.
  • I dislike the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that Facebook inspires:
Remember those friends of yours? Look! Here they are in this gallery of photos simply bombarded with Likes! They’re all out having the best time WITHOUT YOU. And next time you see them in the Real World, they’re going to reminisce, in front of you, about that great time they had WHILE YOU WEREN’T THERE.
  • I dislike that for a long time on Facebook I posted my every waking thought because it seemed the thing to do at the time. Colour me dullard:

  • I dislike extensive celebrity eulogies on Facebook by people who are strangers to that celebrity.
  • I dislike that the relative isolation of this forum has the potential to turn us in on ourselves until we believe all negative statuses are about us:
  • And I dislike that folk can share something that they care about, or are interested in, and have it publicly questioned.

But everything we post is of course open to the response and reaction of our friends. Like it or not.

The simple answer would be, of course, not to share anything on Facebook.

In fact, the simpler answer would be to step away from Facebook altogether.

After all, nobody is legally obliged to use Facebook.

And if you do use it, you can always choose how its content affects your state of mind and your self-worth.

Except of course it's not a conscious choice much of the time.

I draw your attention, dear reader, to this article:

 

I shared the link to this article on my Wall on Thursday with the intention of giving it more considered attention over here on the blog (where my opinions are my own, no matter how skewed, as you know...).

And I was surprised and alarmed by the discussion the article prompted. The thumb of opinion was clearly pointing south.

Having read through the comments again, it appeared to be the perceived tone set by the title – “I’ve done this and so should you” – to which people most objected.

Nevertheless, this is not the first time I’ve posted something with an instructional tone, and sparked off dissent among my friends: 18 Things Everyone Should Start Making Time For Again garnered a similar response which was, "don't tell me what to do!".

The criticism, in both instances, was geared towards the authors of the articles, but as the proverbial Messenger, I unwittingly put myself in the firing line; and naturally I absorbed the criticisms.

After all, there I was, saying, I find this interesting; maybe I should consider taking some of this advice. 
So, in effect, by taking offense at the article, people are taking offense at my opinions. 

I need to point out that by sharing these articles I’m not forcing any instructions on anyone. I'm simply flagging up something that I might implement into my life, as the issue of whether or not to come off Facebook completely has been near the forefront of my mind lately.

I welcomed the suggestion that stepping away from Facebook occasionally might make me feel happier and free up a little more time to do other things such as...

...writing.

And I welcomed the implication that maybe I ought to write more letters by hand, cook a meal from scratch, or just unplug and read a book and suppress that FOMO. 

These, to me, are not bad things to be encouraged to do.

For years I’ve laboured under the misguided belief that your Wall, or your status, is your platform, that whatever you write, you ‘own’, and nobody can justifiably contradict you, outdo you or dismiss you. (They might ‘unfriend’ you as a result of something you've posted, but you will probably never know.)

Likewise, you can empathise on someone else’s Wall, offer advice when requested, Like (or Dislike, but, again, you will probably never know...), share their words and sentiments if you echo them, but let the person ‘own’ that Wall and the sentiments therein.

It doesn’t work like that, though, I've found.

Everything we post is open to the reaction and response of our friends. 

And I was actually quite upset by the reactions to those articles. 

But I accept that it was my own fault for posting on Facebook in the first place when I’m not obliged to do so.

I accept that it was my (unconscious) choice to absorb the criticism.

So, in closing, I'm stepping back from Facebook. I'm not coming off completely but I no longer plan to impose my actions, feelings, beliefs, values or opinions – misguided or otherwise – on my Facebook friends.

(Thank goodness I still have this blog, eh? :-))

2 comments:

  1. you make so many valid points and I've too been thinking at lot about this. Is facebook more damaging?. I like to think I put across a fair and honest opinion but found myself disagreeing with a friends post on facebook - the mess hit the fan and I found myself being almost "Trolled" by others who responded to my option. By not always agreeing with the crowd seemed to make me the monster - when I mean no harm at all, it was simply a conversation that I participated in. I was wounded by friends of friends comments who made a judgement call because they didn't know me in person. I was an easy target but had put myself on the fireing line in the first place, so perhaps facebook isn't the place to be yourself?

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  2. Hi 'Anonymous' -- thank you for your comment! It's increasingly hard to maintain an 'opinion' on Facebook without feeling you have to fight to defend it, or retract when people disagree and close in.

    I like your closing comment very much; no, it probably isn't the place to be yourself. After all we're for the most part posting edited highlights or lowlights of our life!

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