November 20, 2015

Life with Facebook

I both love and hate Facebook for what it brings into my life.

The Positives:
  • I've been able to reconnect with long-distance friends and family members.  There are the high school friends that I haven't seen since graduation.  Then there are the aunt and uncles, the cousins, that I might only see at sporadic family reunions, weddings, or funerals.   I really appreciate that I get to learn about their daily interests, their struggles and triumphs. It makes me feel connected to those I wish I did a better of job of interacting with on a daily (weekly?  monthly? yearly?) basis. 
  • I get to keep in daily contact with the people I do see on a regular basis. Apparently, I just can't get enough of them!  
  • Pictures.  Oh, how I love pictures! I get to see newborn babies, adorable pets, messy kids, sassy teenagers, sunsets, sunrises, beaches, mountains...oh, the list goes on and I am glad that it does. 
  • Silly memes.  Funny memes.  Goofy memes.  I'm all for it.  The memes my friends and family members share provide insight into their interests and personalities.  I know who the partiers are, the geeks, the nerds.  I always get a little thrill of pleasure when I realize a shared interest exists between me and someone else on my feed.   
  • The circulation of well-research and documented information.  I would not number myself among the most well-informed on any given subject.  There's always more to learn, whether its about space travel, advances in medicine or technology, or a new archaeological discovery.
  • Book recommendations.  Book reviews.  Book clubs.  It's all good and very much welcome in my feed.  I've added more than one title to my wishlist because of Facebook. Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, Goodreads and Amazon truly feed the addiction. 
  • Writers.  I am fairly confident I follow more writers than movie stars or television programs.  In fact, I'm not certain that I follow any movie stars directly.  Writers, though, I follow with a great deal of interest.  While I find posts about their upcoming releases of interest, I am thrilled whenever they post something about their writing life.  The struggles and triumphs of words on a page fascinate me, most likely because I fancy myself a writer, too.  
  • Videos.  I visit YouTube a great deal, but it's a vast cyber-place and I'm not sure I'd ever find some of the videos my friends and family members post.  While I may not be a big fan of practical jokes, give me a video of a kitten scaring a bear away from it's sliding glass door any day.  Oh, and parodies.  I love a good parody! 
This brings me to the negatives.  The stuff I wish I could somehow erase from my mind and heart.

The Negatives:
  • Hatred is rampant on Facebook.  There are times when I consider not logging on because after certain world events I can anticipate with almost 100% accuracy that my feed will be filled with ugliness.  There will be Obama-bashing that passes beyond thoughtful commentary on policy to outright personal attacks related to race and his (perceived) religious affiliations. Truth usually has little to do with these attacks.  It's pure vitriol. 
  • The circulation of opinion and not fact.  I think everyone should be required to take a class on propaganda because so many fall prey to the media machine.  They don't research or read. They don't know how to assess a source and determine it's value.  I follow links that lead no where.  The author is merely spouting their own version of the truth without any factual data to back it up.  This makes me a little crazy. 
  • Christians who don't act like Christians but want to preach at everyone following their posts.  Please.  Stop.   I keep you on my feed because I love and care about you, but you're killing me with your gloom and doom rhetoric.  Frankly, every generation thinks the book of Revelation is being enacted upon the world stage.  However, doesn't the good book say something along the lines of "you do not know the day or the hour"?  Therefore, I'd like to propose that you leave the timing of Judgement Day to God and instead live in Christ's example of love and forgiveness while stuck in the here and now.   It's just a thought.
I am writing down these Facebook pros and cons because I find my feed this week has been rather disheartening.  In the wake of the Paris bombings, I have seen a lot of hostility, fear, apathy, and outright hatred.  I've seen it in the media and I've seen it in friends and family members.  It hurts my heart a little.  Sometimes, I think without FB, I'd still be blindly ignorant of how fundamentally different our values are and I'd be happier for it.  My rose-colored glasses make me think everyone is capable of empathy, but my feed tells me otherwise.   

So, while I scroll past the worst of the posts, I will seek out the things in my friends and family members that remind me that, while we may not see eye-to-eye on the debates these latest terrorists attacks have brought into the public forum, we still have a lot in common.  I will work hard to respect opinions that are different from mine and not engage in pointless arguments that will likely end in anger if not properly defused.

Oh, screw it.

Someone, please post a picture of a cat or an entertaining music video parody featuring Hogwart students.