Facebook Still Confuses Me

SeleenaK_2011-10-21-14.38.17I think I’ve been a Facebook person since 2007 or 2008, and although very little surprises me in life, my own reaction to Facebook continues to confuse me.  I know what I should do, yet I find it so difficult.

First off, social media has evolved into a place where seeking ego massages or  “preaching to the choir” is the reason most belong.

I suppose, in life,  we  all tend to congregate with those who’s view we share but if you’re looking for support for your cause, only a coward would ask for support from those we already know support us.  Does that make sense?

For example, let’s say I’m an advocate for the better treatment of animals.  Would it not make sense that I should plead my case to a group who might be known for poor treatment of animals?  Let’s face it, pleading my case to the SPCA is a waste of time, since they already share my feelings.  And continually showing the SPCA folks how badly animals are sometimes treated serves no purpose (they already know) except to possibly throw their views of life out of balance.

Likewise, if it’s about politics, go to the other side to try to obtain support; to possibly convert someone from an opposing ideology instead of whining continually to those who already share your views.

If you feel that a particular politician is an idiot, tell him! Tell his followers!  Discuss!  Argue!  But telling those of us who already feel that way just adds a ton of negativity with no chance for meaningful discussion that could possible change opinions.

PREACH TO THE CONVERTED (THE CHOIR) – Propound an argument to people who already support it. ~ phrases.org

So why am I telling you this?  Well, social media, in general, and Facebook, in particular, has become a bit of a downer for me, mainly for the reason I just mentioned.  I just ran out of tolerance for hearing the same cowardly complaints, over and over again, directed at the wrong audience.

So I started looking at my Friends list and found that I had almost never “unfriended” anyone  but rather kept them as friends yet “unfollowed” them, thereby not seeing anything they post unless it’s in direct response to something I, or another “followed” friend had posted.   Quite cowardly, isn’t it?

Because those who continually make your day unpleasant are really unlikely to be someone you’d want to spend time with .. online or in person.

Maybe I’m just too pragmatic.  But your need to vent doesn’t trump my need to smile.  Unless you’re a close friend.

Then I’m here for you.

7 thoughts on “Facebook Still Confuses Me”

  1. I am a relative newby on Facebook and believe me it confuses me also but in a much different way. Your analsys is very discerning and while I understand it I am not expeienced enough with the genre to draw those conclusions.
    It seems to me tho’ that the main purpose of Facebook is self agrandisement. I admit I do respond too interesting stuff, what I think is interesting anyway but like another meaans of comunicating , with which we are both familiar, I ignore most of it.

    1. Ignoring most of it seems to work for a lot of people. But I think back to a time when it was slightly more ‘real’, and on some level, it was entertaining and almost life-enhancing.

  2. I’m not sure I’d say I’m confused about Facebook though I do frequently question my reasons for sticking with it. I actually have two Facebook accounts even though I know that, according to the terms and conditions that we all agree to but so few actually read, that is taboo. The two accounts help me to keep the two aspects of my life separate when I need them to be.

    If I’m brutally honest with myself I’m too insecure for self agrandisement. I’m more likely to seek positive comments about photos I post or articles I write on Jane’s page for self validation. It can be a risky venture as I have learnt to my cost. Not everyone is polite enough to be gentle with comments. Positive comments I lap up because, ironically, it helps to make me feel less like a loser. (Yet surely only a loser would seek such endorsement.) I usually take lack of comment as, at best, neutral responses. I try to learn from those experiences. On my alter ego’s page posting images is more about showing family and friends what we’re up to, especially when we travel, though I do often use my comments to attack issues I feel are unfair or bigoted. That tends to not win me any new friends.

    I only have short friends lists on both accounts but I also have some on each list that I never communicate with. I know it’s overly sensitive of me but I tend not to ‘unfriend’ people because I hate the idea of just dropping them with no word because it might hurt their feelings. Of course, I’ve never actually told anyone I was going to unfriend them either and I think that really is a sign of cowardice. Most of them would likely not give a crap if I unfriended them anyway.

    I do acknowledge one thing though. I have many issues with my sister and foremost of them is the number of bigoted posts she makes. She is fanatically anti-Muslim to the point of being irrational and illogical. I frequently respond against her posts simply because I believe she is being unfair. Without Facebook I’d probably be less aware of how bigoted she is and things between us might actually be easier. I know our mother would like that.

    Personally, if ever I become a pain in anyone’s arse through my Facebook contributions I’m happy for them to unfriend me. As you say Seleena, my need to vent doesn’t trump anyone else’s need to smile.

    1. Jane, your comment ” I’m more likely to seek positive comments about photos I post or articles I write on Jane’s page for self validation.” is behind much of my struggle. Everyone (almost) is doing this. It’s not about how we can enhance the lives of those in our social network. It’s how we can USE THEM to enhance our lives.

      So where in all that are we helping our ‘friends’ to smile?

      We hold our real friends close. We smile together. We vent together, We cry together. But Facebook is like being in a large room with a lot of ‘acquaintances’. Except that we can choose who’s in that room. And we should. But ‘unfriending’ is still difficult, even if it’s dragging us down. (This is my only confusion with my Facebook mentality).

      I suppose it’s an age thing for me but it seems I spent my whole life doing things for others. As the sun begins to set, it’s time to do things for me. Making others smile is part of that. Listening to others incessantly vent (or comment on other ‘vents’) is not.

      You also mention ‘attack issues I feel are unfair or bigoted.’ and ‘respond against her posts simply because I believe she is being unfair.’ but isn’t this being unfair too? Why must we all lash out at those who don’t share our feelings? And do we think for a nanosecond that lashing out is going with help us win people over to our side?

      Thanks for the stimulating dialog.

  3. I enjoy making people smile – if they are smiling then I’m usually smiling too. That’s why I enjoy making positive comments on people’s posts. I try to be mindful of the effect that negative comments can have so I don’t make them.

    Your comment about fairness regarding my sister’s posts is on the mark – I grapple with the right mix of accepting that she has a right to express her views, as we all do in a democratic society and standing up against bigotry and religious intolerance. When I respond to her I try to present counter arguments to show that there is another side to her arguments. I try never to make responses that attack her personally though I have had to apologise for one post that could have been (and apparently was) taken as a direct shot at her even though I didn’t mean it that way.

    Of course, as you state, I’m unlikely to win her over to the way I think, though I would love to see her being more accepting and tolerant of those who are different to her. That’s part of the reason I’ve held off telling her about Jane even though I know that is probably an irrational fear.

    As usual, my wife nailed the issue in a few simple words: “For me Facebook is meant to be a fun place so I refuse to comment on anything I see as negative. If it’s not fun I’m not into it.”

    1. I think your wife is a wise woman.

      With all due respect, I struggle with the fact that you grapple with this at all. And it’s a common theme these days.

      Demonizing opinions demonizes people and just further divides our world. But carry on if you must. Just let me know how much success you’re having in changing opinion because I won’t be seeing it on my timeline. 🙂

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