Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg may have envisioned an innocuous platform for keeping friends in touch with other friends. He may have predicted good-natured ribbing and commenting on hilarious photos. Maybe he imagined unrequited love between two people becoming a solid relationship. But he couldn’t have fathomed some of the ugliness that appears almost daily in any given newsfeed.
Facebook has become a platform for political agendas
which lead to overwhelming arguments, offensive missives, and overuse of the
“block”and “unfriend” feature. It has become a place where people feel comfortable insulting another’s beliefs whether religious, political or sexual. It’s become a place where people feel righteous stating “this is my page, I’ll say what I want” with no regard for other people’s beliefs or lifestyles and whether they are offending a friend’s choice. It’s become a place of bitterness, self-righteousness, offensiveness and entitlement.
There have always been arguments and disagreements regarding the big two – politics and religion. Inasmuch that it was considered tasteless to discuss either in a large
group setting. Still is as a matter of fact. However, isn’t Facebook a large group setting?
Has anyone ever stopped to consider this before posting an insult or
belittling another person?
Facebook was designed to keep people connected, feed others alerts on your goings on, create a page for your art or your goods, and generally be a happy place to visit. But I’m thinking not so much anymore. Yes, you can block offensive people and filter the good from the bad or the “with whom I agree” from the ones that you don’t. But I need to put some effort into that and I’m not sure it’s worth it. It’s become a troubling place that I need to take a break from quite often.
The comments I’ve read on a number of social media sites flabbergasts me. The insensitivity and cruel nature of comments when it comes to a person’s photo or a story is just astounding. It is hard for me to believe that people in this world can be so brutal, so vicious. Yet it’s all there in black and white. People’s true colors are surfacing in ways that they might be able to hide in a face-to-face conversation.
I wouldn’t venture out into a dark alley in a bad neighborhood intentionally. Yet some days, when I log in to Facebook, it seems that I am doing just that. Going out into a littered, dirty pathway, anxious as to what I will encounter and fearful I will involve myself in something unwholesome.
I still like to keep touch with old friends and former colleagues on Facebook. I like the silly banter, inspirational posts and motivating stories I can count on some friends to post. But these days I visit Facebook with my armor intact and my mouse hovering over the hide feature as I know I’ll use it before too long.
And I wonder when it all changed.
Saying no is not easy for me. I always knew that. Now I know why. I just finished The Motivated Life by Paul Martens and the author explains, in detail, why various personality types act the way they do. I am, without a doubt, the very essence of a Type 3 personality he discusses in the book. We have a difficult time saying no because, the author explains, our boundaries are weak. He’s right, of course, but I keep trying. Yet, it’s been tough.
O Magazine reminds us in Learning to Say No that, every time we say yes to something, we are saying no to our priorities. Defining those priorities was the first step for me. I could not get what I wanted unless I knew what I wanted. And I want to focus on a few areas in my life and I am learning that I have to let go of a lot of other things. I feel guilty doing that; but in order to obtain my goal of a balanced life, I need to start saying no. In the process of setting boundaries, the article suggests creating an “Absolute Yes List.” I love this idea. Weed out the unnecessary and compile your list with the areas that are of the utmost importance in your life.
This takes practice, backbone, boundaries, belief in oneself, and a little bit of diva attitude. I’m not talking the type of diva who has all green M&Ms in a dressing room or one who insists on being carried out on stage like Mercedes Jones on Glee the other night. I just mean that little diva oomph of “I am important, I am worth it, I make my own decisions because I am “me”. But becoming a diva also means taking some risks. Some people aren’t going to like your boundaries. They aren’t going to love it when, after you’ve said yes, yes, a thousand times yes, that you are suddenly saying “nope.” We have to become willing to accept that these folks might decide to walk away.
I’m willing to take that chance.