Saturday, August 12, 2017

Me and The Facebook

Several years ago, I joined Facebook, mainly because one or both of my daughters talked me in to it. I certainly was a casual user at first (whatever that means). Eventually as more of my “old-time” friends joined, I got more active with commenting, posting, etc.

However, along with last year’s election “situation”, a sad and disheartening thing happened with my Facebook experience. Suddenly people were being mean and angry with their posting. Comments ceased to be positive and uplifting and went to accusatory and vicious. Friends I had thought to be friends ending up espousing views that, while went against my views, seemed to not only negate my views, but vilify them.

It got to the point where I started “hiding” people. I didn’t “unfriend” them. Someone did that to me once, and I found it hurtful. I just hid their posting so I wouldn’t have to have my senses assaulted every time I opened Facebook.

The good thing was that I did pick up a few new friends. Friends who were hidden from other friends because of their beliefs. Friends who held the same thoughts and ideals I did, but not only didn’t think that everyone else should have the same beliefs, that believed that we could all still get along.

Earlier this year, my postings became fewer and fewer. Partly because I didn’t want to talk about how I felt about the current goings on and didn’t want to get lambasted because of them. Partly because didn’t want to get “Facebook yelled at” for something I wrote. But mostly because I had begun to question my purpose with Facebook.

I do like reading Facebook. I have several friends with whom this is my only means of keeping in touch. Sure, I could call or write, but I either don’t have that contact information (hmmm – what could that mean) or it’s just that Facebook is the easiest way of keeping in touch, albeit indirectly. And I have to say that I am a “Facebook stalker.” That means that if a friend talks about another friend and some potential interesting (to me) situation, then I will go to that page to “read all about it.” So, I am an avid Facebook reader.

But therein lays my dilemma. I don’t like being a “taker.” If I am deriving all this pleasure from reading the posts of others, then shouldn’t I have a responsibility to provide fodder for the reading enjoyment of others?

And therein lies my other deep theological question (where’s a therapist when you need it?) – how self-centered does one need to be to post personal things on Facebook? Do I really believe that there are those who are interested in what I might post?

I had just about come to the decision to quit Facebook altogether, when one day two postings came up. One was from my childhood friend Anita, who asked (via Facebook post) was I was up to. I answered her (via public Facebook post) saying a bit about what I was thinking. And in a comment related to my comment, Ramsey (another childhood friend) basically said to stay on Facebook, because he liked reading my posts.

And so I decided to stay on. Because in the end, it’s just Facebook. People can say whatever they want, and I can hide those comments. I can learn from what others are saying (if I choose) and I can learn about the lives and travels and experiences of those whom I may never meet in person.

And in the end, maybe Ramsey will have a moment’s enjoyment!
Blessings today include: nobody hurt when Steve’s car got smashed with a light pole; Everley time

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