by Madeline Laughs
My new dogma I share on Facebook is that you can do whatever you like on there, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone.
I don’t think many people are listening to me though.
When the elections started this year I watched many of my friends puff up their chest and announce their party affiliations. I didn’t care who was Republicans or Democrats or whatever, it made me happy to see many of them standing up for what they believe in and their right to vote.
Then the racist hate memes started circulating.
I didn’t like that one bit, so I stopped talking so much about the election and concentrated on posting pretty pictures and having fun. I got accused of sticking my head in the sand and for not supporting the election. I didn’t care.
Even before the elections I noticed a trend happening on Facebook. People are getting mean, outspoken in destructive ways and very territorial. I have read status updates that literally made me cringe with dislike for someone I had always thought was awesome because their tone was judgmental, arrogant and crass. Seeing this kind of thought in print started making me reconsider the people, nevermind that it was just Facebook. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Status updates that were ALL IN CAPS AND SHOUTING THEIR ANGER AND UNBRIDLED HATRED!!!!! Status updates made personal and pointing fingers telling their own friends to STFU! Status updates made personal, slamming their families, their loved ones and sometimes even their own husbands and wives. The amount of pure in-your-face animosity for their fellow man and Facebook friends was shocking and disconcerting.
My finger hovered over the delete key on many occasions.
A few of my friends started expressing their own dislike of the new Facebook personas popping up. One friend said she was so disgusted with what she was seeing that she had whittled her friend list down to the bare minimum. When I told her I was no longer friends with a certain person, she laughed. This person had deleted me, but my friend told me that she had deleted them a while back. I asked her why. She said that the constant battering ram of the friend’s status updates was upsetting. Even though they were never directed at her, they made her uncomfortable. She made the decision that she just couldn’t be subjected to this on a daily basis and deleted the woman.
Another friend admitted that the new Pollyannaisms from people that made it sound like they were the purest of souls on there and that everyone else was fucked up, made her sick to her stomach. I just don’t understand why people are doing stuff like this! Why can’t everyone get along? I get along with everyone! The judgey contempt bled over into comments scolding people for their opinions and telling them they were ungrateful, unforgiving and doing things they shouldn’t be doing. It was a travesty in friendship and more than making anyone reconsider their original position, it made people reconsider having to put up with the netnanny. When did people start bemoaning the human race as unfit compared to their angelic condition?
Then friends started naming people they were mad at. I know I have been guilty of doing this on a couple of occasions, but I’ve only put one name up in anger or rebellion and this was a guy that was stalking me through our mutual friends. Oh, and I’ve made a few jokes about him too. After seeing how ridiculous my behavior was I decided to never do that again.
Naming people we’re pissed off at on Facebook is a violation of common decency.
You just don’t do it.
I have watched as angry lovers have posted on each other’s pages during a fight. Mean statements that made me wonder why they ever dated! Until one, or the other deletes them and takes away the stage, lover’s quarrels have played out for all of their own friends, and even people that weren’t friends, to see. Every sociopath that gets a hard-on from people’s discomforts had a front row seat for major heartbreaks.
Obnoxious newbies that have a new religious workout regiment or miracle drug spam your page with their new fad or their new online Facebook business. COME JOIN US! WE HAVE A NEW WORKOUT ROUTINE, A NEW DRUG, A NEW GROUP, AND YOU LOOK LIKE YOU NEED OUR HELP WITH YOUR WEIGHT, YOUR DIET, YOUR UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE! I think it’s great that some of my friends have decided to help themselves, but honestly, their opinion about my life, or lack of it, isn’t why I signed up for Facebook.
I signed up for Facebook to be social and to have fun. I like keeping up with my friends that are in far away places, posting pictures and trying to share my writing with anyone interested in reading it.
Yes, this is a blog that shares information about how to get along, be safe and live a healthy mental life, but I’m not going to spam anyone on Facebook with my opinions posted here. You can find the blog posts on our fan page and sometimes on my own personal page. Rarely will I post something in a group, or on another friend’s page, unless they’re asking for advice or it’s something we talked about. I will occasionally send something in a private message, but even then I have no expectations that what I send will even get read. I will certainly never post something on someone’s page because I think I’m better than they are. Sheesh! That’ll be the day, huh?
I’ve received invitations to workout clubs lately and I always feel like I should respond with something snarky like “do you think I’m fat enough for your class?” It’s offensive and in some cases, it’s hurtful to other people because they really don’t know if you’re singling them out, or not.
I have watched as friends told boldfaced lies about their station in life, their past illnesses, their pay stubs, their children, their marital status, their house, their education, etc. They just reinvent themselves on there and after a while I guess they either start believing their own lies, or they just don’t care that they’re lying. I have no clue!
The absolute worst of everything I have witnessed is when friends think nothing of getting in the middle of a family feud. When families are fighting, you should stay out of it. Especially when one of them is your friend. I’m guilty of this too, but honestly the only time it ever happened to me I wasn’t sure if the person was family or not. Once I was informed, I backed off.
It surprises me to see family use Facebook as a weapon against their relatives, but what shocks me more are the friends that know what they’re doing, because you told them what they’re doing, and they still participate in validating the vendetta.
One friend told me she didn’t care about the drama and that she would do as she pleased on Facebook. I was her friend and she referred to the offending party as a “distant acquaintance”. Imagine my surprise that I ranked beneath the “distant acquaintance” and her Facebook account was more important to her than her friend’s feelings. It would have been different if this was just a Facebook friend and not someone I actually know and have shared my life with, but this wasn’t just a Facebook friend…or was she?
It was a wake up call to me about how much and how easily some people devalue legitimate friendship these days. When did it become so easy to discount a friend’s feelings because of Facebook?
When did “friends” start taking Facebook too far? When did a social network become a breeding ground for bullies, liars, sociopaths, voyeurs, psychopaths, preachers, the apathetic and the arrogantly judgmental?
I’m not sure when this became the norm for Facebook, but it is something I’m aware of now. I will be exploring this new trend over the next few posts and sharing with you how to avoid the pitfalls, evaluate your own Facebook behavior and to get back to what social networking is really all about.
Facebook is about being social and that means using social niceties and having manners. It’s about following the same rules in there that you would follow at a cocktail party or a family reunion. Think about that the next time you feel the urge to stand on your soapbox and scream obscenities at your friends, or you think it’s okay to air your dirty laundry in front of 400 people you barely know, or when you think a website is more important than a real live person’s feelings.
- Don’t fall for the Facebook Interest List rumor (raventools.com)
- Thackeray FB post: I don’t regret my status, says girl (ibnlive.in.com)
- National UnFriend Day calls on Facebookers to cull their lists (lfpress.com)
- New Facebook Status Update Question Today: ‘What Are You Thankful For?’ (forbes.com)
- Facebook lists full of strangers (nzherald.co.nz)
- Liar! (spreadinformation.wordpress.com)
- Stop engaging in Flame Wars (it’s damaging behavior) (spreadinformation.wordpress.com)
- I Was Just Friended By Myself On Facebook (And It Only Gets Weirder From There) (getsocialwise.wordpress.com)
- Which one are you? (mrsdsmaunderings.wordpress.com)
- Facebook and Politics: Thumbs Down. (commercialfishingmom.com)