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Facebook: The SOCIAL Network

Earlier this week a Facebook friend posted both a status and a checklist indicating that various things are “Facebook Abuse.” These things include, but are not limited to, “overposting,” and “inspirational quotes.”  This person objects, specifically, to the posting of quotations superimposed on a photo or drawing that is not created and written by the poster.

All week I have stewed about this. As I have said before, Facebook is my playground. I try to be somewhat careful not to get myself fired, unfriended, or added to lists of those plotting to overthrow the United States, but other than that…all bets are off. I suspect that everyone has things on Facebook that they like and things on Facebook that they hate. I don’t mind the inspirational or humorous quotes, and I am rarely concerned about the number of statuses someone else posts in a day. If I find the person annoying, I “hide” them as I have hidden game requests and horoscopes. My favorite things are updates that give me news or insight into the mental state of my “friends,” tips of various kinds, and articles on subjects of interest.

Although I read some political pieces, I mostly think that posters are preaching vigorously to the choir; no one I know has ever been led to change their mind on any serious political or social issue because 500 articles on the topic went through their feed. If anything, I have seen people become argumentative and more deeply entrenched. That’s fine as far as it goes, but let’s be honest about whether we are out to stir the pot or believe that we are changing hearts and minds. I have gained information and depth of perspective from a handful of extraordinarily well-written political posts, but I am under no illusion that posting them myself would convert or straighten out those among my family and friends on Facebook who are otherwise inclined. They would simply view me as self-righteous and (still) wrong.

Here’s the thing, the bottom line, the kernel of truth that drives me to write this post at breakneck speed before I take my mother to lunch: Facebook was created as a social network for college students to connect, hook up, and exchange banal, obscene or alcohol-fueled “thoughts.” It can be a lot of things, a way to crowd-source opinion, a political soapbox, a place to play games, or a way to find and stay in touch with far away loved ones. Its purpose, however, in “the mind of the maker,” was that it be used by people to entertain themselves while making money for the little men behind the curtain. End of story. No one is required to be on Facebook, no one using Facebook is required to read or look at anything they choose not to see (except for the ads), and there are no rules besides the site’s terms of use. There are things to worry about as a Facebook user, like privacy, and the selling of personal data, but being monitored, judged and dunned by ones’ “friends” because one is insufficiently high-minded or original is not a thing I’m willing to worry about.

Bottom line: If I want to post something totally uninteresting every five minutes all day long, you can hide me. If the things on my timeline do not suit your high standards for critical thinking, you needn’t look at them. If I whine, if I post inspirational quotes, if I post every day about what I made for dinner…you can “unfriend” me and be spared the acute and searing agony of my misuse of Facebook. I’m off to find some cute pictures of cats.


About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

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