Saturday, February 4, 2012
I wonder why I do it. I signed on to Facebook a couple of years ago and I've been hooked ever since. Well, maybe not so much "hooked" as fascinated. Ok, hooked. I have tried to figure this out to the very best of my ability and for the life of me I can't seem to put my finger on it. I will admit that, at least at first, I was determined to have lots of friends...it was a quest for the unspoken badge of honor that comes with having 1,000 "friends". I was "friending" everyone that I had ever come into contact with and I was accepting "friend requests" at a breakneck pace. Just so you know, I never made it to 1,000. I actually thought that people would come across my page and realize that they had just stumbled upon a wildly popular guy who's life was more than worthy of their attention; sort of like the "most interesting man in the world" from the Dos Equis commercial. Sadly, like the Dos Equis guy who doesn't seem so interesting to me, the world wide web discovered that my life was/is not the most fascinating thing. They most likely discovered that my "wall" was filled with posts about the abundance of lettuce on my tacos or my average pace time on my last 6-mile run. On occasion I would make what I thought was a harmless political statement about the issue of the day which would only serve to show me, in black and white, that my "friends" can be quite hurtful with their responses. I once had an argument with an atheist that sent my blood pressure into orbit whenever he would make his remarks back to me. Just the other day I came across a stream of posts where a number of people said that if their pastor dropped an F-Bomb in the pulpit that it would be perfectly ok with them because it would show that the pastor is being "authentic". I had to take deep, slow breaths at my desk to keep from hyperventilating. I also discovered that even when people were reading my stuff they were not always paying attention; like this one time when I posted something like "having the worst day of my life" and a half dozen people clicked "like". Others were more pastoral in their responses by commenting things like "SSFY", OTRSW, and "HYFBL". One simply did this; :( ...I felt so much better.
So my 600 friends and I trudge through life on FB. I think this is perfectly ok as long as we adhere to the following rules. We have to remember that friendship is not defined (totally) by who appears, or does not appear, on our FB friend list. A FB message expressing sorrow over a friend who is grieving a loss in their life is good. An accompanying phone call or handwritten note is even better. It's also important to remember that if we choose to post something controversial, off color, or sensitive, then we shouldn't be angry or overly disappointed when people (some of whom we may be very close to) respond in ways that we may not like. If you say you like/dislike nationalized health care or you post your opinion about abortion then you will get a charged response that you may not necessarily like. If you choose to drop F-bombs on your wall with great regularity, or if you post pictures that are racy, off color, or in bad taste, then don't be angry if people "unfriend you" or hide your posts. They still want to be your friend and they probably aren't judging or condemning you, they just want to keep their own walls as clean as they possibly can, especially since employers are known to search FB walls when considering applicants for jobs and they will associate what they see on your wall, whether you put it there or not, as a reflection of who you are. Parents can believe the same. Fair or not, that's the world wide web. If you are somewhere between the age of 0-18, and you post pictures of yourself in a revealing string bikini while holding up a half empty bottle of tequila, surrounded by a half dozen boys twice your age; or if you are a guy holding a funny, illegal looking cigarette in one hand and a loaded .44 in the other, then please don't be surprised if someone like me slips the printed version of the pictures to your parents. They say it takes a village; FB only helped to make the village just a little bit bigger. Another thing. If you know someone out there who posts something about ending their life, about being bullied, or some other thing that makes it appear that they are in real, imminent danger or distress....get involved. And not like this, :(
I think it's important to remember these basic rules. The same applies to Twitter and whatever else might be out there. Please act interested if I post something about the salty popcorn I'm eating or my straight set win on the tennis courts. I will try to be more attentive to your stories about dirty diapers and the red light that you always have to wait for. I will try to show grace if you "like" the fact that a rock went through the windshield of my car. I'll assume you "liked" by accident. Just in case you missed the post last weekend, I finished my 5K last weekend by placing 53rd out of over 160 runners and I achieved a personal best time of 27:27. Please "like".
And if you see a picture of my son on FB holding up a half empty adult beverage, please let me know. He's only 4 years old. LOL.