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Friday, April 10, 2015

Facebook... To Connect or Disconnect. That is the question.

I can remember hearing about Facebook for the first time.
My husband and I had been new volunteers through our area chapter of Young Life.

Our volunteer position was to pick up a high school girl and bring her to and from Young Life group meetings. We loved hearing her stories about school, and friends, and her college preparations.  It was in this discussion that she mentioned Facebook to me as a site that helped college kids meet others, etc.  I thought - wow, pretty cool and I never thought of it again.

I never thought of it again UNTIL my young son became a teenager.

When he first started out it was MySpace. Like any over protective mom of a teenaged boy who likes to step on the line, I also got an account. He accepted me on his friend's list and I kept an eye on him. All of the sudden, the page got really slow. He was "hiding" on me, but WHERE the HECK was he hiding...FACEBOOK!!

So I joined Facebook and he became my friend on Facebook as well. His friends also became my friend on Facebook, ya know - since I was the cool mom (insert eye roll here.). It was still handy in keeping the kids out of trouble and communicating as I or they needed to. I didn't bother much with it until I learned that people I hadn't seen in years might also be on Facebook too!! I'd dabbled in and I tripped over myself on MySpace. I was totally weirded out with Facebook until I learned that there were long lost people EVERWHERE in there! I thought, wow, this could REALLY help me to connect with people I'd love to be in touch with again. Friends that live far away. Family I hadn't seen in years. I was hooked!! I LOVED IT!! It all seemed so WONDERFUL!!
Until it wasn't.

I'd recently heard and read via other media sources that Facebook has been thought to cause depression because some people couldn't handle seeing other having better lives than them. Again, can I get an eye roll here....Sheesh.

On that level, I think it's totally ridiculous.
Who the hell cares what other people are doing? If you are so unhappy with your life that you can't stand to see others having a good life - you need to do something about that and maybe get the heck OFF Facebook.

On another level...I can totally see it.

Have you noticed how absolutely MEAN Facebook is making people?

It's as if people actually believe that they are entitled to "say" mean things to people just because they're typing the words and not actually speaking the words.

The Facebook society seems to have created this "it's all about me" mentality.

I sort of get it...Facebook IS a solo sport. I mean, really - it's you and the computer. If the computer screen isn't talking to you, than who the heck is it talking to??  And DAMN that person who posted that comment. HOW DARE THEY?

I get it, but I don't.

I recently put up a random post on my page. I didn't think it was a big deal.  It was an opinion thing, run of the mill, nothing controversial. This post incited so much anger in one person, based on another person's opinion. This other person completely internalized the comment and flat out attacked this other total stranger.

This isn't just my issue. I see more than a fair share of page administrators stating how they have to ban and block people constantly due to mean or even threatening comments based on a silly post.
Yes, of COURSE we want feedback and reactions! Do we want people attacking other people or us? NO.  For the love of all that's holy, IT'S FACEBOOK! Get a hold of yourselves!

I wonder, if this were a face to face conversation or a conversation overheard from one table to another in a diner - would this person EVER have the nerve to react in such anger toward another?

The meanness on here is relentless.

I had once been accused of being a keyboard coward, which I took with a grain of salt due to its source. Truth be told - if I have something to say, I don't hide behind my keyboard. I say what I have to say to the person.
May it come out in my blog as well?  Who knows...If the situation could help someone else - yes.  I don't feel guilty because I've already addressed it. I try to NOT do that, but if I do and you think it's you...ASK. It's probably not.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic.

The point is - that if you heard LIVE AND IN PERSON one stranger saying something to another stranger that offended you or that you didn't agree with, would you ever have the nerve to flat out blast them? Most people would not. I would not.

I don't know what gives the people the idea that it's totally OK to say the meanest things possible to someone else based on what they do and do not agree with, just because it's being typed instead of spoken.

I'm not claiming innocence. I've had my share of things that I've typed in words. In my defense, I do actually have conversations and speak the words if I'm upset or angry about something. Have I been guilty of a "poison pen" email?  Um, yes I have. In some cases I've been absolutely remorseful about what I'd said, and apologized. Other times I'm so thankful that I finally had a chance to say what I had to say without interruption and be done with it.

Does that make me better? No. As I said, I don't claim innocence.

What I am saying is that I can totally understand why Facebook is making people feel bad.

Someone will post something totally innocuous (and this is NOT just my experience, though this has been my experience in the past) and five people will decide the comment is about them and either flat out attack them on their page, attack them on their own page or attack them in real life by spouting off to others what they took the remark or shared post to mean.

I have been called negative. I have been called hypocritical. I have been called things I won't even say on here - when the fact is that sometimes I just see a post that I like for one reason or another and I share it. If it is an emotion I'm feeling at the moment - whatever. That doesn't mean it's open season on Jenn, or that I'm inciting some sort of secret battle with another. Sometimes it just is what it is - a random post.

Will I post something that can be construed as mean, or something I think is funny that others won't - yes. I probably will. Not everyone going to love everything I share or post, or even know my state of mind at the time of the post, and that's OK.

I am putting this onto myself at the moment because I can relate - but also because it's a topic that I've seen people discuss over and over and over again - shutting down their Facebook accounts because it's just so mean and petty some times.

I totally get it!

I often think, "Is it even worth it to have a Facebook account?"

Then I realize that I can't control what other people think or feel. If I don't want to see the negativity other people post, well - I can control that.

I stay because I blog. I stay because I believe that some of the things that I have to share might actually help someone else going through the same stuff, and if the crap I've been through can help someone else - great. I also like to see the lives of my friends and family that live far away. I stay for some of the reasons I had when I first learned about Facebook. To connect with the people I love and care about.

I'm not going to let the negativity of someone else take that away from me.

...instead I choose to disconnect from the drama that others seem to thrive on.  I choose to disconnect from the people or things that will hurt me or people I care about. I choose to disconnect from the meanness that I don't want in my life.  I don't see it, so it doesn't exist.

You can disconnect from all of that as well.

I wish you peace.

Thank you for reading my blog!


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