Ever hear the phrase that offers advice such as, don’t put something on the internet that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see? Well, think of that the next time you log onto Facebook or Twitter. The two major social media institutions, which I regrettably use to shamelessly self-promote my blog, have completely turned our worlds upside down (or right-side up if you are a computer-obsessed recluse), because no, we can no longer do anything without hundreds of people reading about it. Yes, the option is there to just “Say No” and get off such websites, but after four or five years now, we, as a society have become addicted. I will be completely honest with you: I need Facebook to help promote this blog, as does everyone else I know that writes on a regular basis. While it does not account for the majority of my hits, it definitely gets the juices flowing when I post a link minutes after publishing something.
To say these two sites have gotten out of hand would be an understatement. I remember reading something a year or two ago about a teenage girl who was electrocuted and killed because she brought her laptop into the bathtub to Tweet that she was taking a bath. Hello?! Anyone there? Not to mock the death of someone, but really? To think you are that important that people would want to read about your escapades in the bathroom. That is what Facebook and Twitter have become: a place for idiots to turn themselves into “superstars”, in their own mind anyway. People may think that is hypocritical of me, but so be it—at least I make an effort to keep my statuses intelligent and relevant to something actually important in my life.
The reason why I am writing this is because I would like to respond to a blog post made by a friend of mine, Brett Bodner, for his blog. Where did I find out about it? Take a wild guess…Facebook! We have been friends forever, and generally have the same cynical and sadistic views when it comes to the human race’s downgrading of intelligence. An excerpt from his condemnation of social media reads as follows:
“Hand over your data, your life, your… soul. And enjoy eternal life in the social media universe,” said a recent Chicago Tribune article in regards to Facebook. However I say take back your life and get off Facebook.
Facebook forever changed the scene of social media when it broke out onto the scene in 2004. It gave people the opportunity to make their own profiles and to add people as “friends” so you can then see their profile. Twitter also came about five years ago and is very similar to Facebook’s statuses.
Facebook leaves nothing to the imagination anymore. You can discover so much personal information about a person just from going on their profile. People disclose almost anything over Facebook and Twitter. Phone numbers, addresses, relationship status, job status, it is all out there for the world to see.
To make things worse, people post statuses as if what they’re doing is the most important thing in the world at the moment. For example, one tweet I just read on twitter read “Spending a night in reading. Perfect end to a long and satisfying day. #winning.”
I think everyone can relate to the “friends” issue. I currently have 591 cyber acquaintances, but how many of these people have I ever really met in life or talk to on a regular basis? I once went through a purge about a year ago, when I removed nearly 100 people. However, due to my recent Civil War coverage and annual hockey-writing, the number went up. Every time the little angel on my shoulder tells me to delete people, the little devil responds, “Potential readers!” and I leave them alone. I will admit, though, that my behavior and remarks have severely changed in recent years. I went from cursing and posting my uncensored opinion on everything to thinking carefully what I am posting about. I do this because I not only have an employer and several parents of the hockey players I coach, but because I have some of those kids as well. I want to set an example that Facebook is not a place for mindless idiocy. Take for instance the various historians I have on there, who post This-Day-In-History statuses, something I try to emulate. God forbid people actually learn something.
So I will end with this: do not necessarily leave Facebook, just use it wisely. This can be a great chance for the spreading of information and ideas. Cut out the bragging and telling people what you had for lunch today and post something that takes thought. These sites are not going to go away, so why not put them to good use? Prove us wrong that the world is not going to hell in a #handbasket.