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Archive for February, 2019

Dear Facebook, You Suck

(And all the rest of you people who have been life-long friends, what happened to us?)

 

~

 

“I’m unfriending you.”

 

“What?! Why?”

“You know why.”

“No, actually, I don’t.”

“Ok. It’s because what you said on Facebook yesterday.”

“Oh, come on.”

“I’m serious.”

“Oh my God. Come on now.”

“No, I’m serious.”

“Come on. We’ve been friends since, like, 1973. Maybe 72.”

“Yea, I know, but I’ve had it.”

“Over what I posted on Facebook…”

“Yes.  I used to respect you; think you were an even-keeled, judicious guy, but apparently you’re not.”

“Come on. Wow, that’s really hard.”

“Well, I’m sorry, but yea, it is.”

“Well, geez, I’ve got my opinions, but so do you. So does everybody. I haven’t threatened to ‘unfriend’ you or anybody else, though. This is pretty drastic, don’t you think?”

“Well, your point-of-view has become pretty drastic. It’s just unacceptable to me and I can’t take it anymore.”

“Oh my God, I can’t believe you just said that. What if I had said that? I’ve never said that to you! I almost never post anything like what I wrote yesterday, and it wasn’t even very much; no expression of opinion; just a statement, and I didn’t call out anyone personally; it was just a statement of observation.”

“Well, for me it was enough.”

“Why am I suddenly in the defensive spot, like my only option is to agree, comply or go away – silence? I’m not the only guy who has an opinion, and I almost never put it in writing! This is not worth the cost of a friendship – all over a Facebook post – really? Facebook?”

“That’s what makes this suck so bad. It hurts, actually. It really hurts me to do this.”

“Over Facebook?!”

“It’s not just Facebook. It’s all the disagreements we’ve had over the years. It’s just too much.”

“We haven’t seen each other in, what? Seventeen years.”

“I know, that’s what makes it suck even worse.”

“Well, this is crazy. It’s not necessary at all. We haven’t had any disagreements face-to-face, ever. Only indirectly through Facebook. It’s a pretty personal-impersonal way to can someone. Frankly, I think it’s kind of crazy.”

“And now you’re calling me crazy. Well, I’m sorry you feel that way.”

“NO! I’m not calling you crazy! I don’t feel that way – that’s not a feeling, to say something is crazy or unnecessary. That’s what I think. I’ll tell you how I feel. I feel sick. I feel a little lost.”

“That’s the way I feel.”

“Well, you don’t have to unfriend me. What does that even mean?!”

“It means I am really hurt over your opinion, about what you believe.”

“Oh…. Ok.”

“I mean it. You need to respect my feelings, what I believe.”

“Yes, I know – I do. I do respect your feelings. I am sincere. I am. I’m sorry.”

“Well, Ok. But what are you sorry about?”

“I’m sorry about this whole thing. I’m sorry about getting sucked into Facebook’s trap. I’m sorry about your being hurt over my opinion.”

“You mean you’re not sorry about the opinion you have? You don’t think you’re wrong, or at least should reconsider? I mean, I think your opinion is really unacceptable.”

“Well, frankly, no. I’ve actually spent a lot of time thinking about this stuff. Actually, I’ve spent years paying attention to this and have developed my opinion over a lot of years.”

“Me too.”

“Alright, so what about my opinion? I mean, I respect your opinions; I’m not telling you that you can’t have your opinions. I didn’t criticize you. So what about mine?”

“Well, frankly, your opinion on this is, well, intolerant and hateful.”

“Oh my God! That’s really hard, and by the way, I don’t think so; it was not my not my intent, not even my language.”

“Well, I have to tell you, you sure come off that way to me.”

“Hateful and intolerant? Really?” “…I do, or I did?”

“Well, I guess you did…”

“But I didn’t even state my opinion; I just made a statement about what I observed!”

“It was enough. I could hear your opinion in my head the moment I read your observation. I know what you meant. I know what you really think.”

“Is that even fair, to go that far into my brain?”

“Well, I can just tell what your views are, generally, by… you, know… the tone of your responses to certain subject matter. You don’t have to say it directly.”

“Actually, I doubt it, but Ok. So? What about freedom of thought? Expression? That’s pretty judgmental, isn’t it?”

“Some things need to be judged on their merits.”

“Come on. Ultimately, what you’re talking about is that my opinion is unacceptable and yours isn’t?”

“No, well, no, that’s not exactly what I mean. You’re taking it too far.”

“So what about individual freedom to speak our minds?”

“Well…. but you can’t just hurt people in the process. Maybe sometimes these things become like the bull in the China shop.”

Ok, well, I actually agree with you, at least in part. OMG. I’m hearing my Dad’s voice, ‘it’s not what you said, it’s how you said it…’”

“Yea, and then there’s that…”

“Agreed.”

“OMG, I need a nap. All my energy is sapped. I think I’m dying.”

~

“How did we ever get along?”

 

“We were dumb kids. We didn’t know anything, and we didn’t care. We didn’t need to care. I’m pretty sure it was better that way.”

“Yea.”

“So what happened?”

“You know what happened. We grew up. Went to college. Went out into the real world. The scales fell from our eyes. We looked up and realized we were naked. We’ve spent the past umpteen years building our silos. And they turned on Facebook.”

“This sucks.”

“Yea.”

“So, are you going to break up with ….. I mean, unfriend me?”

“Yea. OMG. Facebook sucks.”

“Yea-what? ‘Yea, it sucks’, or ‘yea…’, you’re ‘breaking up’ with me? SHIT! I mean, ‘unfriending’ me?”

“Stop it with the breaking up-unfriending, I don’t want to keep talking about that.”

“I don’t either, but that’s how this whole conversation began.”

“I know, but just stop. Chill.”

FB sucks

“Ok.”

 

“I’m gonna write ’em a letter.”

“Who?”

“Facebook.”

“What? You can’t do that. You can’t send Facebook a letter. Nobody writes letters anymore. How you gonna send Facebook a letter? Nobody does that. You know you’re the last documented person to have said that or thought of doing that? They wouldn’t even know what to do with it. That’s the whole point. You just POST IT on Facebook. There’s no writing letters anymore.”

“I know. You know what I mean.”

“Yes, I do.”

“They’re gonna think you’re from another century.”

“I’m from the previous century.”

“Yea, me too.”

“You know what? Think about what Facebook has done; I mean, made possible…”

“Yea, I’m thinking about it.”

“You know what? The thing is, this would never have happened if it weren’t for Facebook. We live a thousand miles apart from each other; without Facebook we would have never had the opportunity to claw each other’s eyeballs out.”

“Well, I’m glad we finally got to see each other. In the flesh. In the eyeball.”

“The only way to do any of this would have been to join a political action group and go to a meeting in a church basement and then only people you agree with would be there anyway. Next best thing would be that both sides would show up at a city or county council or school board meeting and then have it out. But even then, it probably wouldn’t be between old friends, individually; it would be between groups, people who don’t even know each other, and hardly anybody shows up for those anyway.”

“And those are the people who actually get everything done.”

“Yea, while the rest of us just sit around home all day and smoke dope and watch Jerry Springer.”

“Exactly.”

“And everybody who stays home pontificates about how all those people who go to those meetings are a little crazy anyway, and we all keep our distance. Even if we saw one of THOSE PEOPLE in the grocery store, instead we’d just whisper under our breath, ‘There’s that crazy person from the meeting the other night.’ And you know they’re saying the same thing about you. That’s how we keep the peace. Except then came Facebook.”

“And you know what else? Facebook is on the decline. They say the typical users are getting older, in their 40’s and older. My mom uses it like a fiend with all her friends. They’re all ancient. So the younger you are, the more you use Snapchat and Instagram; the older you are, the more you use Facebook. And just wait, all of them are having their day, their fifteen minutes of fame, but then poof! Gone! I mean, nothing lasts forever. But it’ll be something else, right? It’s always been that way. Then what?”

“So what’s your point?”

“It’s obvious. All this is some kind of temporary anyway. It’s fleeting.”

“Yes, and…?”

“What happens when Facebook goes away? It might, you know… What happens when we all just get tired of Facebook or at least all the craziness that goes on there, and by the way, what happens when we quit using it because we’re so old we’re about to die? Bet you’re not thinking about Facebook too much right about then…”

“True Dat.”

“Facebook. Old people. Twitter. Old People.”

“Am I an Old Person?”

“Do you even do Snapchat or Instagram?”

“No.”

“Twitter?”

“Not really.”

“Are we old people?”

“Maybe.”

“How long we gonna do Facebook?”

“I dunno.”

“It comes and goes with me; my use, I mean, my interest. Now I feel kinda sick about the whole thing.”

“Me too.”

“The only reason, really, this has happened to us, is only because we get on Facebook. It wouldn’t have happened if Facebook wasn’t around. And if Facebook is on the decline, that means maybe we’ll stop using it after a while. I dunno.”

“But you just explained how it’s going to follow us into our old age, so this won’t stop.”

“Ok, but how about wisdom? As we get older, maybe we’re supposed to wise up, relax, see things differently, cut the crap, lose a lot of our passion and vigor, temper ourselves and treat each other better.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Why? ‘I don’t think so-what’? What do you mean?”

“Well, people believe what they believe, and that doesn’t change.”

“Yea, but we change. And we don’t have to blast every opinion and criticism out to the world every time we have a thought. I just think maybe as we get older, maybe we’ll behave better.”

“I hope so.”

“So how about Biblical Wisdom; you know, Proverbs and all that?”

“Yea, well, it’s all in there, I’m sure. Waiting, ripe for the picking, I suppose.”

“Yea, that’s the catch, I ‘spose. Ripe for the picking.”

“Yea.”

“Shit. I don’t like any of this.”

“You know the Facebook thumb?”

“Yea….?”

“Can I give ’em a thumb’s down?”

“Of course, if you want.”

“I think Facebook is a weird artificial place, a trap, where people can go to eat each other alive and tear everything apart, even from the comfort of your own home. It’s really a pretty ugly business, this Facebook Phenom.”

“Well, True Dat.”

“It’s as if, if we didn’t have Facebook, and I was a crazy person, I would go out on the street and just yell crazy offensive stuff at my family and friends and anybody on the street. You remember that guy when we were in college? That guy that came to campus, and climbed up on that concrete platform; it was a heat vent, I think, and stood up there and barked–yelled all the Bible stuff at everyone? You remember–he was a preacher in town, some church, probably poorly-attended, on the fringes, and figured the few hours surrounding lunchtime on campus was the time to get the most attention possible, and I guess he had a legal right and all, and nobody could ever stop him, so he yelled at everybody.”

“I remember he would even call out girls who walked by with clothes he thought were too much or too little, I suppose, or couples who were holding hands and talking in hushed tones, too close together for his religion. He yelled at everybody just in case they had been drinking the night before. They probably were, too. Preached hell and damnation and fire and death and that Jesus was the only way, which we all knew already, before he showed up…”

“Why are you telling me this story? I remember him, everybody does. Is he even still alive?”

“I doubt it.”

“I’m telling you because he didn’t have Facebook. I think Facebook is today’s version of all that yelling and fighting.”

“Geez, all the drama.”

“I know, right?!”

“But think: nobody really did that. He was an isolated case, a total rarity; an odd-ball and plenty of people wrote him off as a nutcase, me included. And I happened to believe the Bible. ”

“Kinda like where I lived in Illinois, there was a guy named Granville, I think, except everybody called him Ally-Oop, because he was crazy. He wore dresses, the kind you would see in a Little Bo Peep story, big frilly stuff everywhere. And bowling shoes. And he mumbled; nobody was sure if he could actually talk or form a real sentence. He had long, stringy hair, like Geddy Lee; you know, the lead singer of Rush. Come to think of it, that could have actually been Geddy Lee – twins. I’m tellin’ ya.  Twins. He did yard work and odd jobs around town for people, and as far as I knew he was totally harmless, just crazy – a nutcase. A true mumbler. But he didn’t go around yelling and attacking people. Big difference. He was a helper. I think most everybody liked him. I know I did.”

~

“When most of us get together, we don’t act like that, I mean like the preacher; we don’t treat each other like that. We just talk and are mostly polite. We’re friends after all, right?”

“Mostly.”

“What? Mostly polite or mostly friends?”

“Yes, friends; mostly polite.”

“Yea.”

“And we hang out with people we agree with. Mostly.”

“Mostly.”

“Meaning we don’t really spend time with people we disagree with.”

“Right. Not much anyway.”

“Kinda like the extended family.”

“Exactly.”

“Yea. We get together for big events, holidays, and dinner once in a while, maybe knock each other’s brains out arguing about who-knows-what; you end up feeling sick and miserable, then everybody says, ‘goodnight’ and goes home.”

“At least you get to go home afterwards.”

“Yea.”

“But we don’t really do that, do we? We just visit; catch up, talk, hang out and for the most part, and everybody’s polite. We focus on our relationships. Each other. Anything else, you just keep it to yourself; maybe the two of you rage to each other about everybody else on the way home: ‘OMG, they’re insane!’ But you keep it to yourself for the sake of the bigger picture.”

“For the most part.”

“Yea, for the most part.”

“Yea, and by the way, is it really Facebook’s fault, or ours? I mean, nobody’s twisting my arm to do all that. I don’t think it’s quite Facebook’s fault.”

“Well, it’s more complicated than that.”

“Definitely.”

“Seems to me the challenge is this: what do we do when we disagree with someone? How do we resolve conflict when it comes? I mean, the bigger the disagreement, the harder it is. And it’s really only seriously hard when it’s with people you know–care about. That’s just really hard.”

“Seems to me we just have to strive, more than anything, to live at peace with people. Even in the midst of hard problems, we just gotta focus on living at peace with each other.”

“I know. Exactly.”

“Yea, but do you really think it can be done?”

“I dunno. I hope so.”

“Me too.”

“What were we talking about?”

“Somebody was going to unfriend or break-up with somebody.”

“OMG. That’s too much drama.”

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