Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Evil" may not be the right word for it...

I don’t think Facebook is “evil”.  It’s almost certainly an unholy abomination that will suck the life and social skills right out of any poor soul that is hapless enough to be sucked into its gaping maw…  but I’m not so certain that it’s evil.  It simply is what it is.


For some inexplicable reason a long, long time ago I started a facebook account.  Don’t know why, don’t remember when, don’t even remember doing it.  It was basically a place holder account with absolutely nothing loaded into it except, I suppose, my name.  My guess is that I was looking for something or someone.


Then a few months ago a got a message from the facebook machine.  That’s when I was reminded that I have this stupid account.  I had to be reminded of my password to see what this message was.  Someone had found me, recognized my name, and invited me to accept a friend invitation.


I considered it for a day or so and decided there wasn’t any harm in accepting it—I recognized the name, after all.


Since then a handful of others have trickled in mostly from old high school and college friends and relatives.  Some names I haven’t seen in ages, some I see every Monday and Wednesday.


But I still haven’t updated a single bit of data, nor do I intend to do so.  You see, I simply refuse to participate in the cyber-voyeurism that is facebook.  My phone works (though my cell is not with me as often as it used to be), my doorbell works, and (now that we have carpet) my house is (65%) inviting for visitors (35% of the floor is still in shipment). 


I don’t think that facebook actually helps people stay connected.  I think it helps people stay disconnected and remain sideline observers.  Sure, you can have 200 people watching your every move and discovering that, at this very moment, you’re packing for your trip to where ever you’re going.  But do those 200 people care?  Do any of those 200 people really KNOW you?  Will any one of them actually come and feed your dozens of cats or get your mail or newspaper? 


Or are they just observing you?  Watching you like you’re a pet fish?  Awareness does not breed familiarity.  I can look up a name in the phonebook and know of a person in town, but I won’t know that person.  I can claim to know the President because I can follow his every move and read about his likes and dislikes and follow his daily schedule…  but that doesn’t mean I KNOW the President.  It just means I know about the President.


The same goes for personal relationships (and other, more profound relationships, but that’s another subject entirely).  You can know about people by reading about them, but you can’t really KNOW them unless you invest some time and energy to get to know them.  It’s like that troll SPARTIKUS who lurks under the bridge here…  he thinks he knows what I think by reading what I post here, but he doesn’t know shit.  He’ll dig for “gotcha” points and try and find contradictions, of which I’m sure there are legions, but that doesn’t amount to anything.  I can look at facebook pages and see that someone is going to have a baby, or was at a party, or has just had a boob job (and they look great!), but that doesn’t mean I know any more about them than merely superficial garbage.


I am not a collection of facts.


I am not a collection of photos.


I am not my facebook page.


The problem is, though, it’s impossible to write in the stupid “what are you doing now” box “Brother Joe is not participating in facebook”, without participating in facebook.  Kind of a catch-22 there.


Blogger K said...

I have an idea... I'll say that I'm sad because you aren't on FB!! LOL

Truthfully, I've only recently gotten into FB and while it is kind of neat to stay connected to some of the teens I work with at the church, it doesn't serve much beyond that. Well, I lie a bit. It is nice to see pictures of some of the races I wasn't able to get to.

All of this to say, I am seriously considering suspending my account for the very reasons you point out.

Thanks for the points to ponder...

7:03 PM  
Blogger K said...

Just an update... I suspended my FB account at about 10 pm last night...

11:44 PM  
Blogger Brother Joe said...

Like I said... I don't think it's "evil", per se. But it can be a life trap, sucking time away at an amazing rate.

Nonetheless, I received 7 friend requests this week. I'm just stunned.

8:12 AM  
Blogger said...

I think I can say I understand your points, Joe. I just discovered it a couple of months ago from Edwin. (That says it all right there!)

I was curious and jumped in.

To me, it's fun. The people that I have added and communicate with there are people that I regularly see and communicate with anyways.

And it is also like a blog.

Both of these facilitate my opportunities to meet and get to know other people - many of whom have turned out to be good friends.

And in other cases it aids my ability to promote the things that I'm involved with.

Do I really KNOW you? Probably not as much as you are positioning in your blog post. I don't know how your wife and child are doing - and yes, I should take more time to learn that. But, at a minimum, there's a kindred spirit, in a sense, because we've had the opportunity to meet, communicate, share a laugh or two of three in person.

I think a blog or Facebook even can trigger the chance to "look underneath the hood" or "kick the tires" a little bit more than what we would have before. If we decide to and find things to our liking, all the better.

If not, so be it.

Good stuff, nonetheless. :)

And if I get too busy, Joe, Merry Christmas to you and your family.

5:28 PM  

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