Social media today is everywhere, and it’s rare in the developing world to find anyone who doesn’t know what Facebook is. Those who use it easily find themselves checking in more and more frequently, to see if someone “likes” their latest status update or to see what replies appear in an ongoing dispute over things that we can’t change anyway. It has its advantages, contact with friends and relatives who we might otherwise never speak to, and information shared about a diverse range of subjects. Yet there is also the drama and the unpleasant side, when people turn nasty or a random stranger feels the need to say inflammatory things just to ignite a tinder box of sensitive discussions.
It is easy to misinterpret the written word, to misunderstand the intentions of another. Often, I see the phrase “it’s only facebook” but there are real people on the other side of those boxes of text, and real feelings can be hurt just the same.
I have made many friends through Facebook and I do think of them as REAL friends, not just a random disembodied voice on the screen. These are people, with lives, beliefs, difficulties and achievements. Who feel sadness, elation, anger and pride just like me. It bothers me that some people dismiss others knowing they will likely never ever meet them, and feel it is Ok to be abusive or obnoxious because of that.
I won’t deny that the double edged sword has a firm hold on me, I’m here every day checking in and catching up on the lives and loves of those who are on my friends list. Of the groups and the members who share my interests, and the world in general when something tragic or amazing happens that is thrown out there to be shared for all to see.
I sometimes consider taking a break, disengaging from the chains of social interaction online. Just for a while. Rest my brain and remind it that there are also real people to talk to all around me. Then I click the icon and am laughing at the latest silly video and lamenting over a celebrity death. I’m hooked just as much as most users in today’s technological wonders, and I can’t see myself giving up any time soon.
So there’s my thoughts and the first thing I will probably do is share it on Facebook and then see what else been posted in the short time I’ve been away from it to write this.