I’m on the cusp. Teetering on the brink. Trying to remain objective with something I have very little control over. I find it increasingly difficult, though worth the effort. Still. Why does it bother me? How can I steer clear of the bombardment of negative Nellie’s? Facebook has changed my life-plain and simple. For this profoundly deaf loner, Facebook has opened up a world I would have never known. I embraced it hook, line and sinker. Or should I say stinker?
I started writing this in late December. (I’ve been procrastinating to post it because it’s uncomfortable & controversial-2 feelings I detest and avoid at all costs). I was simply contemplating a New Year’s resolution. I’m not too keen on resolutions, so I rarely make them because keeping them is impossible. While I was writing I wondered how long I’ve been on Facebook? Just as I was checking my exciting, informative newsfeed, Facebook sends me “Congratulations on 6 years” being part of Facebook. So this life changer occurred in 2013.
It’s not always easy bringing Neese into the scary world of new technology. Several years before 2013, Joshua and Ariana mentioned how much they thought I’d enjoy Facebook. They’d look at each other and say, “someone needs to start Mom/gram with a Facebook account.” But deep down both knew exactly how much work this would entail for the start up person. I’m high maintenance on anything techie. Just ask Josh. I still pelt him regularly with:
1. I don’t know how to do this.
2. What does this mean?
3. Where did that go?
4. I’m having issues with my blog. Now I can’t add pictures to my stories. Can you come over for a day to help figure this out? I’ll cook. Yeah, I’m still not above using bribery on my kids. (And no, I got no pride).
Fact of the matter, I’m kind of struggling with Facebook lately. I’m enormously grateful how it connects people. Namely connects them to me. There’s no way I’d be in contact with most of my friends without Facebook. Over half my friend’s list actually. That’s amazing. (Thanks friends). How this inept grandma managed to search out old acquaintances, relatives, classmates, former co-workers, neighbors, or they reached out to me with my limited technical capabilities. Reconnecting with them has brought me countless blessings for which I’m eternally grateful. I enjoy being a small part of their lives. Family get togethers, scads of pictures, grandkids, vacations, joys, goof ups, even issues that are not always joyous like an illness or surgery. It’s been a 2 way street with my friends. They seem mildly interested in what’s going on in my life.
The part of Facebook I’m struggling with is the (anti) social part. Since I’m not a charter member I wonder if some folks on Facebook have always placed their political agenda upfront & center? Angry comments on opposite political leaning memes. So many different groups, screaming to be heard (through the written word). I would not have made a good lawyer. Although I have strong opinions, I don’t like to argue. To what end? Am I really going to change anyone’s mind typing my opinions? Never. And I don’t want to lose friends because I view the world completely differently than they do. I might make a comment on something I agree with, but it’s very unusual for me to argue/vent/rant about something I feel is completely off the charts. I have on occasion but it’s rare. But it’s getting harder for me not to comment. And I find that troubling.
I don’t recall much negativity on Facebook until about a year before the 2016 election. Maybe there was but it wasn’t noticeable to me. Of course my friends list was well under 100, thus as the number of my friends increased, so did the big divide on anything political. (I’m an equal opportunity friend to both sides of the political spectrum. Yay me).
It seemed to me half of the country perceived President Obama on the same level as our Savior, while the other half of America viewed him as the devil incarnate. Political memes started showing up on my newsfeed. Liberal, conservative & off-the-wall-crazy. I absolutely couldn’t wait for the election to be over with so we could get back to normal SOCIAL media. Well slap me upside the head and call me naive. Facebook memes have gotten worse and much more frequent since the election, at least on my newsfeed. I was really counting on a 2 year reprieve before the large mass of politicians/Hollywood stars hit the road, vying for who’s gonna live in the White House after the election in 2020. I didn’t get my much needed 2 years. I didn’t get 2 months. Not even 2 days. No, I believe the day after the election was the worst day ever on Facebook.
Most of me hates every political meme, right or left. But part of me is so discouraged with spiteful posts, I’m inclined to jump into the fray. And that’s not a good thing. Angry comments are not conducive to my calm, happy demeanor. (Sarcasm added to lighten the mood) I don’t want to unfriend, unfollow or stoop to a lower level. On most days I can easily scroll past derogatory stories with nary a blip. I do mean MOST days. I refrain from reading negative comments (and making my own dumb ass comments) on memes I find questionable. I do this instead. There are 3 tiny dots on the upper right hand corner of each post in my newsfeed. (Are you shocked I know this? Me too). When you touch these dots you’re given these options:
2. Hide from my newsfeed
3. Snooze this person for 30 days
5. Give feedback on this post
6. Turn on or off notifications on this post.
See, we all have options. I use # 2 frequently, because some posts bother me. Bashing one side or the other, name calling, with no real solution. I just remove the post from my newsfeed. Easy peasy. (Although they’re not always easily forgotten). You gotta wonder, who thinks up this crap? And why does anyone find it necessary to repost it? Some seem so full of hate, it literally scares me.
I understand getting worked up when a disturbing meme rolls across your newsfeed. (Hmm, well that’s certainly a questionable statement. Nope, this one here might be downright batshit crazy). But I will never, ever understand giving up a friendship over a Facebook post. That’s just petty and shallow. I can’t possibly be the only person on Facebook with friends who believe (and post) the exact opposite of what I believe, right? Am I? Has anyone tossed away a friendship because you’ve been offended by a picture, quote or comment? Have you cut someone out of your life over controversial issues on Facebook? Not me. I’m even hesitant to unfollow friends. Most of their posts are great, thoughtful-about their family. We may feel completely opposite on key issues like the size of our government, abortion, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (ok, now I know for a fact you’ve gone off the reservation with that post, get back on your meds-stat. Just kidding) but you’re my friend and I want to remain friends. I’m choosing friendship over feuding about things we often cannot do anything about anyway. All it does is spread hate.
So I’m stuck (mostly happy) in the middle of 2 very different sides in America, and will continue to ignore (biting my lip, shaking my head, feeling sad and leaving my fingers idle) unpleasant posts. If there was an alternative Facebook where I could keep all my friends but every stinking, hollow, mean spirited, political meme, statement, argument and comment were prohibited, I would join in a heartbeat. Making my social media-well more sociable again. Not the world we live in today. Too bad, laments the naive Storyteller from a one-stoplight-town…