Friday, August 9, 2013

The Social Blight That Is Facebook

by Pa Rock

I thought that I was done with Facebook, truly hoped that I would never have to mention it again.  But Facebook, it would seem, is like a virus which, once it gets into your system, never completely goes away.

This morning I received an angry email - no, a livid email - from a very good friend of long ago and far away.  She was spewing with rage because she had tried to contact me on Facebook and discovered that she had been blocked.   Well, she curtly noted, it might also be because I had quit Facebook, but who quits Facebook?  Obviously I had done her a great personal injustice, something akin to stealing Christmas gifts that she had made by hand for blind orphans.

Well, I had indeed quit Facebook a few weeks ago - primarily to get away from the drama, and hurt, and anger, and confusion, and stupidity, and danger, and . . . did I mention drama? . . . that is Facebook.  People who spend all day checking the status of people they haven't seen in years and who become nearly suicidal when someone un-friends them need to be locked in a big room with herds of others like themselves who have given up on real life.

My former job as a mental health therapist showed me just how powerful Facebook is and how thoroughly it has woven its way into the fabric of society.  Most, and by most I mean damned nearly all, of the people I counseled had a Facebook issue that was negatively impacting their lives.  The social network has become a playground for bullies, stalkers, pedophiles, and a thousand other varieties of miscreants who are more comfortable operating from the shadows than they would be revealing themselves in the cold light of day.

So I regret that my friend was offended, but I do not regret quitting Facebook.  If I want to show you pictures of my neighbor's cat, or my neighbor, or my grandchildren, I will send them to you directly as an attachment to an email - or in a real letter.  I will not toss them into the Great American Sewer for all to ogle.  And if that pisses you off, so be it.


Anonymous said...

Pa Rock, You have got to be one of the wisest men I know.

Xobekim said...

Facebook can be a useful tool to share information. I have friends from Oz, persons with whom I share similar religious & political values, and a few artists I really appreciate in my friends list. I would be surprised if any of them were just sitting around checking up on me.

If a person doesn't find Facebook useful for communicating with their friends, sharing information with a group or groups of persons with whom they have common interests, or if they are being harangued by trolls, and generally find Facebook to be a pain in the keister, then they should follow your lead.

Personally, I have real friends on Facebook who seldom to ever get on Facebook and I have Facebook Friends whose posting enlighten and amuse me nearly every day.

Sorry you distant friend took umbrage at your decision.

Anonymous said...

OK, I admire your judgment in most instances. But Facebook issues? People who have Facebook issues are going to have issues, period. There are ways to make Facebook unavailable to trolls, etc. And you can keep your input private to only friends.
I love it. I have family and friends there whom I keep in touch with that way. And it is like a community bulletin board, also, so that with this week's flooding, we kept in touch with each other about road closings, etc.
Pedophiles? Oh, come on. I don't think any of my 375 or so friends are perverts. Well, wait a minute. Maybe. But they aren't bothering me with it.

Don said...

My own brief encounter with Facebook lasted about two weeks.
At first, I was delighted to hear from old friends I hadn't heard from in 30 years.
But it wasn't long before I realized there was a reason I hadn't heard from them in 30 years --- we no longer shared the same things in common.
As for family, if you need Facebook to keep in touch, share baby pix or in any other way use an electronic medium to substitute for personal attention, then your family ties aren't as strong as you think.
If, on the other hand, Facebook helps you keep in touch with people on the far side of nowhere, then jump in.
And oh, by the way, even when you quit Facebook, they retain your information. You can re-sign, and are encouraged to do so, with the touch of a button several years later!