Is Social Media Bringing Us Together?
The concept of Facebook is an inspiring one; a worldwide platform, allowing hundreds of millions of people to connect, across countries and across oceans. It’s also a great place to stalk your ex. Each Facebook member has a personal online space, where they are allowed to share photos, share ideas, talk about anything they want, and otherwise take part in a universally accessible platform. (Again, makes stalking ones ex even better, if you are that way inclined of course. I’m not, but I thought I’d just point out how great it is for this purpose). It’s the sort of thing that enlightened, utopian societies are built on, and certainly a sign that we are coming together as a global community. Or at least that’s what I would think, were I not a part of Facebook myself. Facebook, in my opinion, is frankly creating more space between people than ever before. There are a number of problems with Facebook, and social media in general, and I’m not even going to take into consideration the fact that Facebook is primarily a means to mine data from users. So I’m going to be talking strictly about the way Facebook is used, and how people land up having their perceptions of the world, and other humans, shaped by it.
The Loudest Are Heard
There is a quote that I’m very fond of, it goes like this; the problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence. Charles Bukowski said that, and I believe the man hit a nail pretty firmly on the head. I have a friend, that’s “friend” in Facebook terminology, who posts some or other conspiracy theory nonsense on an almost daily basis. He believes he is opening the eyes of the people around him, shining a light on truth, and helping people understand reality. He is, of course, doing the exact opposite, and here we have a primary problem of Facebook. Now before any believers in conspiracy theories throw up their hands in protest, I do not offhandedly dismiss all conspiracy theories without due consideration. And yes, I certainly do think there are some conspiracy theories out there that are compelling, and have truth to them. But what I am willing to say offhandedly this; I look for who is making money off belief systems first, and then draw my conclusions about the information after that. A universal truth I have learned is that where there is money, people will stoop to any depths to keep that money flowing. And making strangers believe in yetis must seem like a small transgression. The point is that Facebook is a great way to recruit gullible minds to the milking flock.
The Loudest Are Often Crass
I have had such bad experiences scrolling down to the comments sections of Facebook posts that I simply don’t do it any more. It is staggering the amount of hatred, anger and bitterness that can be encountered, to such an extent that it can give a person a very sour perception of the world. Imagine you are a member of an outcast, or otherwise shunned group in society, and you take to Facebook to try and find support and comfort. You may find support in some measure, but then you may also came face to face with so much negativity that it puts you off humanity forever. Yes, it helps to remember that the most crass members of society are the loudest, eager to spew their unrefined and ignorant opinions to all who dare listen. But this takes some effort in a place like Facebook, and is the curse of a platform that is open to everyone.
Good With The Bad
I also try and remember the stints I’ve had playing Facebook casino games like poker with strangers, and the friends I made. Thankfully, I came across more decent people in the poker rooms than not, and one French lady poker companion is still a friend to this day. She of course may not really be French, or even a lady, but she’s lovely and I’m glad Facebook brought us together. There are plenty of wonderful people on Facebook, but the plain truth is that those are the ones who are comfortable not having obnoxiously loud voices. The problem is that one often has to dig to find the wonderful people, while the less wonderful kind tend to float aggressively to the surface for all to see. And we all know that cliché about what substance floats, and how unpleasant it is to constantly be faced with. So is social media bringing the world closer together? I would have to say that I think it has the potential to, but currently is more of a boiling pot of chaos more than anything else. Over time, as people become more used to it as a communication platform I like to think that the floaters will gradually become more ignored and quietly shunned. And by the way, my ex is still a hottie.