Sunday, January 4, 2015

Facebook, Ties that Unbind Us

Facebook provides a false sense of connection, in my humble opinion. Facebook has allowed us to accept that we are indeed staying in touch with others, when really is a thumbs up an affirmation of your connection to that human being? The majority of Facebook users have come to believe they are keeping a pulse on what's happening with those in their social circle, whether it be family, friends, acquaintances, work mates, or your favorite person from Zumba class. I mean come on, you saw photos of me on vacation, at my child's school event, girls pedicures, date night, view from the top of a mountain, hitting the ski slopes, outside my favorite restaurant in NYC, or the Pinterest inspired craft I completed with my girls. Our connection must run deep, having all that select insight into my life. The majority have come to believe this is how we communicate now, but it's not. Not for me anyway.

Facebook is not connection, it's anti-connection.

Over the past few years we've accepted passive communication as a tool to keep in touch with the people that have come into your life. It's dull, for the most part it's one dimensional, it's lacking life. I don't need to present you with a Huffington Post article for you to recognize that the majority of what you are viewing is a highly edited version of what people want you to believe about them. You are viewing their life through a happy lens. Not to mention, you are only seeing a slim percentage of updates from your entire network, thanks to Facebook algorithms, which may be the most annoying part of my entire debate. Facebook is no longer real time, it's a version of real time, the version Facebook believes you should see. Thanks, but no thanks Facebook.

Which brings me to my love for observing people in public, it's part of my intuitive nature and part nosy ol' me, oh and is steeped in my Cultural Anthropology degree. Everyone has witnessed the Facebook obsessed public displays. Sitting at a dinner with 6 friends, but zoned in on your iPhone checking to see what's happening in your Facebook feed? The people at the table with you don't really matter, don't deserve your time and attention? But look Geri from high school who I haven't spoken with in twenty years is at the beach with her kids! Then there's the depressing family of four at Easter Brunch, both parents on Facebook, two small boys, sharing an iPad playing a game. Son asks Mom a question, after the third time she hears him, replies with in a minute. Gutted. I could go on and on and on. About a year ago, I started taking photos of people in groups engaged with their devices instead of the people around them, indeed I do I have a photo of that family from brunch. I haven't quite decided what to do with the photos, they are depressing.

Can we just stop and think if this what we want, what we are embracing, what we have turned into? Do we love watered down versions of people instead the fully dimensional whole beings that we interact with day in and day out. It's not what I want. I need people in my life to call me out on my shit because they know my shit, I let them in on it, and they know the lows as much as they know the finer moments. For me the only way to deepen our connection is to be wholly who we are, not an algorithmic version on top of a happy wonderful life filter. Lets get real together.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Denise! Amen and hallelujah. You raise some extremely salient points. Facebook is passive, diluted, and lacks depth. The whole idea that someone has 700 "friends" is a little too much. The whole arrangement is artificial, and while occasionally interesting, a very poor substitute for the real thing. In our feeble attempt to broaden our relationships, we've consequently made the landscape shallower. The Bee Gees got it right when they asked "How Deep is Your Love?" Friends are not collections, they're supposed to consist of a real, individual connection. And not one that's intertwined and lost in the shuffle with hundreds of other friends.

    And probably the most profound issue you brought up was that people on Facebook don't tend to show their real selves, but their window display selves. Look at me! Look at where I went! Look at what I did! I'm really happy, everybody! Maybe if I keep clicking my heels and saying it, it will really be true.

    You should start up a Facebookers Anonymous group. Where people actually delve into each other's lives and their struggles.

    ReplyDelete

I always appreciate the gesture to stop and take a moment to comment. Thank you!