I have 131 friends on Facebook. Twenty-one are organizations or groups. Out of the remaining 111, fourteen are immediate family; sisters, sisters in law, brothers in law, daughter and my mom. That leaves 97.
Out of the 97 friends remaining about 10 post constantly, usually videos or updates on their day. The next twenty-five or so check in with a comment here and there and maybe post once a week. The rest, about 6o, I don’t see anything from. They may be reading posts or very rarely logging on to Facebook at all.
I have a family, a job, I teach two evening courses at a local college, I write, I play drums in a band, I regularly sit in as a drummer with other performers, I go to rehearsals, I go to my children’s soccer practices and games, and I maintain my blog. Most days I spend about five or ten minutes on Facebook and I post a link to my blog if I have added new writing.
There are a few people that I like to follow because of their positive posts, whether they incite ideas, educate me, ask relevant questions or inform me of the world in some way, I can depend on them to be open minded which (I don’t know about you) never hurts to be reminded of.
I have a friend who is living in Costa Rica with his family for six months and he posts a fair bit, but because he is somewhere foreign and he talks about unique aspects of the place I really enjoy his posts. His writing feels like an informative travel blog.
There are a few people that I have ‘unsubscribed’, this means I don’t see any of their posts but they are not insulted because they don’t know, and figure I am still their friend on Facebook. These are the people that seem to be inviting arguments. They post hard statements that they must know will offend some people (the ones that haven’t unsubscribed them). I have watched the comments play out on these posts and 98% of the time their friends are polite in their disagreement yet they (the posters) are harsh in response.
I used to try commenting with something in between the ‘black and white’ area of thinking. I received many ‘likes’ from their friends yet only a callous (and interestingly, an immediate) response from them. I have also posted comments thinking I was funny and been accused of sarcasm, which honestly enough when I read my comment again I could see how that could be deciphered. Text and real-life encounters are very different venues.
Be considerate. Being ‘frank’ ‘telling it like it is’ can be hurtful, and to what end? Being ‘un-friended’ and knowing inside yourself why, yet deciding to not reflect and continue to bulldoze until you’ve clear-cut yourself to being a washed out hill-side?
I get a sad feeling in my stomach when I read things that are intentionally mean on Facebook. It makes me think of those times when something in my life has gone wrong, a death, money trouble, one of those things that occupied my thoughts to the point of causing me to react in anger toward anyone that crossed my path, road rage-ish reactions.
I would often end up sending my pent-up emotions in the wrong direction. Like when someone cuts you off in the car, most likely by accident, and you honk, scream, and follow them too closely. Yet, if that same person accidentally bumped into you in the mall, would you yell at them? Follow them? I doubt it.
Alone in your home, keyboard at your fingers, not in the direct physical presence of your ‘friends’ some road rage could take over if aspects of your life aren’t going well. You can provoke anger and not have to actually ‘face’ the readers.
If I am feeling negative I know I have to do something about it; maybe play soccer with the kids, get on the trampoline with the kids, talk to my kids, sit down with a cup of coffee and talk to my wife, write, play music, meet a friend…think about someone besides myself.
I know that by getting away from the small screen where communication is not physical and to the big screen, the real screen, where you can watch a face react, shake a hand, rest a hand on a person’s shoulder to say hello, I will be more apt to be kind in my approach to opinion.
I have a blog. I am on-line and Facebook is one place that I will post a new article link. Feedback and traffic to my blog often originate from Facebook.
I do not think Facebook is a bad thing. It has made me think hard about a lot of things, mostly human behaviour, and my own take on human interaction. And just plain being nice.
Guest Author Bio
Jeffrey Griffiths lives in Hamilton Ontario with his wife and two amazing children.
Jeffrey’s short fiction has appeared in The Nashwaak Review, Qwerty, Front and Centre, Hammered Out, The Danforth Review and The Puritan. He received the Arts Hamilton short fiction award in 2007 and 2008. He instructs Creative Writing 1 & 2 and Dynamics of Prose for Mohawk College’s Writing for Publication program.
Blog / Website: http://thediligentobserver.blogspot.ca/
Did you enjoy this article?
Please let the author know by leaving them a comment below!
And, subscribe to our free weekly digest!
Simply add your email below. A confirmation email will be sent to you.