Thursday, October 24, 2013

Facebook Politics ("The Facebook Thing" Part 3)

"Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I.
Insects don't have politics. They're very brutal. No compassion, no compromise."
 - Brundlefly "The Fly" (1986)
Facebook is a happy place.  I'm not sure if I have covered that.  If I haven't, then yes, it is a happy place.  We post things about our vacations, the foods we eat and the friends we 'hang with' along the way.   I don't know if people still do it - since I've ceased to receive Christmas cards - but there used to be this thing that circulated where family members wrote letters updating others on their activities throughout the year. It was greeted with the same anticipation as a dose of The Clap.  And the vacation slide shows. Those were great invitations to receive, too.  "Hey, come over and look at photos of all the places you didn't go."
Combine those two things, and you have The Facebook Experience.
That's the "happy place."  That's the place where people say, "Hey, here I am - and there you are - at home, reading about it."  The social cliques that form are interested.  The rest are either bored or click "LIKE" so that they won't have to comment.
Anything that violates the happy place space is viewed in a different light.  There are Facebook cliques.  Internet gatherings of actual friends who grouped together on Facebook.  Clubs, organizations or other such social groups who find a common thread.  That's where the politics comes in.  Not politics as in government and such, but politics as in viewpoints.  Without compassion or compromise.  Clinging to an ideal.
It's the reason your pet is so happy to see you when you get home. He has no politics. There is compassion for every stupid thing you did or comment you made.  He compromises because you bring him food.  It's the ultimate barter system.
In humans, it's our ultimate flaw.  That we cannot tolerate differences, either real or imagined.  When those differences manifest themselves in the written "Status Update" (or, as Facebook says, "What's on your mind?") it really does not want to know - and your "Facebook Friends" really do not want you to tell them.  Your politics become their intolerance.
"Lost my shape trying to act casual."
- David Byrne "Crosseyed and Painless"
You can lose who you are trying to be who others want you to be.  "Be happy," they say. "Facebook is a marketing tool," they say.  "Use it to market yourself."
"I asked him why he used cocaine.  He said, 'It enhances my personality.' 
I said, "What if you're an asshole?"
- Bill Cosby
Facebook cannot change who you are.  It cannot change the politics of others.  Either they accept you for who you are or they do not.  When the Facebook Friendships turned against me, I abandoned the source. 
On Facebook (as we discussed in Part 2) when the politics turn ugly, the unfriending begins.  Those of us who have had our share of rejection must abandon the source.  The source is not us. It is not our viewpoint, rather, it is the interpretation of the viewpoint and the reaction that matters.
For those of us who have been alive long enough to remember a world without text messaging, cell phones and the Internet, abandoning this source merely means going back to a time when the world was a more simple place.  Whether that is a good or bad thing is not the issue.  The issue is that we have allowed ourselves to be dragged into the world of social politics.  I have reacted to it.  In some way, it makes me question my own humanity, and it makes me wonder why I allowed myself to be dragged into it.
Why do I need to be "Liked?"  Or, more to the point, why does it matter that I am not liked?  Why is it necessary for me to have friends who I do not really interact with, and only see on the Internet?  I looked inward and I did not like what I saw.  Who cares what I ate for breakfast, where I spent the weekend or who I saw?  Why do I feel this emptiness when I have nothing to post?  Why is it necessary to post photos of the places I have been to show to people who are not there with me?
I like having control over my free will, and I feel as though it had been taken away from me.  Worse, the free will had been stripped away by people who I did not really know, yet found it necessary to unfriend me - when they were not really my friends to begin with.  It's all so confusing.
"Friends can help each other.
A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself - and especially to feel.
Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them.
That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is."
- Jim Morrison