Like so many people, I spend too much time on Facebook, but why not? What other medium transcends human emotions, fallacies, eccentricities, and belief systems so well? Face it – love it or hate it – Facebook is the perfect snapshot of today’s society. Where else can you find the bonds of family and friendship, the latest gossip, talk of the newest conspiracies, never ending testimonials, righteous opinions, self-proclaimed experts, and the voyeuristic mentality of waiting for a train wreck all in one place? There is little doubt people would be better off without it, but I dare submit, to a point, it is interactive, and along with other interactive media such as texting and tweeting, it is a step above society’s addiction to binge watching the latest seasons of Bates Motel and Bare Naked Survivor or syndicated reruns of The Bachelor.
I know a handful of people who would argue books are more interactive and better for you than either Facebook or television. However, unlike Facebook and television, books are simply too much work for a society that has grown accustomed to expressing itself with emojis and rarely reading anything longer than a text or Facebook post. Maybe, Bill Bryson was on to something when in the movie, A Walk in the Woods, he says, “Books are TV for smart people.” Being an avid Facebooker, I watched the movie rather than read the book, but regardless, I think the line speaks superbly to my personal descent into intelligent purgatory as well as the dumbing down of America as a whole. That’s not to say everyone who watches television or hovers around Facebook all hours of the day and night is not smart; they may be, but for now, there is too little scientific proof to say for sure. However, that does not mean people should shy away from television or Facebook, quite the contrary. Television is one of the best sedatives known to man, and there are at least ten logical and viable reasons why people should be a part of Facebook.
Ten Reasons to be a Part of Facebook:
- It is fulfillment of the scriptures: “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Proverbs 18:2;
- For those of us over 50, it’s the closest we get to a party;
- It’s something to do on the toilet;
- You like knowing what others are doing and saying. People are natural voyeurs (not in the sexual sense), and Facebook makes public what normally would be kept private. In a sense, Facebook gives you a license to “spy” or “stalk.”
- You like friending people you do not actually know. In fact, most people actually know less than ten percent of their Facebook friends;
- You are looking forward to the Apocalypse;
- There is little if any accountability, so you can say what you please;
- It is easier to rant against someone you are not looking in the eye;
- It is the incubator of delusional thinking; and
- It is easy to present yourself as a stud muffin to an unseeing public.
There you have it! I am convinced every Facebook user can identify with one or more of the items on this list. Therefore, whether a harbinger of intelligent life or not, Facebook nevertheless fills a void in our mundane lives. It gives us a sense of belonging as well as the anonymity to be the person we would like to be or have others believe us to be. In a world of disconnect and loneliness, the Facebook experience can actually be healthy as long as users remember nothing you or I post actually matters anyway.
©Jack Linton, June 26, 2016