I should delete my Facebook page. On the days when I am not delighted by photos and updates of friends/family who unfortunately live in other countries, I am endlessly frustrated by the bandwagon that rattles across my news feed depending on this weeks trend. Photos of candles reflecting some meaningless vigil that my oh so concerned friends will never lift a finger higher than their keyboard for, a “like” for a prayer (that I suspect never actually gets meaningfully recited), or “RIP” photos for this weeks Amy Winehouse equivalent.
Sure, we could add this to my growing list of pet peeves on Facebook, such as the vague bookers who scream “too personal!” when someone dare guess what they are vague booking about, the birthday wishes for children too young to read, let alone access a facebook account, and the announcements of deaths (is Facebook really the first page checked in heaven?!) that all to often lead to someone finding out about the death of a loved one via social media (I speak from personal experience here!)
This particular trend frustrates me more. It downright scares me, for a couple of reasons:
Firstly, often these posts do more damage than good. In cases where there is a perpetrator, often this gives unnecessary attention, sensationalizing their crime and giving those that way inclined ideas on how to commit such an act. Also, they promote witch hunts, and encourage people to make a judgement on something that they actually know very little about, they promote a group mentality- not positive and productive conversation about important issues.
Secondly, as I not so subtly alluded in my opening whine, such posts suggest that the poster is actually doing something, giving back shall we say, when in fact the reality is (and I know this sounds horribly harsh and cynical) all the person has done is log onto Facebook see a post they like and hit “like”. In most cases they have not actually taken an significant time out of their day and I worry that people actually think such posts constitute compassion. I’m sorry, they don’t. They merely indicate a person who wants to APPEAR compassionate, the people actually being compassionate are very rarely posting about it on Facebook, they are too busy doing it!
Thirdly, these posts lack perspective, and lets face it, those of us fortunate enough to be able to afford the luxury of a computer (or computer access) when others don’t have the basic needs could always use a little more perspective (myself included). People die every day, so many people die unnecessarily sad deaths due to things such as war and famine that are so completely out of their control. So many children are subjected to so many horrible things, but do we talk about them? No, we like a couple of recently publicized events, then return to our daily lives thinking how compassionate we are for sharing the “RIP [insert over-publicized death here]” post.
I don’t hate Facebook, in fact I am not ashamed to admit that I think it can be a great communication tool, and a great platform for real conversation. I just wish it was used that way. Sadly my posts whinging about the bad-breathed commuter next to me resulted in many more likes and comments than my post questioning why western children are not able to be photographed and put on Facebook by workers/volunteers who have supported them, but children from “developing” countries are fair game. (see post photographic? for my complaints on that one). Sadly on Facebook, controversy seems to result in childish banter and crass slagging off of opposing views much more than helping us reestablish our view points.
I guess what I am saying is I just wish that more thought went into these posts. I wish people were original, and I wish people would stop relying on this weeks socially acceptable tragedy to show their compassionate side on my news feed.
End. Of. Rant.