I guess I shouldn’t be one to talk about the “Book”; I’m always on. But there is a method to my Facebook madness. I don’t get on to stalk check-up on people I have no real connection to friends. I get on to stay abreast of what’s going on so my blogs can be current and–of course– to promote (myself and anyone else doing positive things).
As wonderful as Facebook is, though, it has its drawbacks, namely, the unnatural way it causes us to “connect” with each other. When it come to Facebook, there seems to be an inverse relationship between our online connections and those we have offline. The more we “chat it up” online, the less we do in real person. “What’s the big deal?” you may ask. I’ll tell you: Facebook gives us the option of connecting with no real connection, of reaching out without really reaching. We are social beings by nature. Encoded in our DNA is the need to see and interact with other people. Only through these connections can we know that we truly are, that we most certainly exist. And that’s why Facebook is so popular. It appeals to our desperate need for interaction.
There is only one problem: the interaction isn’t real. It is a synthesized imitation, devoid of all the precious subtleties of genuine human interaction. Ask anyone who’s been in a long distance relationship. No amount of AIMing, MSNing, FBing, texting, SKYPEing or even phone talking can compare to quality time in person. We need that. It’s non-negotiable.
Facebook teaches us that “likes” and “tags” and “mentions” equal acceptance and approval. That’s not necessarily true. When there are no real eyes to look into, no voice to hear, to body language to read, you have no real way of knowing that persons true intentions. That person who “liked” you may not really like you at all. That person who “tagged” you may have ulterior motives. That person who “mentioned” you may have an agenda. When all we do is “add” and picture comment, how can we really know a person? How can we feel connected to them? We are so comfortable with meeting people online that the idea of actual meeting begins to sound strange.
“You want me to just talk to that man over there?! I’m not doing that!”
“Why would I start a conversation with a random stranger? They might be an axe murderer!”
Meanwhile, these same people will friend request a total stranger in a heartbeat. Do you see the pathology? In just a short amount of time, we’ve been conditioned to crave fake interactions and fear real ones. Scary stuff.
I am not against Facebook. I’ve met some wonderful people while logged in. But my most genuine connections are with real people.
Not profile pics.
Not pop-up chat boxes.
Like this? Buy Nadirah Angail’s Book “On All the Things That Make Me Beautiful: Short Inspirational Essays on Life, Love & Self” Available here.