Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Facebook and Schoolyard Stories


I’m starting to get a little sick of Facebook. *gasp* What? I know, right?

On Sunday night, a man who was well-known and beloved in my little town chose to end his life. Tellingly, all of yesterday there were posts of love and support to his partner and family, R.I.P statuses from friends and sentimental remember-when posts. I knew the man vaguely. Well enough to say hi, and to feel sad, but not so well to post myself, or comment on these posts. B did know him, and had seen him a few hours beforehand, so he was a little more shaken.

I understand all of this. I get people expressing grief and sadness, and I respect it. What I don’t get it what happened this morning. A 17-year-old girl posted ‘Whats the go with the death in C-town yesterday?’ (or words to this effect, the post has since been removed, you’ll see why).

I replied ‘a man died late Sunday night, is this what you’re referring to?’ to which teenybops replied ‘I heard it was a suicide’. I know I should never have replied in the first place, and I certainly should not have bitten back, but this is why Facebook pisses me off, so I shot back; ‘Yes, a man committed suicide. He was well-known in town, but the details don’t need to be known by anyone who doesn’t know them already’. I followed this up  with ‘(not to be a bitch, but does this sort of stuff doesn’t need to be broadcast all over Facebook, does it?)’

The post was removed a few minutes later. And here’s where I reach my point. This girl clearly didn’t know the man in question in any way, shape, or form. She clearly had heard a rumour and was looking for backup gossip, and had no idea of how ghoulish this is. If the man’s partner or family see this post, how much is that going to hurt them? And how morbid is seeking details of a stranger’s suicide? I know we all have our curiosities. We love reading the news for details of the crimes of others, but when that curiosity can get back to the grieving, that’s MORBID.

Facebook is such a valuable tool for keeping connected in family and friends, but it’s becoming dangerous in so many ways.

People can jump on bandwagons without having the full story on what they’re supporting, and be over it in 25 seconds or less (KONY2012, anyone?). They can rant and rave and have strident opinions, and truly believe they will change the opinions of others – what came out of Kochie’s mouth is deplorable, and I 100% support breastfeeding in public, but sending him photos of YOU feeding YOUR baby isn’t going to change his mind. His opinions are his own, as are yours. And people can spread gossip, rumours and half-truths with all sorts of abandon. It's high-school without the uniforms or shared drinking fountains. And just like high school, at the end of the day it's mostly petty and meaningless. SHUT RIGHT UP.

I’m giving up on surfing Facebook. I’m there to share the parts of my life I want the whole world to see. If I wouldn’t tell it to strangers in the supermarket, I’m not sharing it with the randoms on Facebook, and I’ll have no part in the myriad bullshit that Facebook seems to beget. Join me?

Hey guess what? I'm getting a bit more blog-savvy. So now I Blog on Tuesdays with Essentially Jess

12 comments:

  1. I wrote a post about Facebook for IBOT too! I agree - Facebook is such an awkward forum. Twitter restricts how much you can say at one time, so there's a check there. Blogs offer space and the set-up for a in-depth discussion of a topic.

    Facebook is this weird in-between where people just spout off gossip and inflammatory opinions with no explanation of their thought process. Kind of like a blog for dummies.

    Someone's death shouldn't be entertainment. Why doesn't she read the newspaper/watch the news like everyone else? If the details she wants aren't in there, well, it's none of her business. I have a friend who is nosy like that too. It drives me nuts.

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    1. I love the 'blog for dummies' moniker, Azara, because it seems to me that Facebook is full of them.
      And someone's death should never be entertainment, however that's what the big-city folk call 'small-town charm' *sigh*

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  2. This is why I don't spend a lot of time on my personal facebook anymore and stick mostly to stuff on my blog page and the blog pages of others. I have set it up so that the people I really care about I get notifications when they have posted and everyone else gets a browse every now and then if I really have nothing better to do and am in a chilled and relaxed mood so I can ignore the iritating ignoramus majority!

    #teamIBOT was here!

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    1. Kylie, I was so proud when I set up a FB for the blog yesterday. Now I can avoid my personal newsfeed entirely and post the awesome mum stuff I find there (if anywhere) where only the appreciative will see it! (why yes, I do have a massive ego)

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  3. Yep, lots of shit things about FB, but lots of good too. I think the best advice is to use it for connecting with people you actually want to see/talk to in REAL life, ignore the trolls, and always be aware of your privacy settings! Great post, and sorry to hear about the man from your town :( Thoughts and prayers to his family and loved ones. x Aroha #teamIBOT

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    1. Thanks for popping in Aroha. I do love facebook for the connectivity it offers with those far-away. We've been able to plan a family reunion for my family's 60 years in Australia this year, and it's been so valuable for getting in touch with everyone, but I give up on all the other BS. And of course if I delete the people who shit me, they'll notice and I end up being the bitch.

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  4. Yeah it is a bit disgraceful what some people get up to on facebook. Last week my news feed was bombarded with a photo of a decapitated kitten, as if sharing the photo would help catch the sickio's who did it. Seriously? That's effing disgusting, and you can keep that crap off my page thank you very much.
    On a side note, kinda funny that you've now launched your blog page, very timely hehehe x

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    1. Urgh all those photos can get well and truly rooted. Have you seen the 'If I get 1 million likes....' shit doing the rounds? And the photos of sick babies? It all SUCKS. Liking that shit makes no difference to anything, do something meaningful!! (Turns out the rant had a bit more to it :P)
      And yes, the irony is not lost on me x

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  5. Yep it definitely has its moments. I try to ignore the bad though, cause I think it can have a lot of good too. Unfortunately, not in this case :(

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  6. I'm with you, it's such a destructive force at times, you see people like and comment on others and not yours, or someone de-friends you etc, I think social media has a lot to answer for. And don't even get me started on cyber bullying. I hope you and your community is coping with the loss okay.
    I found you via Grace's FYBF and look forward to reading more from you. Emily :)

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  7. Hi there from FYBF at Graces, I must say that your title drew me in. I get over FB and then I delete for a while..and then I go back and make it pretty much suit me now. Of course to have your blog page there you need a personal account. So, I adjust those privacy and other settings and avoid too much of what I dont need. Denyse

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  8. Great post! I get so fed up with what I see on FB and Twitter too. People just thrive off other people's tragedies and grief.
    Good call on using FB less.

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