Becky Holland: Really? Facebook?

Really Facebook? Are you serious, Twitter? Come on, Linked-in? Did you see that You Tube video?
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Social media has its benefits in the fact that it allows news – good and bad – to be shared in real time. One of its biggest defaults though has nothing to do with the social media application – but the user.
The more involved a user becomes to Facebook or YouTube or Linked In or Twitter or Google Plus the less the user becomes involved in real time relationships – face-to-face interactions, conversations on the phone and being in the now.
It is a proven fact. In fact, Philip Zimbardo once said, “What troubles me is the Internet and the electronic technology revolution. Shyness is fueled in part by so many people spending huge amounts of time alone, isolated on e-mail, in chat rooms, which reduces their face-to-face contact with other people.”
If I had to say there was anything wrong with social media applications is that it offers all of us the easy way out. When we don’t want to do something, face someone, or take the time to get some real person contact, what do we do? We hit Facebook. We take pictures of events and do videos so we can go live or beat someone else to sharing the picture or brag.

I have done it myself. I have found myself wasting time scrolling up and down on my Facebook or my Twitter or Linked In just to see who has posted what or who is married to who or who did this or that. While doing those things, I could have been visiting my neighbor across the street or taking my dog for a walk or, yes, Mom, cleaning my room or cleaning out the car or even working on my Great American Novel.

We have Facebook on during meetings, church services, in class and at the dinner table. We go out to eat with someone, and what happens? I had a friend who was consistently on her phone whenever we went anywhere – she was playing games, giving people stuff for Candy land or whatever the game is called or sharing a picture or this.
I have done it too. Not preaching, or yelling or saying we are wrong. For some people, Facebook and Twitter is their only connection to friends and family. Social media has become a ministry for some. Businesses advertise through social media. Government agencies share info through social media.
Social media is useful. But at the same time, it is a time waster with a capital T. I hear about people deciding they spend too much time on FB, and how they are going to cut off of their account or their going to stop.
I have done it myself.
Being on social media has helped some people through crisis because they have connected with people going through similar stuff.
I have gained new friends and reconnected with friends because of FB.
But then there is the side of social media that my brother would call ‘the devil.’  Gossip is shared. Criticisms are shared. Fights break out because of FB.  Bad news is shared more than good news. People harass people on FB. Hackers get your account information.
Even at age 46, I have experienced that as well.

I have deleted people, and been deleted from social media friends’ list. I had a friend block me because of something someone told her that they allegedly saw on FB that I allegedly said. I watched a girlfriend get mad at a boyfriend. His account had gotten hacked. She thought he had blocked her on purpose.  The list of silliness, as a friend of mine calls the gossip and way folks act on FB sometimes, could go on.

Facebook is not evil – seven times out of ten, a computer problem you might have isn’t because of the computer. You can say ‘stupid computer’ all you want or blame it on someone else – but in reality, it is user error. Just like when we all get frustrated about the stupidity that social media apps bring out in some folks. It is the people – don’t forget that. It is the people.
When we talk about taking a break from FB, we want everyone to know – so they can get in touch with us, so they know we are trying something new – it is almost like when we tell people we are going on a diet. We don’t want people to hold us accountable really – it is all about us and getting pats on the back.
If you want to limit your time on FB, or try something different about your use of FB, then do it. You owe no one an explanation. I could tell you right now that I am going to be limiting my time on FB and that I don’t have messenger, but what does that matter?

“How will people get in touch with me then?”  Easy – you have a phone number and a mailing address or they can see you in person. (My email address is thecrazymuttinkgmail.com. You can send me a message via your text on your phone by the way!)

Don’t blame FB or Twitter for your reasons of not getting things done or the break up of a marriage or the loss of a job or fuss about people sharing news about someone dying, etc in a tragic way. It is the people, not Facebook, that makes things happen.
Just my thoughts on social media. (And I am a recovering Facebook addict.)
Becky Holland/TCM INK 2016

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