Remember When Facebook Was About Friends?

Me and Debbee! Debbee is a Birth Boot Camp instructor and doula in California and I don't care who she votes for!
Remember when Facebook was about friends?

I do.

Oh those were the golden days. I was living far from any family in a strange and foreign land known as "Texas". I was surrounded on every side by "George Bush" signs stuck in every grassy yard. Even the freeways were named after him! So strange and different from my native land of "California" where there was nary a Republican to be seen. (Though endangered in those parts, the EPA seems to be ignoring the issue. One can only wonder why.)

I discovered something known as "Facebook," in those golden days. My little brother said it was like MySpace for housewives. Suddenly, I could connect with family and share pictures of my son with them! Sharing pictures was hard to do back them because almost nobody had a cell phone and sending things like that via e-mail meant waiting an hour while it loaded and my dial up connection spun in slow confused circles.

But with Facebook I could share pictures of the kids and our life with my nearest and dearest. I even re-connected with some old friends from highschool, college, and other places I had lived. It was really an amazing thing. But my brother was wrong. Facebook wasn't like MySpace for housewives, it was like CRACK.

First pleasantly addictive, until it erupted in angry violence.

It took a few years, but eventually I found myself alone again in a new place, still a housewife, and feeling kind of sad. Suddenly I was somewhat addicted to Facebook and started sharing more of my "opinions." You may have noticed that I give a crap about childbirth. I was even more opinionated and sure of myself five years ago. I even occasionally noticed that my "friends" would sometimes disappear after I shared another ranty post about how c-sections are the devil or about how bottles drip sweet nectar from the teat of satan.

Wha?! How dare they! If they didn't agree with me, who needs them as friends anyway?!

At some point, a male friend of mine and former co-worker made a sarcastic remark about how he wasn't interested in all the birth posts. So I started my own "business" Facebook page, Mama Birth (to go with this here handy blog!) and started confining my rants to that.

Here we are, a few years later, and it has become obvious that Facebook isn't about friends at all, it is about YOU. Well, you and your opinions which are so very important that you MUST share them with the world because:

A)You are right (as usual)
B)You may be able to convince someone else that you are right
C)This is very important because, as mentioned, you are right and everyone else is wrong.

So recently there was this big supreme court case about marriage. Maybe you heard about it? There was also this big thing in California making vaccine exemptions harder to get. Maybe you heard about that too? Or maybe you are a troll and live under a bridge.

Suddenly my news feed was blowing up. All my friends were expressing their opinions on these subjects. Profile pictures were suddenly rainbow, people were pissed or happy or calling for the end of the world. Many hated whoever was on the other side. Or even if they didn't hate the other side, they sure had a lot of preaching and/or smug comments.

I have a lot of friends on Facebook. They are all different kinds of people. ALL DIFFERENT KINDS. For real. Politically, religiously, geographically, all very different. But I like all of them and have a connection with all of them on some level. Maybe we don't vote for the same people but we share a passion for birth. Maybe we don't feed our kids the same way, but we go to the same church. Maybe we don't go to the same church but we went to school together. Maybe they are people I work with, like, and respect, but don't know on a super personal level. I like all of them, and I hope they like me.
Big group of women I consider friends from a recent work retreat I attended. I love these ladies, even if we feel differently about court rulings!

But you have to admit, it is HARDER to like someone when they rant on and on about how stupid XYZ is when it is something you hold dear, or how wonderful XYZ is when it is something you strongly disagree with. This is hard for me, and I think it is hard for most of us.

I just saw a heated debate about vaccines and those "anti-science" people between friends today. "Friends." This happens all the time. (In between oil parties and music videos.)

I realize that I am part of the problem. I realize that now Facebook is more about promotion- of business, essential oils, opinions, and religions, than it is about friends.

But I would love to see it return to its former, rather muted, glory.

The problem isn't the advertisements, it's us.

We have become so enamored with our own thoughts and rightness, that rather than sharing cute things about our lives and pictures of our kids, we share our favorite thing of all- our opinion. And we share things that we would NEVER say face to face in polite company, with real friends.

Since when did our friends need to be people we agreed with on every single subject? It is really a disgusting phenomenon, but it was created by us and our constant need to pimp our own thoughts.

I beg you, all of you, for a return to those golden days when social media was actually about friendships and life instead of politics and opinions. I can't always control myself, so I have a business page for that stuff, so that the people who really want to hear my blessed thoughts can hear them, and those who aren't interested, can just skip it.

Let's be friends again. Polite friends who don't worry so much about shoving our opinions down each other's throats. Kind friends who like those who disagree. Respectful friends who know that we are all different but can still get along. Professional friends who work together well and don't have to share every thought on every subject.

Is it possible to make the switch? Or would we rather convince others to be more like us?

Join me. Share a stupid puppy dog picture today!

Comments

Mama Runner said…
A career politician retired after 50 years in Congress. An interviewer asked him what the biggest change he had seen during his time on the Hill was. He said when he first started, both sides would present their case on the floor, they'd vote, and then they'd all go out and get a beer together. Today, you do not associate with the other side for fear of being labeled a traitor. Forget about compromise. I, for one, think this is very much for the worse. I'm all for the respectful exchange of ideas. After all, looking at issues from a multitude of perspectives helps me refine my own. It's the ranting and the insults and the refusing to listen that is the problem.
Bonnie Grant said…
Oh yes! It certainly has changed! It is more like a party now which people seem to like.
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