Think about this for a second:
You’re scrolling through Facebook, passing the time at work, home, school, at the grocery store, where ever, when you see a post from an “acquaintance.” You know; the person that you’re friends with because you’ve actually only talked to them one time in real life, but you have about 5 mutual friends between the two of you, but you would realistically never hang out in public. That type of person, you got it?
You see that they post about the passing of a close relative, favorite pet, or something about a very tragic accident that they’ve had happen recently in their life. You sit there and you read through the comments all appropriately saying, “so sorry for your loss,” “you’re in my prayers,” “is there anything I can do to help” from again, more acquaintances. You start typing a response to go with the flow, do what everyone else is doing, and try to cheer that person up.
But then you realize I barely know this person. I see them at class, or at the gym, or at work every three weeks, or in the grocery store every 2 months. But you don’t see them on a regular basis. You don’t have their cell phone number. You don’t know where their house is. You don’t know much about them with the exception that you’re friends on Facebook.
So is it appropriate then, to go with the flow like everyone else, and post a comment?
I realized the conundrum of this type of scenario today. I saw a post like this on Facebook from an acquaintance and almost posted a reply to the comments. Then I sat there for a few moments to really think about it. If I saw this person in public, would I really say this comment to them in real life? Would I know that this tragic event happened to them? Would they even tell me these private details and allow me to be privy to this information? Probably not.
Just in the manner that “if you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all” should apply to the internet and social media, I’m kinda of the belief that if you wouldn’t say it in person (whether it’s mean or even nice) then it’s not really appropriate to voice. I may be in the minority here, but this is something I really believe in.
Our communication now-a-days is based upon interaction with a screen rather than interaction with a human being’s voice on the other end of the telephone or even face to face in person. How many phone numbers do you really know now? How many addresses do you remember by heart. How about birthday’s? Important dates? Anniversaries?
While people say that we’re more connected than ever, I’m pretty sure I need to disagree. While we may have “more friends on Facebook,” I feel like I have less friends in real life and I happen to know even less about those friends because they’re now always posting on Facebook or Instagram. Nothing is a secret or a surprise anymore.
“Oh! You’re having a baby??”…“…yeah, didn’t you see my cute post on Facebook?”
“Oh! You bought a new house?!”…“Yeah, didn’t you see how beautiful the picture was on Facebook?”
Well yes, but sometimes it’s nice to hear those important life events and announcements vocally and from a person standing in front of you. Those are big life events, that should be shared personally and not only on Facebook.
I feel like people think now that Facebook is just a substitute for real life communication. We sit in living rooms without our friends, heads down, focused on screens and what’s happening in the Facebook world rather than the interactions and connections that we’re making in real life. Some people say, “I’m so connected to all of my friends and relatives.” But are you really connected? Are you really involved in their life or are you just scrolling through?