Over the weekend I took my daughter to watch the facebook movie The Social Network and while it was a good film it cements my feelings toward the whole social networking phenomenon. In short, Facebook came about not from some noble cause or even a business interest, rather it was born out of a sheltered, ignorned yet intelligent person’s need to be accepted. This need took a life of its own and became a huge success. Now while I understand some use or claim to use these forms of networking for business purposes or to catch up with old acquaintances, many do it to satisfy their needs to be seen, heard or talked about. The proliferation of personal information available today on the internet is astounding. Do we all really need to know you are going to the gym? Or getting your hair done? It sounds more like you wanting people to know what you are doing, when you are doing it and with whom. Another funny thing is how people all of a sudden become philosphical on these sites, quoting literary greats when we all know they hardly ever pick up a book or don’t follow the message themselves. Why do we as a current society need this constant attention and (I use the word lightly) support? I have been at sporting events, cookouts, dinners etc and have observed numerous people on their phones “updating their facebook” pages. What could they possibly be updating – what kind of burger they had? Damn, even old folks have facebook pages to keep up their appearences. The sad thing is most of the users of these sites, if they are honest with themselves, have deep insecurities that these sites camouflage. What better way to say they are loved or have allys but the amount of “friends” they have? I have heard people explain their use of these sites to re-connect with people they once knew, but really, if you wanted to stay in constant contact with these “friends”, would you have really lost contact with them in the first place? It appears teenagers are now using these forums to bully, insult an humiliate others. These internet tough guys apparently have caused some of their victims to become depressed, reclusive or even commit suicide. What does that tell you about the state of today’s youth and how they need the constant attention or approval of their peers? Those who use these sites to hide behind their own inadequacies and insult others virally are the worse kind. Now I also know some who use the sites to share good times with old friends, photos, music etc. This is not intended for this minority. These sites in and of itself are not cruel or wrong, it is but a tool used by others for different reasons. Rather it is meant for those millions who utilize these forums to pound on their chest & yell “Look at me…I am important too!” I am sure you are to your close friends and family, I just don’t think everyone needs to know when your next bathroom break is.
There’s a difference between free speech & cheap talk.