It’s inevitable, I suppose, but Facebook is a major factor in our lives. So much so, that it has become our de facto news source, entertainment center and water cooler. And much more. 

That being the case, we’re wont to notice trends as they appear in our news feeds, given enough attention. And really, certain trends require little attention at all. They are simply plastered all over our news feed, often in flashing neon and Day-Glo orange. 

 

“OVOMIT NEEDS TO BE IMPEACHED!!!!” 

“GAYS ARE A BUNCH OF SINNING A$$HOLES AND WILL BURN IN HELL!!!!”

“CONSERVATIVE A$$WIPES ARE DENYING OUR RIGHTS AGAIN!!!!!” 

“THE GOP IS FULL OF HATE-FILLED GASBAGS WHO ALL NEED TO GO TO HELL!!!” 

“DEMOCRATIC COMMIES ARE GOING TO TAKE AWAY OUR GUNS!!!” 

“WE WILL REPEAL THE SECOND AMENDMENT, SO HELP US GOD!!!!” 

 

Nice, isn’t it, when you open your news feed to see the rainbow on fire? That’s pretty much it, as I have folks from every persuasion on my friends list, every color of the rainbow, so to speak, represented. And instead of that rainbow being a thing of beauty, it has become a menace. A glowing, radioactive, angry menace. They have erupted into verbal wars on my page before, once when I was on a trip without a computer and my earlier smart phone was incapable of deleting the offending parties until I got back thirty hours later. My page was smoldering when I did so. 

The above examples are the kinds of things I see daily on my feed. If you have any divergence in your friends list, you probably do, too. Or perhaps you cater to only one viewpoint among friends, and you only have one type of diatribe that shows up regularly. 

But here’s my question. Doesn’t it feel, well, wrong, somehow? 

Whatever happened to jovial, good-natured conversation, where points of view could be debated with politeness and civility? Is this what it has come to? Imaginary lines drawn in imaginary sand over the issues? I’m no idealist. But honestly, this trend of bashing the hell out of those who disagree with us is alarming and confusing to me. We don’t have a history of decimating those who disagree with us outside of war. We just disagreed and didn’t worry too much about it. I don’t get it. 

One thing I do get, with crystal clarity: We are becoming a nation of extremists. 

All it takes is a few folks who rant and rave on FB, and the rest tend to nod along like so many bobblehead dolls, without really thinking about what the ranters are saying. And it seems to me the rants and raves have become increasingly polarized of late. Louder, more hate-filled, more passionate, more suggestive. And I suppose the point is not that this is so much accepted communication, but in a world where everything is a status update away from being changed, only the loudest and most obnoxious and most vile posts will be noticed. 

I can’t really blame them, though. Attention hounds will always be loud and obnoxious. 

Shame on us, instead, for giving them an audience. We should know better. 

 

 

 

I, like many of you, sometimes have the frustration of facebook friends who post things, sometimes incredibly insulting things, on my wall. Mostly not directed at me, but they can’t help “sharing” their views, or posts, or latest youtube videos, or whatnot.  And I happen to prefer a cornucopia of friends, not just those who subscribe to my own political or personal views. I find discussion healthy. Bad manners, not so much.

I’ve decided it’s time to establish a few rules of etiquette when it comes to social networking sites. The bottom line, if you’re going to post things, that’s fine, but let’s establish a few ground rules lest our zeal to espouse overcome our inclinations to civility.

First:  Thou shalt not post links on another’s wall.

This is the biggest offender to me. And there are exceptions. But for the most part, realize this: you are not on your wall when you do this, you are on someone else’s. This is the equivalent of going to someone’s house and taking down a piece of artwork so you can hang a black velvet Elvis picture in the living room.  Some things will remain, forever and ever, amen, taboo.  If you really, really, just gotta share that latest video you found on youtube, post it on your own wall.  We will see it. Trust me. But when you post it on mine, you are assuming I want to endorse your video, or your view, or whatever your posting. When you post it on my wall without my invitation, you just lost me right there. I would have to get over my anger and annoyance, first.  Keep it on your wall. Or if you really have to share it with a friend, send the link in an email or private message.

Second: Thou shalt not engage in contentious debates on someone else’s wall.

See above, it is their wall, not yours. If you are visiting that person’s post, you are visiting their online home. Take your shoes off and sit where you’re told. This isn’t a free-f0r-all. And no one gives you permission to be an asshole. If you are going to fart, go outside. Not in my living room, please.

Third: Thou shalt never insult another’s friend.

This is part of number two. And here’s a truth, friends and neighbors. We all have different viewpoints. The world is not going to make a turn because of something said on a facebook post at two a.m. If someone says something you don’t agree with, you may reply you don’t agree, and (VERY briefly) state why, but don’t call that friend’s friend an idiot, an asshole, a dweeb, or any type of unkind words. These are his friends, not yours. If you can’t hold your tongue, it is you with the problem. And if his friend is the one making ugly statements, it is that friend’s responsibility to deal with it. You aren’t the internet police. Walk away and leave it alone.

Fourth: Thou shalt immediately notify a friend if a suspicious post appears in the feed with their name on it.

Spam attacks are ongoing and becoming more and more ingenious. Someone reported a link I did put up as spam, without reading it: it was an article on how to avoid spam from a reputable source. They glanced at the picture and assumed it was the same spam post that was going around.  I resent it later, with a different pic.  I was not upset. I knew someone was looking out for me. Do the same, and be a neighbor.

Fifth: Thou shalt not engage in mass mailings on Facebook.

Everytime someone does this, you get continual notifications when someone else replies. If five people were included in the mailing, that’s fine, not a big deal. Five hundred, and my phone will continually vibrate at all hours of the night, and my inbox fills up so fast I can’t delete it fast enough. I can’t opt out of these mailings fast enough. Unless you really need to, don’t do it.

Sixth: Thou shalt not friend strangers.

I get this every now and then. I do friend strangers on a recommendation from a mutual friend, sometimes for networking or other purposes, and that’s fine, accompany the friend request with a brief explanation of why you want to be their friend.  A complete stranger, um, no. That is called stalking. It makes you creepy. Don’t do it, I don’t care how blue those eyes are or how blonde that hair. Get a life.  Don’t be a creep.

Seventh: Thou shalt consider what to put in status updates, lest one be considered a fool.

This is so obvious it should go without saying, but there’s no denying it. I have seen folks write or post some really bizarre things before. No sense of what they’re trying to say, or even how to spell the words. “Ain’t got shit gonna get a beer” isn’t a status update. It’s a verbal burp. Cover your mouth when you do that, and keep your fingers away from your keyboard.

Eighth:  Thou shalt not speak unless thou has something to say.

Number 7 is really more about how you say it. But number 8 is about content. No, I don’t need to know you are at work. If this is something you do every day, that is where I would expect you to be. You can post that you’re not at work and why, but gosh darn, I don’t really need to know every little detail about your day, do I?  And would you find me contemptible if I told you your day really isn’t more important than my own?  Think, and if you can’t think of anything interesting new to share or point out, perhaps consider saving it for later, or not sharing at all.

Ninth:  Thou shalt not be grabbing attenti0n and sympathy via Facebook.

You know the type:  “I just can’t seem to have a good day, ever!!!”  “My bf is a stupid jerk who’s been sleeping with my bff, well f*** you, bitch!”  Unfriend these jerks as fast as humanly possible. They may have a rough life, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let their drama intertwine with my own!

Tenth: Thou shalt not post that Facebook will start charging for service. Ever.

For the eleventy-thousandth time, it ain’t true.  And no, you won’t see what that girl’s father walked in on, the spider that got under the skin, the lady having a wardrobe malfunction, the guy killing himself on webcam, or anything else like that. In other words, if you are that gullible and dumb, get off facebook, and start reading some books for a change. We’ll thank you for it.