If social networks were perfect, they would require everyone to apply for membership before opening an account. So many people seem to think opening an account on a social media network allows them to throw common courtesy out the window, or turn into obnoxious individuals who no longer can seem to keep their every mundane thought or experience to themselves. We’ve become a society filled with overly self-involved people thinking our daily lives are so interesting that every action has now become newsworthy. Enter Facebook, a place where this behavior spreads like wildfire. Though it is an amazing tool for business when it comes to online marketing, the beginnings of the network were in common personal account holders, and therein is where the problems lie. Following are 10 things that have now changed because of the most popular social network.
10. Enjoying the simple moments that don’t happen every day
Before Facebook: Enjoy the moment while you’re in it and don’t worry who knows about it.
After Facebook: Post about the amazing/wonderful/inspiring moment while we are having it. It is now ok to leave that moment to log onto Facebook, add the post, and then of course continue to check in frequently to see if anyone has noticed it.
9. Debating Politics
Before Facebook: Debates focused on facts when face to face. When an uneducated debater entered, they were quickly drowned out by the more intelligent argument, especially with no keyboard and enter button to bring them back into the conversation.
After Facebook: Facebook seems to give people who would never open their mouths to engage in a face-to-face political debate the courage to not only rant about their own political ideologies, but to also criticize others in a way they just would not do in person.
Before Facebook: There’s always been slacking in the workplace, but BF we were better able to hide our bad habits.
After Facebook: Many work places ban Facebook usage, yet grown-ups still find time to log onto the social network during the workday. With co-workers as friends on the network, our slacking is not so secret anymore.
Before Facebook: We dealt with bad weather or bad traffic and trudged on. There’s certainly more in life to complain to others about than that!
After Facebook: Every rainy day, snowstorm, traffic jam, etc. is now posted on Facebook. Even worse, others chime in (“I know. This rain is ruining my hair!”)
Before Facebook: Couples would sit next to one another, hold hands, lay a head on a shoulder and say “I love you.” And no one else needed to know about it.
After Facebook: Couples now send messages to one another (“You look so cute sitting there, honey. I love you.”) Not only is this ridiculously impersonal and unromantic, but it’s just not appropriate or necessary to bring the rest of the world into the room.
Before Facebook: Work-out, sweat, shower and get on with the day. The only ones “in the know” were the other members at the gym. Did I ever feel the need to call or email a friend and tell them I just finished exercising my butt off? Not that I remember.
After Facebook: “I’m at the gym now.” “I just finished a 4 mile run.” “I am so sore after bootcamp!” Thanks for sharing. Are we trying to inspire others, or just let others know we’re in better shape than them because we’re now working out and they’re on Facebook reading about it?
4. Shameless Self-Promotion
Before Facebook: Most of us used to practice humility and modesty. Did we do something pretty great? Sure. Did we share it? Yes, with our close friends and loved ones. Did we tell strangers or people we really didn’t know and who really didn’t know us? Um, no.
After Facebook: Everyone with a Facebook page can now gloat and glorify every action of their lives, and not feel embarrassed. The worst that can happen is friends will soon become annoyed with the arrogance and either hide your posts or defriend you. Others, like myself, may keep the relationship going only to complain and sigh in exasperation everytime I see a post about how amazing and wonderful you really are. It’s almost like that drive by the car accident phenomenon. We really don’t want to look but we always do.
Before Facebook: We were bored so we’d eat, or watch tv, or read a book. I can’t recall one time I ever felt the need to pick up a phone and call someone to tell them I not only just ate dinner, but I took a photo of it and would send it to them if they’d like to see it. Honestly. Not once.
After Facebook: Now when we’re bored we post every mundane experience of our day as if it’s headline news. When we’re bored and really have nothing to say, we can jump on Facebook and tell our hundreds of friends what we just snacked on, or all about our trip to Wal-Mart, or the fact that our child stayed home sick, or any other of the hundreds of mundane activities that make up a typical day. But many people will respond which only feeds into the offenders desire to continue this behavior.
2. Happy Birthday wishes (or Happy Anniversary, Congratulations, etc.)
Before Facebook: Card shopping. Phone calls. Hearing your friends’ voice. Hearing him laugh as you chat about when you celebrated his 21st birthday with him. A personal connection behind every well wish and greeting.
After Facebook: We post “Happy Birthday, buddy!” on his wall, feeling this action takes the place of a phone call or (heaven forbid) buying a card and mailing it. Thanks to Facebook, contrary to the popular belief that it’s brought us closer, it’s actually distanced us from one another. It’s only a matter of time before Hallmark goes out of business.
1. Common Decency
Before Facebook: Yes, common decency has always lacked in certain individuals. But BF, the offenses were limited to the few friends they had and were certainly not clogging up my newsfeed. Plus the embarrassing party photos lived within someone’s photo album (remember those?) and did not live on the internet for the entire world to see.
After Facebook: Sadly, on Facebook, this is sometimes hard to find. Thanks to the fact that everyone owns a camera and can easily post photo albums for hundreds of people to view at once, such as women after multiple pregnancies posing in a 2 piece bathing suit. Really? Though we know we look good “for our age”, the old high school boyfriend checking out that picture is thinking about the far cry our bodies have come from what they were in high school. Or maybe we’re hoping to hear “Hot Mama!” But why? Even worse, the tens of thousands of party pictures, posing with a drink or two in hand, abnormally large smiles or half closed eyes. Is this really how we want the world to see us? Are we looking our best? No.
I’m not against Facebook. I enjoy hearing about a friend’s pregnancy, or seeing pictures of the children I’ll never get to meet in person, or seeing old college friends enjoying their honeymoon, or reading interesting articles someone felt was worth sharing. I enjoy the morning after a birthday and seeing the many messages sprawled across my Wall. Absolutely. But, like anything, while it can be used for good, some choose to abuse it and, in many cases, worsen the experience for us all. I’ve been an offender myself at times. I do have a choice and I know it. I can hide the agitator. I can defriend the offender. Or I can drive by the accident and take a quick peek, no matter how much I didn’t want to. Which is typically what I do.