Remember those days when you actually had to be in front of someone face to face to have a conversation, or talk on the phone, where you actually used the spoken word and listened to the voice of the other person as it resonated with the sound of vowels and consonants? Remember when if you wanted to speak to someone you had to call them on your land line telephone and wait for them to answer the phone, and if they weren’t home, the phone rang, and rang, and rang until you put down because there was no such thing as an answering machine? Remember those days when your friend was someone who you actually knew and saw and spoke with in person, and to know what they were thinking you had to ask, and when they told you, you both sat and had a discussion in person?
Well, those days are long behind us now, as we now “talk” via text messaging and BlackBerry messenger. And our friends are now counted by the numbers we have on Facebook, and via their updates is how we know what’s going on in their lives.
Don’t get me wrong. I think that Facebook is cool for keeping in touch with friends and family with whom you might otherwise not regularly email or call. The only draw back is that sometimes you get friend requests from people that aren’t exactly a friend, but an acquaintance. My policy is that I accept their request to be friends and if after six months or so there is no real communication between us, I drop them because I think most people are trying to build there “numbers” on Facebook. Honestly, who really has 283 real friends?
I recently got a friend request from someone I knew some years ago when we were both in an organisation together. I never considered her a friend, just an acquaintance. I had since left that organization, and had not heard about or seen this person in over eight years, and last year she found me on Facebook and sent a friend request, and I accepted.
One day, I missed a television reality show that I watch, and it was the results show. I knew that some of my friends on Facebook watched it so I posted my status with a request to anyone that saw it to let me know who was eliminated. One friend replied and told me who it was and that he was eliminated because of an injury. I replied and made a joke that the person who was eliminated was a wuss, and that everyone knows that you can continue on with that sort of injury (knowing that anyone with any sort of common sense would know that you can barely function with that sort of injury).
The person who was just an acquaintance replied and told me that it was not funny, I told her to lighten up, it was a joke. She then basically told me my humor was evil, and that I needed to find God. I told her to stop thumping her bible. She told me she was an animal activists and she will continue to fight in court (eh?). I told her she needed to get down off of the cross as someone else needed the wood She told me to go my way. I told her toalso go her way and find peace. She then removed me from her friend list.
As I look back on the whole thing, it was crazy, although I think she is crazy, but I was just as crazy to have a public fight over a few days, over Facebook, and with a person I don’t even really know. A person that I don’t even remember what her voice sounds like. A person I have had no personal contact with in over eight years. A person I had spoken to maybe four or five times in my life. If someone you barely knew called you up on the phone and started to abuse you, wouldn’t you just put down the phone?
For some reason, this new impersonal way that we now communicate on this planet has some how allowed some to think it’s okay to tell everybody what they want, when they want, and how they want. It does not matter how well they know the person or not. Once we put ourselves out there in these public forums such as Facebook and accept people we barely know into our homes, do we give them the right to have an opinion on our lives and make comments and criticism as they feel fit? They sure as hell think so. And I, by accepting friend request from people that are not really friends, opened myself up as such.
I therefore am going to go through my Facebook “friend” list, and make sure that the people that are on that list are really friends.