Time and time again I see blogs and articles entitled “Facebook Destroys Marriages,” “Report: Facebook Is Destroying Marriages,” “Facebook Divorce– The Power to Destroy.” What is going on here people?
So maybe I’m jaded by the media, but the other day I went on my FB wall to write a post. My mouse ran across this “custom” button that gave me the option to hide my post from selected people if I wanted to. What? When did this happen? I was appalled and at that point I thought for sure FB had gone too far. I wrote an email to some of my closest peeps ranting about FB. It went a little something like this:
Do you know you can write a post on your wall and hide it from certain people and not others? So basically, like your pictures, you can completely customize your Facebook and display totally different personalities to different people. I can see how that is a good feature to have as a social media provider, but I don’t think it’s good for our society. I definitely think FB is one of the mediums that is weakening people’s strong relationships and causing them to develop even weaker relationships. Would it be too rash to say FB will be the fall of intimate relationships (platonic included)? Nope, I don’t think so, give it a few years and that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Then I ended my rant in the most dramatic fashion I think possible for the topic:
“For this reason and this reason only, I wish for FB’s demise.”
Fortunately for me, my friends are less jaded about social media than I am. Candice pointed out that she has over 500 FB friends some including professional contacts. She appreciates the customize feature because she doesn’t always want to share all of her posts with both her personal and professional friends. Nirali said that FB actually brings the most distant relationships together by providing a means of communication for relationships that span across the globe.
These were all very good points, but I still blamed FB for all of the online drama that was going on. Until I read this:
“This was a defense mechanism for Facebook as Google+ came up with the circles feature which is essentially the same idea. In the end, Facebook makes money when people share more, which is the reason why they resisted implementing it for so long . . . The feature is essentially mimicking the human condition. You behave differently to different groups\circles such as your friends, your family, your colleagues. . .”-Aydin Arpa (MIT Media Lab)
He was kind enough to throw in that he understood my perspective, which made me feel just a tad less foolish than the raging lunatic that sent out the email earlier.
So if Facebook is not to blame, then who is?
Although it is an enabler, in the end we are the ones that make the choices. If we don’t want Professor A. seeing you having shots with your friend Sarah2hot then maybe Professor A. shouldn’t be your FB friend. That’s what LinkedIn is for. If Johnny wants to have 5 girlfriends and only one profile then fine, but that’s what MySpace is for ;).
I have unfairly blamed FB and I concede with a raised white flag. Be adults, make more conscious choices, and don’t let the use of social media ruin what’s real!