Many of my thoughts are redundant of other opinions concerning this online juggernaut: “it is a wonder what folks will post, how an online virtual identity has supplanted one’s in person reality, severing one’s connection causes anxiety, being intimidated and bullied in this reality, etc.” The debate of this “tool” is as old as Plato’s story of King Thamus (thank you Mr. Roden). I couch my reflections under the influence of Fahrenheit 451, A Brave New World and Postman’s Amusing ourselves to Death (all 3 having been past TAMS summer read selections).
Cyclical current events boost the status of Façadebook. I remember during the Egyptian summer it was noted as an influencing factor and now recently with the election and hypervigilance to the Trump presidency, Façadebook has been a platform for expression, digital activism, and some would even say change.
I continue to be stunned as to what various individuals post in Façadebook. The vitriol and anger puzzles me. I don’t know why I’m shocked, and my fear is that I’ll become numb to this level of anger due to the regularity of its use in the same way I’ve been dulled into receiving vulgarity, crassness, abuse, racism and violence in other forms of media…. and then I have this other idea…
“The sermon may preach humility, but only the dialogue puts it into practice”
How many people are capable of talking to another HUMAN being in the same fashion they post or text? I’ll admit I censor my responses heavily when it comes to Façadebook for my initial thoughts to raging eccentrics would sound like this: “hey interesting post about your latest rant on XYZ. This is your 50th post of this nature – do you TALK to others (in person implied) in this same angry way, in this one dimensional fashion? Huh….no…. I would think your friends would not want to listen to this anger filled rant day in and day out but yet you persist in Façadebook in this way. Interesting…”
There are many other examples of posts that give me pause. Could we and how often do we engage in face to face conversations using the same topics and tone we use in Façadebook? My naïve hope is that people are not as angry in person and/or one dimensional for I suspect they don’t have many friends outside of the Façadebook if they are. I value all perspectives however when folks are perpetually angry, I worry about their soul and at times I want to say, “ENOUGH” – find your peace of mind, find another human being with whom to connect, and if you can’t because you are too obnoxious, then look deeply into the mirror. Maybe this is where I get too harsh.
For only the dialogue embodies what Emerson called “the secret of the true scholar,” which is that “every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him.” What the true scholar learns is not just “some point” on which he had been ignorant. He learns from that particular instruction the larger lesson of his own continuing dependency on others, the limits of his own experience.
My hope is even the “lovey dovey” stuff that causes me to roll my eyes occurs in person between human beings in real life. What IF for every emoji used with your friends, we had to express that emoticon physically? I see a ton of “hearts” which in Russ’ world would translate into actual physical HUGS. I’m not talking about the dreaded side hug but the full hug (thank you Mrs. Martinez) that persists for an awkward 3+ seconds. I see spouses lifting up each other at anniversary times or birthdays on the Façadebook and I have this playful vision of one spouse whispering all these great things into the ear of their spouse throughout the day.
But I worry…. for as I hope not all large scale arses are actual arses on Façadebook – that would also apply to the gumdrop world of positive expressions and they would not be as real. So where does this leave me?
While Façadebook was supposed to expand and connect us; I think it has done quite the opposite. We have willingly become two dimensional or less in the digital world. My message is a simple one.
Be a human being with other humans. Be angry, sad, happy, loving, congratulatory, etc., in person. Be a good listener, take risks with friends in person, be willing to allow others to take risks with you in person. Be forgiving, supportive, thoughtful and generous with your time in person. I perceive myself as wealthy for the abundance of human beings I have in my life. Dividends come to me when I interact with those folks in person. I love sitting and listening and talking and moving and…being present with other humans in person. I am enriched when this happens, and my desire is that everyone grows wealthy in this way.