Warning: I am angry and disappointed so read with caution, and understand that the following post is limited to my experience on Facebook and does not presume to make any claims about the social networking site in general.
I don’t know why I ever thought getting information from Facebook was a good idea. I actually have browsed my newsfeed in search of current events. I think my logic was that here’s a website where I can connect to hundreds, maybe thousands of people, link up with organizations, news sources, all in one place, so if I want to know what’s going on, all I have to do is look at Facebook. I also had the delusion that posting intelligent stuff in my feed would matter. Oh, it matters to a few. But mostly I’m like a man flailing his arms in a room full of people all flailing their arms.
Yes, yes, I know, not everyone is posting ignorant political placards, and not everyone out there in Facebook land is just flailing their arms looking for attention. I guess I was just hoping for better. I was hoping for a platform where people could interact with each other intelligently. But I am quickly learning that the kind of discourse I am longing for (critical, analytical, logical, imaginative, humble) is not the kind of discourse we have been prepared for. If our education system has failed, it has failed most in teaching critical thinking. And more than that. It seems to me that few of us have been taught how to give and receive criticism. We get so defensive when people disagree with us. At least, this is what I find on Facebook. Rather than posting things for people to discuss/debate/wonder about, it seems most people have fallen in love with propaganda. And by propaganda I am referring to pictures of authority figures followed by some quote that is supposed to end all debate. Now, to be honest, some of these posts I fully agree with. But so what? I’m not looking for something to agree with. I want progress, not repetition.
But most of what happens on Facebook (on my page anyway) is repetitious. And most of the repetition is people who post stuff they think their friends will agree with and say “yeah exactly! why can’t everyone see that?” Such hubris. Such arrogance. To think the answer to any specific national or international problem can be summed up and answered in a blurb on Facebook.
I’m angry. I’m disappointed. I know I’ve done my share of propagandizing, and that makes me even more angry. And even more disappointed. I want to become more aware of the world. I want to become more aware of the problems our country faces. Facebook does not make me more aware. Well, it does make me aware of one thing: there are a lot of opinions out there. And I’ve posted my share. But I’m done.
I quit. In spite of all the good Facebook provides (and there is good; there is always good), I have decided to quit. I’ve deleted the app off of my iPad (which should be enough because I’m too lazy to actually open up my laptop, click on the web browser and log in to Facebook). I’m done. To benefit from Facebook I would have to be able to ignore the crap. I would have to “unfriend” or “block” posts, and I don’t want to pick and choose who to listen to. Facebook was never a place for me to preach to the choir. I wanted to make a difference. There is too much information on Facebook that has been left unattended. What’s worse, when I try to comment on a particular piece of information that I feel needs more attention only one of two things happens: either there is no response, or someone gets mad and goes into battle mode.
So I’m done with it. I have questions that are not so easily dismissed with an answer. I have ideas that need work. I don’t want opinions and I don’t want to argue — not the way we generally understand arguing, as two people shouting at each other. I want a greater understanding of the world and its problems. I want discourse.
Which, I suppose, begs the question: how long will my blogging last?