Sunday, October 12, 2014

The HAZARDS of Facebook

I just sat down with my morning coffee, and checked my email to note that another friend from another part of the world had noticed that DJ had deleted her Facebook (FB) account.  Juliet and I had just brought that up with DJ the night before.

Interestingly, a mom of a transgender son, with whom I correspond, also wrote about FB this week sharing how a "friend" had posted some mean-spirited and exclusive drudgery that applied to this woman's son, but indirectly.

I, too, have been struggling with the negative drag that FB often causes....

DJ, Juliet and I have all been struggling recently with the nastiness that FB now regularly includes. People actually spend their precious time looking for obscure "data" that supports their (usually exclusive) agenda, create a meme and then post it, inviting others to "share."  What a terrible misuse of the word "share," now that I think of it. I just don't get it.  Spreading the word of injustice is important but that isn't what's occurring here.  What is occurring?  We all know what it is-complaining, whining, bitching, pissing, moaning.  That's ok-I can piss and moan with the best of 'em.  The issue is that they do it at someone else's expense!!!

The other aspect of FB that I think is alienating is the "social" aspect-especially when people don't make efforts to be "social"-or choose to be "social" to a few people and disregard others.  It's like being in grade school, and seeing that nearly everyone in class has received an invitation to a birthday party, except you, and a handful of others.  Being excluded is hard enough; when it becomes public, it's just plain humiliating. No one denies a person's right to "like", or "share" or "comment" or even invite whomever she wishes-but is it necessary to make it public?  Do people not care about the impressions they leave?

If I were at a party, and I made a point of talking to nearly everyone except a friend who was certainly within earshot  multiple times through the night, and I didn't even make eye contact with her, that would certainly send a message to her. We hide behind the impersonal nature of FB, while pretending to be personal, and it allows us to be rude and hurtful, anonymously.  While we think we're being social, we're actually being socially lazy. We pretend that by clicking the "like" button we're actually doing something meaningful.  And maybe that simple acknowledgement is meaningful, sometimes.  But it's not like we're going to raise money for cancer treatment by clicking the "like" button.  The "like" button can really only go so far in maintaining a "friendship."

But maybe we don't want to really maintain friendships so much as give the appearance of doing so so that our "friends list" is really impressive looking.....hmmm.  That's worth pondering.

Bulldog said something to me many years ago that has been replaying in my head recently.  I'd just come out of a rough bout of drama with a friend of mine, who despite promising to cater my wedding, dropped out at the last minute when I wouldn't lend her $7000, despite the fact that I'd already lent her $1000 and paid her kid's tuition to a private school.  Needless to say, she is no longer my "friend" and perhaps never was in the way that I had thought.  But that's another, probably boring, story!!  Bulldog and I had just gotten married, moved thirty miles away to a new town, into a new house and he said to me, "We have a new start and I think we should surround ourselves with people that we deserve to be around."  Or something to that effect....

So, I took a hard look at my FB "friends" and realized that I needed to clean house.  I didn't want to delete them and give the appearance of rudely snubbing them, I just didn't want to see their regularly occurring alarmist, unfounded, often mean-spirited, and exclusive posts.  So, I blocked them and I feel better.

The other issue with FB is there is quite a bit that's disingenuous.  People are staging their lives to appear interesting for FB.  People are missing out on the here and now so they can take the time to upload their photos of their fabulous lives to FB.  Don't get me wrong, some photos and comments make my day.  When my sister posted a photo of one of her daughters with her second and third fingers in both of her nostrils, I laughed out loud and re-viewed that photo multiple times throughout the day.  But the disingenuous nature is obvious to some of us and bothersome.  All the more reason to consider blocking those "friends" too.

DJ didn't go into detail as to why she deleted her FB account but confirmed her reasons were related to what I've shared here.  Juliet and I sympathized with her.  DJ is way ahead of her mother on this issue.  She doesn't "need" FB like many of us do.  We can pretend we don't "need" it, but giving it up is like going without your morning cup of coffee, or your glass of wine in the evening when your kid is throwing the fifth temper tantrum of the day.

Put it this way-if your dog had a run-in with a skunk and smelled of skunk, would you let him in your living room?  No.  You wouldn't get rid of your dog, but you might have him live in the garage, or the basement, until you can get the smell out of his fur.  So, I've put a bunch of FB friends in the garage.  I know where they are; (for all I know, I might be in someone's garage, as well!!); I can still send a message if I choose.  I can let them back into the living room whenever I want....or not. In the meantime, my house doesn't stink.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hoping for "L"

DJ had to give a presentation in her communications class last night and she came home on cloud nine.  She decided to talk about the concept of universal consciousness and used the double slit experiment to demonstrate her thoughts.  You can check out the double slit experiment at:

Then, last week, she and I took a short little road trip to visit a Buddhist temple, complete with a Zen garden.  It was her idea, not mine, and she invited me along.

This evening she walked in the door talking about a long-term goal of opening a school that offers an enlightened form of education where a person either passes, or needs improvement.  Her ideas were much more detailed than that, but her point was the importance of emphasizing the journey of learning.

I like how her brain works.  I love how she's willing to stretch herself.  I love her bravery.

Which reminds me of the bravery of a woman I've been in contact with who resides in the UK.  She transitioned fairly recently, as an adult in her 40's.  In our most recent correspondence, she wonders whether her decision to transition is too late.  I tell her it's not and I believe it, but how can I possibly speak to this?  How can I comfort her while she experiences her (rightful) experiences of loss? I can imagine that I might entertain the same thoughts and feelings, especially as this gradually more accepting world allows people like DJ to be who they are, at all, or decades earlier than people like this lovely woman.   Like so many women that I have been fortunate to hear from, who transitioned later in life compared to DJ, she cheers for young people who transition early while she simultaneously is reminded of the time she's lost.

I want to cheer for her and remind her that she has so much life left ahead of her, but she has complications that only an adult who transitions in adulthood can fully understand which might make my reassurance ring false in her ears.  It took DJ over four years to feel more comfortable in her skin and I hope that my friend just needs more time in her new life to feel more at peace with her previous life not being all she hoped for, and frankly, deserved.  I'd like to know that she has moments of revelry in being a woman like I've been blessed to witness in DJ.  I shall hope for her.