Let me begin by telling you that I don’t feel strongly about Facebook. There are things I like about it and things I don’t. I imagine my Facebook is like Angie’s Magazine. It sits there and I put pictures in it, articles, the weather, stuff I did, I repost ideas and happenings I like. I try and stay positive. I ask myself would I want this stuff in my own magazine if it literally and literarily existed? Would I be proud of the publication and what it represents if it were a journal on a shelf in a book store or a supermarket, or a news stand somewhere—beside a National Geographic, or The New Yorker?
Everyone else’s magazine
I see everybody’s Facebook pages like magazines beside my magazine. All those periodicals placed on that big ol’ digital magazine rack!
I know which friends would be the outdoor magazine and the camping magazine or the survival guide to fill-in-the-blank. Some friends would be the animal lovers or the dogs are better than humans journal. Some friends are the sports magazine or Good House Keeping magazine. Others are the parenting magazines. Some keep us laughing with the funnies. Some call out the Karens and Kens of the world. Others have a strongly political magazine. I know people whose Facebook would fall into the category of fashion, travel or yoga. Some would be “published” daily like a newspaper because of the frequency of posts and some would be periodical. Like, four times a year as they don’t post much. You get the picture. So there I am standing in front of my metaphorical news stand looking at these digital magazines of all the people I follow.
Cool? Cool. Until it’s not cool.
Something catches my eye. It’s a Facebook post from someone I know—sort of. I don’t know them really well but I know them from work. Their Facebook magazine, well, it looks like the National Enquirer except it’s not about celebrities. It’s about their own personal life and the tattling of their family scandals—and short comings of family members which shocks me to be completely honest.
I shake my head. “What are you thinking?” I muse. It was not only too personal, it called out people, tagged in the comments. Bad form from someone who is an adult and is supposed to recognize the big picture. I, sadly, expect this from the youth as they are still on the path of learning etiquette and digital citizenship, but adults! Come on team! Let’s get our adult selves together!
I didn’t know a lot about this person’s personal life until recently. It was shocking. I felt like it crossed a collegial line to some degree and for me her credibility dropped a few notches.
Teaching teens lessons
A few years ago as the digital world amped up a boy in my class tagged a classmate “world’s biggest bitch” in a post. She came to me to complain. I did something about it. Later I talked to the class. It says more about him than her. She may be a bitch (which she wasn’t) but he’s the underhanded jerk who makes the defamatory comment. How would that look to an employer? Would you feel safe with a colleague like him? The minute he’s frustrated he posts something mean. And you wonder when you’ll be his target because he doesn’t know how to either let it go or have a grown up conversation.
But we’re grown up
It seems like the digital world is hard to navigate. But is it though? Or is it our wonky moral compass that is the problem? If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all. Remember that saying? Yeah. You were probably about five years old when you first heard it. Doesn’t that apply to the internet as well as the kindergarten classroom? If you can’t talk to the person directly then don’t bother with a misdirection of your own frustration. The responsibility of all of us is to do right by what we post. We can definitely have our opinion and we can put it out there but maybe we should always ask ourselves is this kind?
If we are all just publishing our own personal digital magazine, filling it with page after page (or post after post) of what we are about, then why, why why people? Why be so reactive? Why post complaints or negative comments? Is that what you want in your digital magazine, that according computer geeks of the world, is permanently archived somewhere. Do you want to be viewed as the complainer, the bitcher, the racist, the naysayer? You must.
Before the internet
In the pre-internet days when you wanted to lash out you affected the person you lashed out to or the person you shared your gripe with over coffee in a vent session. That negative energy may have gone to one or two more people or house holds but that is where it would end. Today it potentially goes to your 400 “friends” and their friends depending on the privacy settings. Is it not our responsibility to amplify love and diminish hate? Yes. It is. Let’s be more mindful of what we post and what effect that has on not just our people but the ripple effect of the energy of what is written and with what place our heart is.
Let me end by saying that I may not feel strongly about Facebook but I do feel strongly about how we treat each other.
Consequently this is being shared to Facebook.