I remember the first day, at the beginning of high school, that Facebook came into prominence. My friend said that I simply must get one, because it had become de rigeur in the sacred sects of the echelon of the high school elite. I created my profile in haste, having already been initiated into the MySpace cult a few years earlier.
I was fascinated, as everyone was and continues to be, with this sleek and easy to use website. But, and I can say this without hyperbole, that I doubt any of us knew what kind of bloated monster this seemingly-innocent website would become.
As the years progressed, Facebook became less about connecting with friends and more about people complaining about their seemingly dismal lives, including never-ending lists of physical ailments, and plugs for various social and personal causes. This interesting enigma, which had the opportunity to be a real positive in one's life, became a marketplace for mediocrity.
It has gotten to the point now where people are relying on Facebook for their daily news and life guidance. People flock to Facebook when any rumour is uttered, waves of untruth creating a frisson across the planet. I remember recently someone messaging me and saying that James Earl Jones died. Being a big Star Wars fan, I immediately googled his name to see if this person was right. There, in big words at the top of the news page, were the worlds "No, James Earl Jones is not dead." Now why, pray tell, did my friend not substantiate their claims before spreading this tidbit around town?
Because, my dear readers, people don't research fact anymore; they simply regurgitate any opinion as if it is holy doctrine. No one wants to take that extra step to substantiate a claim or research an interest - we must now simply rely on our neighbors to release the sludge into our trough. People have become left self-reliant, depending on others to tell them who to vote for and what to think. We have lost those parts of our brain that want us to push ourselves and become more intelligent.
And it's not just Facebook that's a major offender. We are constantly barraged with photos of half-eaten food and ugly babies on Instagram, mediocre celebrities plugging on Twitter and watching people's dull lives in their stories on Snapchat. We have become a culture more interested the life of that person you kind of knew in fourth grade than of scientific advancement and philosophical ideas.
Now, don't get me wrong, if used correctly, Social Media can be a positive tool to use, but you can't let it become a symbiote that feeds off of your life. It's a great place to share the joys of life and to feel connected to those people you can't be close to.
If I can impart one thing to you today, dearest reader, it is that our lives are precious and every second counts, so don't spend so much time worrying about Aunt Kathy and her toe fungus problem or the ramblings of the Ku Klux Klan member that runs the Donald Trump Supporter Page. Write a letter if you want to talk earnestly with family and read a newspaper if you want some hard news, not just pictures of fluffy dogs and Minions.
There's a great big world out there and, like finding a juicy apple reposing on a tree branch, we need to take the first step to obtain it. The world we live in is wide and varied and I dearly hope you never forget that.
In the immortal words of Louis Armstrong:
"I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world!"