Is Facebook, the official “Social Network”, making us “anti-social”?

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m a big Facebook fan. Do I log in every day? Yes. Do I attempt to post funny things hoping you’ll find me to be comedic? Yes. Do I use it to keep in touch with family and friends who live out of the state or country? Gladly, yes. Have I utilized it as a tool to creep on people such as ex-boyfriends? You betcha. (And if you say you haven’t creeped on an ex at least ONCE in your life if you are on the FB, you are lying. Straight up. Don’t even try.)

However, are we getting lazy with communicating with other humans, you know, in that old fashioned way, of say, picking up the phone? Also, how many times recently (and I am guilty of this myself) have you began a sentence with “Well, I saw on Facebook that….” (fill in the blank with bit of trivia here, ranging from “so-and-so got married” to “so-and-so was at the Jewel buying grapes this morning.)

I can’t fully blame Facebook. This started back in the 90's...who remembers AIM? I do, and I had a stellar screen name. Blondichic29. Not ashamed to admit that out loud. Ok, I am, a bit. My point is, who also remembers being in their college dorm and “instant messaging” the person literally in the next room over? Really, was I that much of a lazy ass that I could not get up, go knock on the door, and go tell them what certainly unimportant piece of information I was about to message them? That tonight was “Taco Night” in the cafeteria and I was really excited? Maybe walking those two feet would have helped burn off said tacos.

Anyways, my point here is that I think Facebook can be a wonderful thing, but has some major pitfalls. I know people who have found jobs through Facebook, promoted their businesses with great success, reconnected with old family members, things of that nature. It’s also a great way to promote your writing- talk about a shameless self-plug here. But, it can also be harmful. The wave of cyber-bullying now happening amongst teenagers is scary. How sad is it that someone's entire world can be shattered by someone "posting" something very rude about a person? I can only imagine what it would have been like to have FB back when I was 13. We were just passive-aggressive and updated our AOL profiles to express our angst. Also, employers now CERTAINLY check your profile. Trust me. Having been a recruiter, it was one of the first things I would do. If your profile picture is one of you clutching a beer bong and a traffic cone on your head….yeah….you may lose some credibility in the running for that job. (I did really see this.)

We are now in a world of  status updates, pictures, check-ins. Again, I’m guilty. Do I post what people probably think are annoying pictures of my friends and I? Surely.  You could know all about a person without ever meeting them, which is sort of frightening. I like meeting people. I like seeing them. Sadly, do I know more about what is going on in some people’s lives I barely know than what is happening with some of my close friends? Yes. And I am sure people could say the same about me. Again, I am victim to the posting/commenting/picture sharing myself. This is why I am questioning it. I’m calling myself out in a sense, here.

I recently spoke on the phone with a good friend who barely goes on Facebook, but has an account. What I find interesting is this is one of the people I talk to most on the phone, because I have to actually find out about his life and he has to find out about mine through- holy hell- a conversation.

Basically, I am torn. I think that FB is a great tool for connections, networking, sharing photos, etc.  But, I also think it can be a slippery slope as well. I think in a way it can disconnect us from people because, well, you already know what is new in their lives so why bother with the interaction?  And, it can very much expose your life to the world- some people want this, but it can be detrimental. (See traffic cone story above.) So, I am now going to go share this on Facebook, so you can call me a hypocrite if you want, but just some food for thought.

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