Facebook Connects Us, And Disconnects Us

Facebook Connects Us, And Disconnects Us

500,000,000 users. That’s a lot of zeros sharing their drunken stupor pics over the internet. More importantly, that’s a lot of people staying connected. Social websites allow you to look-in on your friends. To feel like your in the know on their happenings and whereabouts. Facebook has helped me organize and attend events that I wouldn’t have known about. Facebook has also kept me complacent about my social network…

Trailer Parks

Maybe I was rubbing elbows with Trailer folk over a bottle of moonshine, or maybe a psychologist I respect mentioned this to me tonight: that trailer parks have the highest level of connectedness when it comes to neighborhoods. On one hand, there’s the physical location of being literally right in the other persons front yard. On the other hand, there’s the technological dislocation. I’m making an assumption here so I could be making an ass out of myself. But assuming that Trailer park attendees are poor (hence the trailer situation), I conclude that they probably aren’t furnishing the latest Macbook Pro. They’re probably not connected to the internet at all, which means that they’ll have to get their social needs from, gasp, their neighbors!

Back In The Day

Many will say, “Brian, have you been staring at The Double Rainbow too long?” Yes, I have (it’s almost a triple rainbow!!!). But I also say, “look at your parents.” Back in the day, my parents only social interaction was done physically (and via phone) with family, friends, and neighbors. There weren’t any virtually represented friends and you actually had to see, or talk to someone, to consider yourself involved. Today’s Facebook friendships don’t require any effort.

Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is revolutionary as an efficient form of communication (and stalking). But it makes it all the more easier to cash out on our friendships. Just like texting, Facebook is a minimally invasive way to interact. However, the less invasive, the less the impact.

Think about it this way, when I’m talking with a friend in person, how well can I gauge their emotion? Pretty damn good. When I’m talking on the phone, how well can I gauge their emotion? Pretty good, but not as well as in person. I don’t even want to get into the miscommunications I’ve had while texting. Now consider Facebook. Most of the interaction is done via the Wall. How much can I gauge a person’s woes by posting something on their wall? Not much. How much affect am I really having when I leave “That’s what she said” with a smiley face in response to my friend’s status?

Old Balls

Call me old balls, I’m almost thirty, but I liked the good ‘ol days when my parents chilled with the neighbors and talked about real shit. Where the amount of Facebook friends or Twitter Followers didn’t define you (Southpark: You have 0 friends). I liked it when you could actually feel the person you were talking to (that’s what she said).

I’ll be the first to admit that when I had a hot chick as a Facebook friend, I was much less likely to delete her. Even if her Facebook status updates were self-involved and she made that fucking kissy face in every photo. Acquaintances have become social commodities for value when no one person should be used as a means to an end [Kant’s Categorical Imperative (2nd Maxim) - Booyah, four years of philosophy just paid for itself].

I’m Not Your Fucking Friend\

If you’re feeling a little testy after reading this, here’s a letter you can send to 3/4ths of your “friends” on Facebook.

Dear Person I Have Spent More Time Stalking Than Interacting With,

We are not friends. We are mutual acquaintances that know some awkward shit about one another. Although we might actually give a shit about each other at some point, we really don’t right now. And that’s okay. So don’t wish me Happy Birthday and I won’t congratulate you on your new haircut (don’t worry, frosted tips are still in). So let’s just nut up and admit that we’re really just in each others glorified Rolodex. No big deal.

PS. I also like obscure music and limited-release films because I’m UnIQuE. My bio info is also [enter something witty here].


JP is right - we are insecure about not knowing. Social networks give us a way to stay informed in a very convenient way. Perhaps so convenient that we forget that with more connections, comes more dilution. In the meanwhile, I’m going to take a hint from Trailer Folk and focus on the relationships that matter - the ones on my front lawn.

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