Thursday, May 19, 2016

I don't understand what I'm seeing on Facebook anymore

A chronic neck condition requires me to lie down from time to time with a heating pad, and while doing that earlier I spent some time browsing through posts on Facebook. That's nothing unusual, except that for me Facebook is generally a tool to connect with others on public pages with an assigned purpose; to share photos, pass along information, update the public on certain situations, etc. So just browsing randomly through the most recent posts from friends or pages isn't something I have the time for often, and it seemed that the more I scrolled the more questions I had.

Frustrated after just a few minutes, upon viewing topics and content which while seemingly unimportant or petty, wasn't technically bad material. It may have been dull to someone not in that sort of loop, but chats about cooking or raising children or debating the pros and cons of a new car were nothing offensive. The discourses on politics, snide references to loyalty (or lack of it), friends who apparently are no longer friends, and pointed memes and cartoons depicting a person with knives in their back, told a different sort of tale. An undercurrent of unhappiness perhaps is what I was seeing leaking through the posts and words; maybe feelings of being left out or wronged; dissatisfaction at one's involvement with a particular group or class of people seemed to dominate many of the conversations I glimpsed sight of. It's like walking down a busy street in a small town, looking into store windows and at the same time hearing snippets of conversations from passers-by, trying to sort of put it all together into a snapshot of people and places.

I didn't get it. Why would people so publicly air their gripes amidst friends, enemies, family members and acquaintances? Do so many really feel wronged or misunderstood - and if so, isn't there a better path of resolution than posting on the world's largest social network, such as maybe actually SPEAKING to one another? Confused to see so many emotions and feelings spilling out that I couldn't grasp was one thing, but watching the steady stream of what to me appeared to be sheep was worse. Over and over the posts appeared, either promising a windfall of financial benefits, blessings of luck and health, along with dire predictions of what would happen if you clicked on X or opened file Y.

Think for yourself.....don't be a sheep.

Then there were the shock value topics, angrily recounting a story about an unfit mother, a teenager gone wrong and shown posing surrounded by weapons and a posse, or an evil pet owner - and the resulting outrage seemed to grow more powerful with each share. Case in point was a dog dumped at the vet by it's apparently heartless owners unwilling to spring for a minor medical procedure, and now, couldn't anyone find it in their heart to save the sweet canine? Seeing friends commenting about having made contact with the veterinarian hospital about adopting the animal I couldn't help myself and clicked through to the original thread. 8,668 shares of this tale in less than 24 hours showed how much anger people must have.....or was it sympathy? Did they really want to help? Because many of those who were chattering away in favor of what they would do, while criminalizing the owner, had no idea where the dog was even located. In a few seconds I determined it was states away, minimum of an 8-hour drive, but that didn't seem to matter.

Doesn't anyone look anymore before clicking, buying into the outrage or sharing the promise of an infant receiving a heart transplant if only a million people like and pass on a photo? Where did common sense go - or did we all lose our minds and the ability to ask questions once the internet came along? My time online and interest in viewing the activity was dulled by a sense of wonder at the seeming absence of truth-seeking or "thinking for oneself". It made me feel as I am living on a planet in another galaxy, because not only was I refusing to share or participate in so many discussions, a deep sense of distrust at the perceptions of others was beginning to nag at me.

Am I the only one not posting the two headed animal depicting the struggles between loyalty and deceit; how did I manage to miss the undercurrents of resentment between members of a group that I belong to; and why don't I feel the need to participate in this? Clearly something is missing here, and once again I'm on the outside looking in, wondering what it's all about - something that has been part of my world since the beginning of time. In most cases I hate feeling like an outsider, as if I can't understand what's obviously so common to others, and once again, tonight the familiar feeling of being strangely isolated is sweeping over me.

Yeah, we're a narrow segment of the population aren't we. (the ones who don't get it and don't fit in)

"Life on Delmarva" • #delmarvausa