I have been told that Facebook is for the "younger" generation. Especially when I moved from "Myspace" to fb....that was the popular thinking. Fb was to Myspace what Twitter is becoming to fb....the next fastest form of social communication. Whether I am considered a dinosaur in the fb realm or not...I love fb. It has so many possibilities and is a great way to connect with family and friends. It is also an amazing advertising tool. Both large and small businesses, not to mention charities, benefits and causes get tremendous free advertising from this social media. I have also used it to keep up with family members I only get to see on rare occasions along with finding long lost friends and classmates. Used properly and with what I believe was its original intent, fb is fun and a beneficial tool.
This all being said....Z came to me the other day and said he was deactivating his fb account. Hmmmm....here is the younger generation whose age group is suppose to be the most prolific of users telling me he is shutting his down. I was surprised and asked him why. The answer surprised me coming from someone so young. He said..."I hate fb! I hate the way people act on there. I hate kids my age using it to say "f*ck this and f*ck that", to bully each other and to talk negatively about parents and teachers. I simply hate fb!" Feeling the need to delve a little deeper I asked him specifics. He said everyday you see someone being talked bad about or bullied. You see kids using every fowl word they can...obviously thinking this somehow gives them cool points for filthy language. His breaking point though was when a kid he didn't even know was in his friends list (that right there was a problem) started bashing his own mom on there. He said out of a clear blue sky he posted that she was every nasty word he could think of. Z was done at that point. I was shocked. I will admit....I monitor what Z says on fb but I seldom monitor what others on his page say. My bad!
After thinking about this though...I was impressed. I was impressed that Z being 16 wasn't so desensitized to foul language, bullying and negativity towards parents and teachers that he just took it in stride. He told me that he often deleted posts with this kind of stuff in it but if he deleted every post like this....he would spend all of his time on fb. It made me realize that my hours of drilling kindness and respect into his head....well......at least some of it took. It also made me really sad that these kids have a tool that could be used for such positive things and they choose to use it to hurt and ridicule. Why?
I also have other friends that I have heard are leaving fb or have already left. Some hate the fact that "too much" information is spread on it. It is true. Some people discuss everything from the most intimate details of their lives to family squabbles on there. Some even have verbal wars with family and friends for all their friends to see. I will agree that with all of this....it almost gets too much to read the "he said/she said" stuff and usually I simply don't.
Being a political year....politics are flying right and left too. Just like those running for office....many choose to support their candidates by mud slinging and negativity. That is what gets to me....but I also remember that just like me......even those who post the hate, the negativity and the mud slinging have 1st Amendment rights and I respect that. Just as they have the right to speak their mind, I have the right to counter what they say, delete their post or like Z.....delete my account altogether. What I don't have the right to do is squash what they say or their ability to say it, but I have heard rumors that fb thinks "they" have that right. According to some reports....they are deleting or at the very least possibly making invisible "problem starting" posts. Hmmmmm....and this is why some not unlike Z....are choosing to move away from fb.
I will admit....if fb is not used as I believe it was first intended, it can be a negative and overwhelming place. However....the way I choose to use it, makes it a happy place for me. I am a single mom who goes through a lot with my kids and before fb....I went through most of it alone. From ER visits to hospital stays...I did it by myself and sometimes it was daunting. Now though.....if I post "On the way to the ER" or "David had another seizure", just having someone post back....."We are praying!" makes me feel not so alone. It is a wonderful feeling. As I said...I also get to talk to and know better....people I don't often get to see like cousins and nieces and nephews. I have also gotten to be fb friends with a good portion of my graduating class along with finding kids I even went to grade school with. Facebook has also been responsible for me making new friends and finding things in common with people that before fb I had no idea we had in common.
I think like anything else in life....used for good fb can be amazing, but there will always be those who choose to bring in negativity, meanness and out right cruelty. They will take something good and destroy any of its positivity for others. I find it sad...but I am proud of Z for the stand he took. It was an adult choice he made and a good one I believe. Me on the other hand....I guess I am still optimistic enough to think that more good can come from fb than bad. Only the future will tell me if I am right or wrong!