I’m very close to leaving Facebook once and for all. It feels like a lot more trouble than it’s worth. What upsets me so much about it are the ways many of you use it. You don’t play by the metaphorical–not actual–rules. You talk about people but won’t name them. You make provocative and/or opaque one-sentence statements, without context, elaboration, or examples. People comment or ask followups, and you don’t return to the discussion. You claim supernatural powers. You tell us things you think are new or unique that any sentient adult figured out years ago. You say brutally critical things about your family that are better left kept to yourself. You troll for attention and whine, when we all know there are people asking you out every day. Your grammar and spelling suck. And on and on.
It’s all too much bad information coming from too many unreliable sources to process, reflect on, and to deal with in satisfying and appropriate ways. Personally, I don’t think it’s that hard to do better in some of these respects, and to ask more of each other if we are to pretend to be revealing of ourselves.
The majority of my Facebook posts are intended to help or inform people. I have little evidence that anyone reads them. If it’s from my website, I was emotionally engaged with the material and I put great time and effort into it. What I have to say is freighted with great meaning to me.
I can’t comment on most of what I see because inevitably I will be misunderstood; you will take it the wrong way, or I’m out of my lane, or I have overstepped my bounds, or whatever.
We don’t listen to each other. Everyone has an agenda. Everybody knows better than everybody else. Passive-aggressive behavior is forever the mode. We can’t seem to “connect”, no matter how hard we try. We are left flailing.
IT DRIVES ME UP THE MOTHERFUCKING WALL.
Rein it in. Find a hobby. Consider quitting booze. Take a class. Talk to a therapist. Something.
Fundamentally, you are cheating yourself, and us. I’m not talking about things like these: Cute milestones. Chaotic livestreams. Dialect and slang. Extreme indignation. Power snark. It’s all good.
I am talking about things like these: linking to a post you know is fake news because “This one is just so funny.” You are wasting my time. It causes mix-ups. We don’t need it in our feeds. Please, either refrain completely, cultivate some critical faculties, or become more judicious in how you present them, if you can’t resist.
The claim that “I can spot a sociopath if I meet one.” No, you cannot. Clinicians working in prisons who know who they are dealing with have been taken in. Haven’t you heard what they often say about the monster next door? “He was the nicest guy.” Ted Bundy worked at a crisis hotline. John Gacy had a gig as a clown at children’s birthday parties. Between the two, they murdered more than one hundred people, one at a time, over several years, before they were caught. These are two obviously egregious examples, but the upshot is if you don’t get in their way, and they don’t see you as a target, you may never be the wiser. What, do you have special reading powers? Are the rest of us fools? You haven’t begun to explain this uncanny ability. Maybe you’re the sociopath. That’s how they think.
Fantastic, gorgeous young women, women whom everyone wants to make love to, male and female alike, who say things like “I don’t understand why people stare at me,” or, “I can’t get a date.” Horseshit! You know why; and, that’s your choice. The one who said the former is an aspiring beautician who spends a lot of time and money optimizing her already incredible looks. The latter is a bisexual bombshell with thousands of admirers. Your narcissism is showing. You are too disingenuous by far.
If you see yourself in this post, know that I love you. I have met you, I know a little about you, and we worked hard in dangerous spaces on something important. I admire you for your ideals, your values, your talents, your knowledge, your perseverance, your history, your aesthetic beauty, and so on. I love you, and you have disappointed me.
Now, that is life. We are all tremendously flawed. We need to respect that. We should show more empathy and compassion towards each other. We have too many robots on the fritz.
I will now comment on how this screed will be received, and address a few of the predictable rejoinders to it: Bob is an angry crank. This post is repellent. That’s life. That’s Facebook. Get over it. It confirms my budding suspicion: I was brought into this world 100,000 years before my time. Think of this cri de coeur as The Pedant’s Guide to Helping My Sorry Soul Online.
You will say that I don’t practice the empathy and compassion of which I preach. You’re right. Guilty as charged. I’m projecting. I’m also deeply frustrated. I’m human. You can’t get this from a robot. Not yet!
Another one: This is a very highfalutin’ way of saying “I can’t get laid.” Bingo! You win the prize.
Last: If we adhered to my rules as to how Facebook should be used it would be a dry experience, indeed. Really? I don’t think so. I think it could be a rich, diverse, and more fulfilling experience if we tried a little harder to consistently raise the discourse, to climb out of the proverbial muck.
I know I’m spitting into the wind. I realize I’m tilting at windmills. I accept that this won’t change during my lifetime. But, I am asking for more. I am pleading for more. I’m pleading.