Print This Post

Facebook as a weapon

Posted on 02.06.2013

Facebook was made for connecting with people and staying in touch. Recently it has turned into an excuse for people to bombard their online friends with harsh political opinions and photos they have taken out of context.

Social media have shifted to being a place for polarized family members and friends to share things that make you want to cringe and punch your computer. Sharing a status or fact compilation from one of the “like” pages available on Facebook has even become more socially acceptable. These shares usually accompany a witty comment or caption that one has created. It would be a lie to say that people don’t want the rush of getting likes from others who agree with them and maybe even comments from people who don’t.

Facebook was not meant to be this type of  weapon. Everyday, social networks seem more and more to be turning into war zones. The situation has reached the point where I have hidden family members and gone on deleting and unfollowing sprees that erased 30 or more people at a time. Social media have become irritating and not worth the emotional effort to maintain. The Internet used to be a safe space to share ideas with whomever I wanted and find a niche that accepted those beliefs. The Internet was a place I knew I could escape face-to-face conflicts with family about harsh political views, social issues that separated on every level and unnecessary bullies who clung to differences.

Cartoon by Abby Gross

Now,  you can’t escape them. Someone’s opinion is everywhere you go. Now your aunt, who believes the president is a dictator, can easily share poorly photoshopped pictures with Wikipedia facts slapped across them. The problem with this medium is that the person receiving the message can’t simply walk away from the speaker or turn the channel on the television. The receiver is stuck day after day reading these poorly constructed shares.

Another issue with social media is that, for example, deleting him or her or unfollowing them is now considered rude. It creates drama between the two parties that doesn’t have to exist.

Quit taking the Internet so seriously.

Oh no, the person you had one class with in high school unfriended you. The only logical solution is to message that person incessantly and when that doesn’t work, to text him or her until you have proven your point, right? Wrong. Let that person go. Let him or her view the world through a one-sided glass.

It is not your job to change someone who will forever see the world from a clouded mind. The person has made a choice, and the only solution is to let that person delete you.

This goes both ways. Social media should not be your platform to enrage others. At least take the time to google the information you’re sharing. That way at least your information is backed by some sources, and you can be more confident when someone disagrees with you. Your shares should spark an intelligent discussion, not a knock down or drag out, cyber brawl. No one wins in these situations.

Even if you are doing research and sharing things that you find have merit, you don’t have to put up with those who don’t. I hear time after time my friends complaining about people they knew in high school, people they had one class with the first semester of their freshman year or family that lives across the country that they have to deal with on Facebook. Instead of subjecting your personal friends to what your virtual friends have to say, delete them. In my opinion, there isn’t a social code that you have to adhere to about being polite online. If you would not talk to a person face-to-face, there is no reason to pretend to like him or her online.

If people get offended by this, let them. These social networks should be your sanctuary. They should be the place to catch up with your uncle who just had surgery and lives two states away or to see a new picture of your best friend who goes to school two hours away from you. No one should dread getting on the computer and scrolling through poorly edited pictures and statuses.

So the moral of the story is to think. Your parents told you that right before you created your first social media profile, and that simple lesson should not be ignored just because you only visit your family on occasion now.  People want to feel a sense of community through social networks, not feel that one wrong move could blow up a social landmine.


RSS Feed  Follow Us on Twitter  Facebook Profile