Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, January 31, 2011

FaceBible

You know...from a purely sociological standpoint, Facebook is incredibly interesting.

I'm sure there are studies being done as we speak and in twenty years when results are published, we'll find out that human beings en masse behave exactly the same online as they do in real life. That is to say, they are largely social lemmings (though of course, exceptions do exist);  following the example of established leaders, going with the flow, not rocking the boat. Newcomers seek to ingratiate themselves by quickly adopting the customs and mores of their chosen group, behaving deferentially, and rarely drawing attention to themselves by opposing the dictates of that group.

Pretty standard social strategem.

The only problem with this, is that Facebook is a huge amalgamation of groups within groups within groups. It's a vast bubbling stew of sociological, theological and philosophical ideology.

That adds an entirely new dimension to the game of interpersonal relationships and makes it a veritable minefield of missteps and blunders.

Why? Well, for example...on my friends list, I have feminists and misogynists. I have gays and homophobes. I have unapologetic racists and those who are assertively colorblind. I have avowed Atheists and highly devout Christians. I have Republicans and Democrats. I have Eco-Warriors and I have those deeply committed to conspicuous consumption. I have fitness types and professional types and intellectual types and creative types and beauty queen types and domestic types. I have...(and these two groups might just be the most divergent of all)...men and women.

Now, given the fact that one is able to hand select the people on one's own friend list, one would think that Facebookers would be aware of the very diverse nature of the friends list. And yet, strangely enough...most Facebookers seem to be under the impression that everyone on their friends list thinks EXACTLY LIKE THEM!

I tend to think of Facebook the way that many folks do; as a cocktail party type environment that is meant to be fun and frivolous. The interaction is largely superficial, but on occasion meaningful and satisfying.  I keep it light, I keep it fun, and I like to think I keep it interesting. If I manage to help or inspire somebody along the way, so much the better. Do I sometimes express a deeply felt emotion or convey a genuine concern? Yes, I do. I think everybody does, because we all need to feel like somebody hears us and cares. Do I ever use it to make a point? Well sure. But I do not use it to further my personal platforms, I do not use it to pander my political beliefs and I do not use it to proselytize.

Because I'll be blunt: it irks the living hell out of me when other people do it. Now those of you who've been long time readers can guess which of the above three irks me the most. Mmmhmm. That's right. I can ignore the political posturing and the pandering of personal causes. It does annoy me, but it's stuff that I hear on the news everyday, standing in line at the grocery store or passively eavesdropping at Starbuck's. I can tune it out easily enough, just as I do in real life.

But people, there's a reason I don't go church. And it is very, very simple. I do not wish to be ministered to.

I know Jesus. He and I grew up together. I read his biography. Very entertaining, if not entirely plausible. A few holes in the plot here and there, but nothing that impacts the ending. I know his work, I understand his agenda, and I respect them both. But I don't want to be part of his army. Though I think he's a pretty okay dude and our belief systems are amazingly similar, I just can't get behind certain aspects of his....philosophy.

Since I am thusly informed, and since there are no current comings and goings of which I need or want to stay apprised, I do not need him as a friend on Facebook. But you can be sure I got him anyway. Oh yes. Jesus shows up on my homepage multiple times a day.

Now, I am not the boss of Facebook, but seriously...c'mon. I doubt very much Mark Zuckberberg intended Facebook to be the internet version of televangalism. That's just not what it's for.

If I sent you a friend request or accepted one from you, it's because I want to keep in touch with YOU. I want to know what is going on with YOU. I want to hear what's new and exciting in YOUR life. I want to know what cracks you up, what enterntains you, what speaks to your heart, what feeds your soul, what inspires you, what gives you hope, what makes your spirits soar......

If that's Jesus, then good for you! I think that's great and I really do want to hear about it now and then. But not every day. Not every post. And frankly, posting scripture does absolutely nothing to let me know how God is at work in your life. It tells me nothing except that you couldn't be bothered post an original thought; to really be a witness to the ways God touches you. It tells me nothing except that you can copy and paste. Does that kind of thing really get you in good stead with the big guy? I can't imagine that it does.

And the Judgy McJudgerson stuff? Just cut it out. Unless you can say with 100% certainty that everybody on your friend's list believes as you do, then you are bound to anger, offend or hurt somebody with judgmental rantings and blanket statements about the morality of those who believe differently. I know you don't want to hurt or offend me, because I'm a friend...right? Stands to reason if I'm on your friends list. And if you honestly believe that I'm not as pure and moral and just as you, then why am I on your friends list? If that's the way you really feel, then please unfriend me right now. I'll wait.

I'll admit to being completely baffled as to the purpose of such posts. Is it to show everybody what a good little Christian soldier one is? That's the only thing that I can come up with, because scripture posted on Facebook sure isn't going to save anybody. Nobody is going to accept Jesus into their heart because of a hastily typed snippet on Facebook. GOD IS GOOD!!! looks very emphatic, but it does nothing to further my opinion of him, frankly. I can't speak for everybody of course, but it does nothing to stir my soul or feed my hunger for meaning and purpose.

I don't know...maybe those who don't live in the South don't have to deal with this kind of thing. I've always asserted that Southerners are far more overt with their beliefs than people in other geographical locales. It's woven into the very fabric of everyday life here; a way to identify, quantify and indemnify within the very complex strictures of Southern heritage and culture. Sometimes it seems like it's not even really about religion, but about social heirarchy. It's very, very alien to me, even after twenty years here.

Is there a point to this post? Um, no, I guess not really. I just needed to vent. And since I can say what I want here, then I shall. See, that way, I can avoid hurting or offending someone on my friends list. I'm not even going to link this on my Facebook page, which I sometimes do.

SIGH. I like Facebook a lot. I resisted the Facebook siren song for a long time. I scoffed at the lemmings who scrambled to sign up. I rolled my eyes when anyone mentioned it, even in passing. I guess I considered myself above something so....gauche. It really did seem that way to me. But I admit, I was wrong. It's a great way to reconnect, keep in touch, make new friends. It's fun and lighthearted...for the most part. I guess I resent it  when someone makes it not fun and lighthearted for me. Cause I have plenty of not fun and lighthearted right here in the trenches, and I think most of you do too.

Well, if nothing else, the YAY GOD! posts are elucidating in terms of understanding humankind and man's eternal quest for validation, approval and belonging.

I hope the sociologists are keeping good notes.

17 Comments:

  • At 8:06 PM, Blogger Mac and Cheese said…

    I'm not from the south, and I have only one preacher on my friends list, so your hunch about that might be right. Incidentally, my one preacher usually concludes his Godly status updates with a plug for his tattoo parlor. For Jesus and ink, contact Bruce.

     
  • At 8:29 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    Yay God! Just kidding. I enjoyed this post. Clearly I have a tendency to try and make a point on Facebook from time to time, but it clearly isn't about God. Sigh. I wish you luck.

     
  • At 9:25 PM, Blogger Margaret said…

    I love this post so much that I'd like to marry it. It perfectly expresses my fascination, yet frustration with FB. I never link my blog to FB because there are numerous people on there who shouldn't read it. (my SIL for one) *wink*

     
  • At 9:39 PM, Blogger Amanda English said…

    Ya know... I have to say I totally agree and this post really touched a chord with me. Thank you.

     
  • At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Brigid said…

    I use the "Hide" button when people start to preach. And whine. I can't take the whiners either. I wonder how many "friends" I would lose by posting aethist-themed statuses on a daily basis?

     
  • At 11:48 AM, Blogger ww.butterscotch said…

    No matter what, Facebook is awesome: and POWERFUL. Watching live coverage from Cario, someone is holding up a poster which reads (in english) Facebook #jan25 The Egyptian Social Network, plus some other stuff I can't read. The first revolution via Facebook?

     
  • At 2:02 PM, Blogger Just Words On A Page said…

    OMG you turned me on with your big word of amalgamation!!!!

    xoxoxo

     
  • At 2:21 PM, Blogger Just Words On A Page said…

    In all seriousness -- I went back and re-read your post and I agree with you on most of it. However, facebook like your blog is your little space in the world to do with what you want and say what you want.

    I have three really great friends who tell a stupid joke on their status at least three times a day. I have another set of friends who are dead against eating meat and they say that with great passion at least once a day. I have other friends who slam slam slam Sarah Palin and other Republicans on a daily basis and yet other friends who slam the Democrats and make no bones about being very vocal.
    And then I have family members who say stupid things, in-laws who drive me bat shit, and then those who make me laugh a lot. And of course I have my share of friends who are in the group of spiritual, christian, Jewish, agnostic, atheist, or religious. And I read their self expression every day regardless of what it is. It's just who they are.

    With all that being said Facebook again like your blog is your little piece of heaven or hell (depending upon the day) and no one should ever censor you in regards to your self expression.

    So maybe, it's time for you to cull the dead wood, and un-friend those folks who are driving you batty. It's not a bad thing, if it doesn't make you feel good to see that stuff then don't read it.

    Make sense?

    xoxo

     
  • At 4:25 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    I understand what you're saying and to a degree, you're right. We have to put up with other people's garbage because that's just part of belonging to society. BUT...I do disagree about your Facebook page being private domain. The way I see it, Facebook is a social network medium, which means that like a social gathering in real life, certain rules of decorum apply. Play nice, don't say offensive or hurtful things and try to get along with folks. For example, I voted for Obama. One friend I have keeps posting about what a dumbass and a liar and an incompetent he is. I, personally, wouldn't say anything like that on FB, because you never know whom you might upset. A lot of people take that stuff very personally. For me, it's just not worth the risk of hurting someone, especially since I do think of FB as fun and frivilous. I do get that some people see it differently, and that's why a lot of stuff I just ignore. But you know me...the God thing is just my hot button issue.

    Always appreciate your thoughts M, whether you agree with me or not. :?)

     
  • At 5:16 PM, Blogger jess said…

    Um, I have to admit to occasionally tweaking people's noses with my status updates. I'm a Christian and I *hate* the kind of updates you're talking about. But then most of my Christian friends think I'm a heretic so...

    I've had theological and political debates on FB where people from incredibly disparate areas of my life interacted while seeing the opposing person as "my friend's friend" instead of a total stranger. It's one of my favorite things about FB- that my single missionary friend in Tanzania and my married conservative agnostic friend from New England and my liberal hippie bisexual friend from Humboldt county can connect in a way that wouldn't be possible otherwise and maybe (just maybe) learn something about each other.

     
  • At 5:22 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Jess...I agree totally. That is one of the really cool things about FB. I've become friends with several people that I "met" on another friend's page. I think it's awesome the way FB opens up new pathways to people we might otherwise have never met. I think we all learn a lot from one another that way. Unfortunately, it does sometimes end up in a contentious mess if folks can't respect each other's differences. But really, from my experience, those instances are rare. I think because most people do realize they have to play nice on FB. See...another sociological facet of the FB phenomenon!

     
  • At 9:48 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    You're awesome and I love you :) And I love that your opinions closely mirror mine but you are so eloquently able to express yourself in ways I cannot. :)

     
  • At 10:54 PM, Blogger Amanda English said…

    I have to admit, I also agree with *Just Words on a Page* and *Jess*... but I also see your way of thinking BA.

    I am an anti-Obama, anti-abortion, anti-gay, crazy Jesus-loving girl from the south. I kinda loathe the south. I do, at times, post things that irk my soul... whether it be something I've seen on the news, something I've read online, or something that has happened locally.

    I post statuses that strike a nerve, or statuses that I hope strike a nerve with someone else.

    I sometimes put something up to get a reaction... usually something silly or thought provoking.

    I guess I don't do social gatherings well because I don't mind stating my opinion on something. If you don't like it... tell me why. I would love to hear it, debate it, or agree to disagree if the debate goes nowhere. I am mature enough to be able to do those things. Most of my friends are able to be mature about it as well. I have had a few *unfriend* me because they can't sway my political, Biblical, or emotional stance. It's okay, they have that right. I just think it's because they are self righteous bigots. HAHA

    I think more people should stand up for what they believe, feel, think, etc. However, everyone should have some common sense about it.

    There is a right way and a wrong way to get a point across.

    Ok, that's enough babbling... but BA, a lot of Christians do post about how FABULOUS GOD is and such but they don't show the world HOW. Maybe that is something each Christian needs to think about.

     
  • At 1:04 AM, Blogger Just Words On A Page said…

    Even in social settings, parties, functions, meetings, etc people are going to say inappropriate things. They are going to over share about personal things in their lives.

    I can remember being at LAX and one of my patients went on and on about her frozen embryo transfer, and was very graphic about all.of.it. And I just cringed as she shared with our nursing group what happened. I mean who wants to hear about that? I don't.

    Was it my place to censor her? No, not really.

    I don't know I am such an anti cenorship freak that unless it's hate speech, racist, anti gay, real hate stuff I really don't have the right I guess to tell someone what to say or not to say.

    What I can do however, is hide the offendor from my FB so I don't read updates, which I have been known to do. And I occasionally unfriend someone who I just can't handle anymore.

    But BA I do get where you are coming from. It's annoying reading all that shit. It really is.

    xoxoxo

     
  • At 12:45 PM, Blogger Todd S. said…

    Thank you for this. I have recently come late to the 'Blogs Are Stupid' party but find the posts I've read illuminating and enjoyable.

    It is a pleasure to read your posts (when I get my head out of my own arse enough to get off the FaceCrack and come here to read them.

    Have a kick ass day!
    -Todd

     
  • At 2:13 AM, Blogger Carol said…

    I totally and completely agree and would love to post this on MY Facebook page. But since you didn't post it on yours I can assume you'd rather I don't post it on mine...

    Craol

     
  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Nah, go ahead. I don't think any of our mutual friends would be offended. And any of my friends that would, can't see your feed. So..no harm done.

     

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