Thu, 18 August 2011

The different opinions on this social networking phenomenon could fill a book. People have asked me often where I stand on it, because I slag them off constantly yet I have a Facebook account and now a shiny new Google+ account.

Well, here's the lowdown. If you care.

Facebook is evil.

It presents the front of a really useful application with many different things to attract users. It's great for keeping track of people you know (if they let you). I started a Facebook account to catch up and stay in touch with people I went to university with, prompted by one such chap getting married and everyone in our circle of friends asking if I was on Facebook. It was that event that prompted me to do it. And so far it has been a very good way of keeping in touch with them all. People I went to school with and family members use it too, so I can keep up to date with all the news.

So it's good.

But under the shell of this community of people lies great danger. It's a forum for bullying, which I'm seeing more and more. Kids use it a lot and add basically ANYONE who shows an interest. Teenagers, with their fickle relationships, often have hundreds and hundreds of "friends".

And that's the true evil. Calling these people "friends" can be dangerous. The more impressionable users will take the meaning of that label literally, and bare their souls and emotions through their keyboards, safe and secure in the knowledge that only their "friends" will see their posts.

Most of the time, as far as I have seen, that opens people up for abuse and ridicule. All it takes is one "dodgy" post or comment and someone could get offended or insulted. It's text, after all, and there's no way to show the essential body language and facial expressions that go with a comment. How does one show sarcasm via text. You have to assume great intelligence on the part of the reader, and in today's "lack of empathy" society that just ain't gonna happen. Especially in the two-second attention span comment "society" that is prevalent on Facebook. Your average Facebook reader wouldn't know what "prevalent" means.

Once someone has been offended, then they'll keep on being offended no matter how hard you try, and they will ALWAYS hold it against you.

Then, of course, the teenage mentality will kick in and your former "friend" becomes someone with no patience for your posts or even your friendship but - and this is the kicker - will keep you as a friend so they can keep an eye on what you and your other friends are saying. Then they'll start to ridicule the stuff you say and before you know it you have some former "friend" posting slanderous (or libelous, whichever is the written one) stuff on your comment threads, or just slagging you off to whoever will listen. And then the other "friends" on your list will laugh and start to think "hey, that dude's funny, making jokes about someone else" and they'll giggle and lol and rofl and then jump on the bandwagon.

For example (names changed to protect the innocent):

  • SA:    Thx fr adding me
  • PO:    Its oryt
  • SA: ‎   :) x
  • MK:    POs gay
  • SA:     hahahaaa
  • MK:    its true and he knows it
  • SA:     ‎:) you make me laugh MK ♥
  • PO:     Just lyk yur face ehh
  • SA:     MK*
  • MK:    no PO, learn to come back at people and i know SA, 1 of my many talents ♥

Note how SA turns completely against PO? That's how fickle the world of Facebook is. That's how cyber bullying starts and before you know it, PO's friends are all laughing at him. Even if they aren't, the kid will think they are...

So yeah. Facebook is evil.

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