02 October 2013

Boundaries are OK

I am really thinking about quitting Facebook.  I feel like I have threatened this before and certainly it is what all the cool kids are doing.  I have come to the unfortunate realization that about 60% of the people I am "friends" with are annoying.  Like uber-conservative, genuinely believe that Obama is a Kenyan usurper annoying.  So what am I supposed to do with that.

On the one hand I feel like removing those opinions from my life is a little hypocritical. To just cut out all dissenting opinions really makes me just as bad as the Faux News viewers I love to (unkindly) mock. To say others are not allowed to express those opinions when near me just because I disagree is problematic.  If I refuse to allow people who don't share my views in my space then I have created the same information vacuum that I loathe when seen in others. 

However, this is an elective service.  I use it at my pleasure, it exists to serve my needs.  Well, my needs in a distant second to the needs of shareholders who demand profits that fund private jets, but on some level, somewhere it is meant to be a customizable model for me to keep in touch with people I like.  So, I guess it is OK to say that I am here to keep up with people's lives since I can't always see them in person, but I don't need to be irritated by today's far-right propaganda. 

It seems like the answer is to cull the herd here.  If I were to streamline my feed to just the people I actually want to stay in touch with, then the system goes back to doing what I want it to do.  Of course, how does one do that?  I don't want to do the massive "unfriend" or "unlike" because then you have to deal with all the "why did you unfriend me" butthurt. (Because it's "FB official" that you are a douche, that's why!) I guess I can just hide those who are problematic, build a nice bubble of daily info from people who genuinely make me happy and do the whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing.

That is what I will probably do, but I think even having to consider this (pathetically first world) problem raises an interesting trend to view.  I feel like there is a huge disparity between the flavor/level of discussion that occurs on Facebook and what is seem via Twitter, and by extension, blogs.  FB has replaced the chain e-mail as a great way to spread the daily "the government is coming for your guns so it can force us all to take slut-pills though the poisoned water supply that killed Jesus" meme.  While those people certainly exist on Twitter, there seems to be a much larger moderate to liberal slant. The public forum where anyone can respond to anyone seems to...not self-regulate, but maybe create an environment where more voices get heard so the averages rise to the top more easily.  Since anyone can jump in a conversation, or hijack a hashtag, many voices get heard, all the time and therefore, more meaningful discussion can arise, though it certainly doesn't always happen that way.

When all is said and done, I am not really prepared to quit the FB all together, though it is tempting, so perhaps I shall scale back.  Wean myself slowly and create a pleasant space for myself there knowing that all the ugly stupidity of the world will still be there when I am not happily looking at pictures of new babies and prom dresses.  It is OK to set boundaries, as silly as they may seem.

UPDATE: no sooner had I hit publish then this happened: Check it out!  I am not alone!

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