So where does Facebook fall along this spectrum, and where do we expect it to fall? I ask this because lately it seems there’s this attitude of entitlement among some Facebook users. They expect that their friends should post status updates that are interesting, enlightening, inspiring, or at the very least, entertaining. When I see memes like, “It’s a status, not your diary,” and “Oh you posted song lyrics as your status? You’re deep,” I can’t help but get this image of a large, balding man with spectacles on his nose and a tiny moustache frowning and squinting down at people saying, “You booore me.” (in a British accent, of course- no offense, Anna.)
What’s been really disheartening to me are some responses to this whole “30 Days of Thanks” thing. I’ve seen several people outwardly complain that their friends are participating, saying that it’s annoying, boring, or trite. Okay, really? Of all that is happening in the world you are choosing to complain that people are expressing gratitude?
So what if it’s a “bandwagon” activity? It’s GRATITUDE, people! Just because a lot of people have chosen to express gratitude, it doesn’t mean that suddenly gratitude has been cheapened in some way. Gratitude is not currency. It’s not subject to inflation. It doesn’t start losing its value because there’s a lot of it floating around. And just because someone is expressing it as part of an internet movement it doesn’t mean that they don’t mean every word of what they say. It doesn’t mean they’re trying to look like Mother Theresa, either. And even if they were, what does it matter to you? They’re just expressing gratitude, for heaven’s sake.
Facebook is like a party- your party- and you have essentially invited everyone you see there on a daily basis. If they bore you, or annoy you, then just don’t invite them to the next party. Or the other option, which I hope we might all consider, is to perhaps overlook their faults (if one could consider lack of imaginative Facebook posts to actually be a fault) and appreciate them for who they are in your life. If, on the other hand, all they are in your life is what you see on Facebook, then perhaps you might be better off with the former option.
Here is what I am trying to say: Your Facebook friends are not there to entertain you. They are allowed to type whatever the heck they want and send it out into the world wide web, and I believe they should be able to do so without petty unnecessary criticism. If I want to post that my fish just swam through his tiny clay castle, I can do that. If I want to tell you that I just lost the pinky toenail from off my left foot, I can do that too. You do have options to hide status updates and/or un-friend people.
Keep in mind that for some people, Facebook is an outlet. They need to vent. There are some days I feel the need to scream, “MY KIDS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY!!” But I know that if I do that I’ll probably just get a strange look from the dog. If, however, I post on facebook, I know that someone, somewhere out there, has heard me, and I may even get some empathy from others whose kids are driving them crazy. Sometimes people need to share, even the day-to-day random stuff that is their life, because they just need to connect to someone. If you can’t be that someone, please don’t blame them for it.
If someone wants to express gratitude, let them. Please consider that when you post status updates saying how lame people are for being gratitude lemmings you may cause them to start feeling like posting about their blessings is a bad thing to do, and that they have somehow become a lesser person in your eyes. Sorry, just one more time here, but
With that said, I realize that I have the option to ignore or remove others' negative posts also. Perhaps I am the pot calling the kettle black for criticizing those who criticize. But I’m not demanding entertainment, just civility. And I’m not even demanding it, just asking everyone to soften their hearts a little bit and give each other a break. Think about how your words affect others' feelings. There is more than enough negativity in the world. “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” Please note that there is no clause at the end of that which says, “...unless everyone else is doing it too. Then it’s totally lame.” Let’s meet each other where we are, and let’s always try to remember the wise words of Thumper, “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all."
Live and let live. Post and let post.
K, rant done. Carry on.