So there I was, eyes peeled upon my iPad, (yeah…I’m one of those.) Facebook stalking my own page after an arguably heated status update I had made minutes before. In retrospect, I was disgusted that I became one of those people who makes emo-posts, then anticipates getting ‘Likes’ and/or validation from my community. Just then, ‘Likes’ started pouring in from the woodwork. I immediately thought, “Man, I wish I could ‘Like’ their ‘Like’.” Like, I wish I could give someone’s ‘Like’ a thumbs up. An upvote would do. My disposition toward these complete strangers, at least by the standards of the non-Facebookish 90s, was an irrationally codependent one. I would totally talk to these people on the street if I saw them, and I totally don’t talk to people on the street, like, ever. Like = Johnny is being ironic.
This got me thinking, though. I’ve seen this behavior from others. Mostly youth, but others, nonetheless. Have we, as a society, come to rely on the validation of our Facebook pages to decide our moods? I am far from that guy who acts like Facebook has no purpose. Take a look at Arab Springs, blah blah etc. People should really come up with another example of why Facebook shouldn’t be toppled over like a Saddam Hussein statue. Hell, I’ll do it: Facebook has literally replaced societies’ watering holes. You know, that hole your ancestors would lug copious amounts of jugs of water to and from? Stopping only to mingle with other humans and gossip. If you can remember doing this in your lifetime, please stop reading as this article can be thrown in the “first world problems bin of banal minutia.”
These watering holes, which eventually became taverns where you could stage an American Revolution- God save the queen and her fascist regime, which eventually became cafes where we could write in old diction, pretending like we’re an expatriate in Paris, surrounded by truly terrible community art; which eventually became ‘le Internet’, where we have forums where you can verbally abuse one another under the alias of ‘anonymous’ and then upvote Lolcat photos on Reddit. Long story short, places like Facebook, have come to replace our community interaction, an important facet of becoming a well adjusted and contributing member to society.
But if our social etiquette and validation depend entirely on sarcastic meditations on first world problems, Seinfeld-ish commentaries on people we deem as “stupid” (who are in fact just ignorant), and angry rants whilst hashtagging the shit out of Justin Bieber, what does that say about our society?
The short answer is that we’re in trouble. I’m in trouble. Fortunately, the things we loved as kids and never seem to find time or a practical purpose for, are indeed the answer. Go outside. You don’t need to commit Facebook Suicide (temporarily deleting your Facebook account) which is in reality a vain act as you can really just not log in. After all, “The humble man is a man who wants to be thanked twice.”
Take your dog out for more walks. Talk to the people at the park. Spark a genuine conversation with someone you’ve no interest in sleeping with. And most importantly of all, find a community. Ever wonder why a supposedly hot button news story is boring and doesn’t seem to apply to you? It’s because you’ve no dog in the fight. Becoming part of the non-Facebook community, you will find yourself caring about the trash that seems to be accumulating at the park you go to, or why someone just asked you, “Does this smell like pot to you?” before blowing a healthy amount into your face in public. (or an unhealthy amount depending on your disposition). You may find yourself receiving real life comments and likes in person.