The world is flatter and smaller than ever before! What a blessing, right?
As the world shrinks and the miles between us become more and more meaningless, so do our relationships. The nature of friendship has evolved immensely in my lifetime alone, and I can hardly imagine what my ancestors centuries ago might say about the way we treat relationships today.
Valuable friends acquired through years of shared experiences are often diminished to an occasional wall post on Facebook. The same courtesy is extended to the bully whom we dreaded in junior high but have graciously befriended on the world's most influential social media site only so we can offer a meaningless "Happy Birthday" on a day of the year that truly means nothing to us.
Facebook is such a wonderful tool to connect long lost friends, but it just as easily connects total strangers with nothing in common save an alma mater. The relationships we toiled over for years, even decades, to build, have become so easy to maintain that we have stopped trying. And more, we have decided that we might as well treat everyone we have ever met with the same meaningless cordiality. How thoughtful of us!
Ah, but if only it were that wonderful! Facebook not only allows us to establish meaningless connections. It also simplifies relationships so beautifully that we can as easily end relationships with the click of a button. If you say something that hurts my feelings, I no longer have to endure a meaningful dialogue to overcome our differences; I can simply "unfriend" you. Thank God for the convenience associated with the trivializing of relationships!
And when it comes to that pesky family - why, they are just as dispensable as that kid who you think you might remember from elementary school but aren't quite sure! One social/political/religious comment too many, and they are eliminated from your social network in less than five seconds. Whew, that was easy!
At least, even though sticks and stones can break my bones, words can never hurt me. Therefore, when you post whatever you want in front of the entire world without turning on any sort of filter, I will not be affected in any way whatsoever...
In that case, it becomes even more interesting that you intentionally stated that opinion with me in mind with the sole intention of hurting me.
Social warfare has exploded in the last decade thanks to the ease and globalization of communication. I do not want to be a victim of it; I do not want my friends, my family, or my wife to be victims of it; and I certainly do not want my beautiful daughter to be a victim of it in the future.
This "F-bomb" has become the simplest way to destroy social credibility by diminishing the value of genuine relationships and by equating acquaintance with genuine connection.
If you want to use Facebook as a tool to connect with people with whom you might never interact otherwise, first, ask yourself why, and then go for it. If you want to use it to make the management of genuine relationships with friends and family easier, first, ask yourself why, and then pray for the wisdom it takes to give all you need to give to those who deserve to receive it.
I am tired of watching people sabotage relationships with friends and family by dropping the "Facebook bomb" by posting offensive comments, "defriending" one another, liking someone's negative comment about me or someone I care about, not liking my comment or picture that they normally would have liked if they were not upset about something, etc.
I have been hurt; my wife has been hurt; we have hurt other people. Sometimes these hurts occur unintentionally, but more often than not, we know exactly what we are doing. We may be socially inept, but we are not idiots...?