Facebook: What Happened?

It seems like the social media website Facebook has turned from a place to keep up to date with family and friends to some dark water sponge of reposting pictures with quirky slogans.

I first started my account when I was a section editor for my college newspaper. It was just easier to keep tabs on my writers and friends. This was the weird year of 2008 when Facebook finally smashed  MySpace into oblivion. It was a fun site to be on. Updates where usually funny, or informative. And it was not limited like the now popular Twitter is in regard to pictures, blogs and so forth.

Now, when I do log on to the site, it’s mostly reposts of pictures. It has become what I hated about MySpace, it’s become a giant commercial. And I find that extremely obnoxious. And to some extent, I have fallen into that trap. I repost things I find funny. I play the digital crack that is “Words With Friends.” But the latter I usually play on my phone. Which is probably going to be another sad blog on how technology is really distancing us from reality.

Which it is. When we go on “social networks,” there is very little socializing. We play games or look at pictures and if someone we know has a birthday, we half-heartedly wish them well. I’m surprised at how much this has escalated in such little time.

Then there is my biggest annoyance: politics. I hate reading liberal and conservative gibberish posted by people who basically have no clue what they are talking about. Part of my job is to follow politics all day, every day. I read the Associated Press news wire for content to put in the newspaper. So I think I have a fairly good grasp on what’s going on politically in this world, untainted by pundits regurgitating these stories with their own personal political twist. So when I do log onto “The Book” and read ill-informed rants and posts by people whose jobs certainly are not to follow news as closely as I do, I get a bit cranky.

I mean, since when has everyone I know become a constitutional scholar, an economist and a political strategist? And when I read their goofy posts, my blood boils. I have corrected facts to people who are Tea Party folks and 9/11 Truthers. And they don’t like it. But when you dispense half-truths mixed with fantasy and post it as fact, I get annoyed. I get annoyed because as someone in the media, I want my information or the information I report on to be unbiased and 100 percent truth. It’s too easy to make things up and pass it as fact because nine times out of 10, no one will really check it out.

Don’t people communicate with one another on these sites anymore? Sure, posting ads for your views technically is communicating, but it seems three years ago there was much more online contacting than there is now. I know what people are listening to on Spotify, how many points earned in some game or where they are hanging out, but that seems to be it. I would be grateful just to see a “Hey, how are you doing?” posted more often. But I rarely see that. I still chat with friends via IM, but not as often as I use to. I have a few friends left that I IM with on a usual basis, but it seems like I use to do that more often with more people. And I acknowledge I am just as much part of this problem as anyone else.

The real question is, what is the solution to this? Do we continue to devolve into puppets reposting slogans or do we finally rub our eyes and wake up from this digital nap we’ve been on for so many years.

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