Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Friends and "Friends"

Last night I was floating around Facebook, as I am wont to do of an evening, when I saw a post that struck me immediately as reprehensible. Wait, maybe that's overreacting.Troublesome. Nope, not enough. Okay, it just blew my mind.

I pondered how to react. Or, if I even needed to. This person was not a close personal friend, but rather an acquaintance I know well enough to consider a person of goodwill. (Perhaps not anymore.) But this comment was made as a part of a conversation of which I was not a part. The audience was this person's own circle of friends.

Hmm. What I read was not an invitation for me to jump in, much as I was tempted. It was more as though I'd heard a noise in someone's backyard, took it upon myself to peek over their fence, and then got offended by what I saw. There's a distinction, isn't there?

And so I didn't get into a fight. Although I did go so far as to register my puzzlement. I mention this not only to pat myself on the back (I haven't always been so restrained) but also to share my musings on the differing levels of engagement we have on social media, and what this means.

What are the boundaries? How good are we at navigating the fine line between friends and "friends"? Does social media give us the feeling that we get to have a vote on anything and everything that people around us are saying and doing? If so, does that distort our perspective and our relationships with others?

Live and learn, or so they say. But social media has forever altered how we live and learn. While I made the conscious choice last night to walk on by, that doesn't mean I didn't learn anything. If this person ever decides to run for local office, I know now that I'd be extremely concerned about how they'd govern and who they think they would be representing.

So, not a total loss. Just another educational evening on Facebook.



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