Sunday, January 8, 2012
Facebook and Charity
Facebook is a destroyer of Charity. No, you will not convince me otherwise. I am quite sure of this. As soon as that familiar cornflower blue "F" comes up, the gloves come off. If you are looking for a fight, all you have to do is log onto Facebook, especially during an election year or, heaven forbid, a full moon during an election year. The things that people say to one another are amazing!
Fighting on Facebook is the equivalent of having a brawl at a cocktail party. It's public and everyone can see it (no matter how tight your privacy settings are). People say things that they would never say to a person's face (I am guilty, as charged.). They drag outside parties into the fight, too. It's like that iconic bar fight scene in any Western. It starts out with two guys and pretty soon everyone's involved and the piano player is getting hit over the head with a bottle.
You know, if you had a fight like this at a party, someone would go to jail. I'm serious!! If that person were standing in front of you and all the same things were said, punches (or at least hard objects) would be thrown. Blood pressure goes up. Sleep is lost. Friendships and family relationships are damaged. Is keeping in touch with your old friends from high school really worth all this? Is having the last word worth sacrificing your health and the feelings of everyone around you?
Sure, you could just use it for positive posts, but what you see as positive, may be viewed by someone else as contentious. And whatever happened to not talking about sex, religion or politics in public. This is public, people!! You can't get much more public!
I have a priest friend who hates Facebook. He says that he has seen more family problems arise from Facebook than any other single source in the last few years. It has caused marital problems, fights between siblings, misunderstandings between friends and out-and-out wars between people who don't even know each other, but have a mutual friend. In addition, things that are said on Facebook will frequently bleed over into real life violence. I was upset one day over a fight that I had with my sister and he said, "Don't tell me this had something to do with Facebook or I'll scream." I didn't want him to scream so I didn't say anything else. It was Facebook.
Remember, hiding behind that smiling picture of your family member, friend or acquaintance (or their family member, friend or acquaintance), there is a real, live, breathing, feeling and thinking human being. Act accordingly. If you wouldn't say it to their face, you shouldn't be typing it on Facebook. Read your comment again before you hit post. Read the whole thread to make sure you really understood what it said. If your comment gives you pause, hit cancel, instead. If you really feel that something must be addressed in Christian charity, write to the person privately and don't embarrass them in public. Just like you wouldn't correct someone in front of the whole party, don't correct them on a Facebook wall or a News Feed.
I'm not giving up my Facebook anytime soon, mind you. I enjoy keeping in touch with my friends and family who are far away from me. But, things that offend me are getting deleted or hidden.