our social networking presence

May 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

As with most fortunate (or unfortunate?) people with internet access these days, I have been using my only social networking site (you guessed it, Facebook) as a means to get news…be it from my primary school friends I have not seen in ages or from entities I choose to “follow” because I think the things they post are either relevant or downright amusing.  And because my network provider somehow charges less within Facebook versus when I use my browser, I find myself reading comments most of the time if I want to assess if a link is worth pressing or not.  If you’ve been doing the same, you would have likely noticed the obvious trends in these so called “threads”.  There are people who give affirmation, and people who express their disagreement.  Now affirmation is almost a neutral comment, except in cases when you offer additional insights and it so happens that the issue at hand is controversial.  You will probably get your share of “haters”.  On the other hand, expressing disagreement can either earn you affirmation by fellow dissidents or people telling you to “shut the fuck off if you have nothing good to say”.  Personally, I have never been one to add my own personal comments on public posts, save for a few exceptions.  And in those exceptions, I’ve noticed that I leave those positive neutral ones.  Perhaps other than the fact that I do not want the bothersome notifications, I honestly see it as a waste of time to embroil myself in online public discussions.  As I usually see it, I do not waste my time mocking grammatical errors of other people, nor do I see the need to challenge other people’s opinions especially when they are working on completely flawed premises.  In addition, I find it so foolish when people comment on something obviously without reading the article first, verifying its veracity, or even simply basing on previous comments.  These days everyone wants to give their two cents, and self-proclaimed “netizen” police will gladly take you down when they deem you stupid or out of line.  Me thinks I will spare myself from possible online slaughter.  BUT, it was in the middle of reading one of these comment threads that I realized (the obvious) that social networking sites have become a microcosm of reality…if not reality itself.  “Experts” may insist on so-called social media ethics, but the truth is, some people online are literally extensions of what they are IRL.  And in this realization, I suddenly thought that there is actually a fine line between apparently following the unspoken etiquette and just being plain apathetic.  The way I see it, there are two prominent ways to be “cool”…become totally inactive online, or to be too active online.  The latter one has always been deemed as damaging, I think most people would agree to that.  But the former one usually gets the positive light.  However, historically, extremes have never been solely good.  There is always something beneath that fold, which is why the safest place has always been the middle ground.  Not that I’m espousing living a life of boring safety, but my only point is that being totally inactive may actually be encouraging apathy.  Those times that I think I am merely being neutral and open and “cool”, I might actually just be exercising a new form of social apathy.  And though I would have loved to explore this theory in more depth, the quagmire that my mind is currently at implores me to save it for next time.  This argument actually opens up further discussion about our responsibilities in owning social networking sites.  But I will leave this to social scientists.  After all, I am just another person expressing my unsubstantiated musings…just like so many other people out there.


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