I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem with Facebook is it suffers from SoundBytus, which is a debilitating dis-ease resulting from the Internet and 24-hour news gathering outlets having made us dependant upon the reliance on Sound Bites. In our insatiable pursuit of information, we want as much detail as possible in as little time and words possible. We often sacrifice expediency for detail, context, elaboration and summation.
CNN, FoxNews, and CNET have had 20 years practice in delivering ideas as succinctly as possible– yet we common newbies naively attempt this and– more often then not– fail miserably.
This results in miscommunication, misspeaking, insufficient explanations (not to mention the disastrously-failed attempts at irony, sarcasm, hyperbole, humor, satire, double-entendre, and my personal favorite: reductio ad absurdum), etc., that inevitably lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, inaccurate labellings, and possible shunning and de-friending. Whenever we encounter such attempts on Facebook, we should keep in mind WHY the person was “friended” in the first place and remember that “what is in our hearts” is what truly matters– and that core of our humanity is at the mercy of our communication skills.
For some reason, our friends who read our missives often do so without any filtration whatsoever. Our sound bytes are consumed with the same expectation of perfection as any professional source. By a sort of Pass-Fail measurement, our words are judged purely on face-value. They pass muster or they don’t. They are accepted or they are damned– and the person behind the words are often treated in the same way. Why on earth would someone hold my awkward writing to the same vetting as that of George Will, Charles Krauthammer, or even our local newspaper reporter?
… probably for the same reason I have done the same to others.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been at the mercy of this phenomenon. I have seen friends try to communicate very complex points of view in such a way that made me wonder why in the world I could have ever endured being in the same room– let alone allow them to become a dear, dear friend. I have stood by and watched my own words be misinterpreted, judged, and defamed by friends in such a way that I am sure they wondered the same about me. I would not be surprised if they went to the seemingly-logical next step of de-friending me.
I have been called everything from ill-informed, misguided and uneducated, to sexist, bigoted, and misogynistic. As a result of some of my posts, I have no doubt that I have triggered prayer chains for my soul and those of my children. All from my attempts to succinctly communicate a thought or position I have in regard to something I encountered during my day.
It often makes me wonder WHY I continue my association with Facebook. Yet, I do continue, learning once again that more-times-than-not, it is better to “just click LIKE and move on.”
[For the record, I am an intelligent, responsible, God-fearing man. I pay my taxes, serve on committees at church, donate to charities, and I love my family and friends. I try to live by the motto: Do no harm. I just also have the audacity to write down my thoughts.]