Oh Facebook, you’re such a piece of junk. Your ability to reach out and substantially change the national, or even global conversation is nothing short of amazing. Your reach is so great. At the same time, never has a tool been more capable of isolating and driving apart friends and family.
Do you remember in the past how you didn’t really know that your Uncle Joe had really horrible feelings about people who utilize EBT because you pretty much only saw him at Christmas or Thanksgiving? Remember being able to complain about your job with your friends without your job hearing about it? All that is done with, online.
When discussing which superpowers someone wants pretty much nobody with the ability to think of consequences beyond the immediate chooses telepathy. We don’t generally want to know everything that our friends and family think. We’d much rather like them, frankly, and we’re pretty aware that some of that is dependent on not knowing what they’re thinking just impulsively around the clock.
But hey, now you can. Facebook is the next step of being plugged directly into the impulsive thoughts of our friends and relatives, and them being plugged into yours. Which can be sort of great when you really want a soapbox. Or can be kind of horrible when you really want a soapbox.
It’s sort of like that Thanksgiving where your sister came out to the whole family. Things were a damn mess for a long time after that. Your mom and dad threw her out of the house, remember? Your little brother said a whole bunch of really hateful shit. But, the bright side was they came around.
It took a couple years, but everybody reconciled. Your parents found out that their daughter being gay around their son didn’t “turn him gay.” Your little brother eventually went on to head up his high school’s chapter of PFLAG.
Well okay, not everybody reconciled. Your aunt still says awful things. Things are still pretty tense with your older brother and the rest of the family. You have hope that he’ll come around, though. When your family went to the marriage equality rally to support your sister everybody quietly noticed his absence.
So, maybe Facebook is like that. It’s sort of tense there right now. A lot of people are finding out either that the people they love harbored a little more bigotry and a bit less compassion than was hoped for, or are finding out that the people they thought of as “other, “wrong,” or “weird” are actually the people who sit across from them at the table, or a cubicle down. Or whatever.
Maybe we can reconcile that, though. It certainly isn’t going to happen if we all block each other, or if we never say anything.