Over the last while – especially the last few weeks – people that were Facebook friends, have decided to unfriend others and myself. Why? Because it seems in part that we dare to share information they don’t like, don’t agree with or just ask people to examine a matter and draw their own conclusions. Daring to ask others to think for themselves is apparently a reason now to dump someone.
One Facebook post I put up (HERE) instantly lost me two friends as they read it soon after it went up – and one or two more later. What was offensive about the post? I basically was asking for people to not be so rude to others and try to agree to disagree with others a bit more. Such a polite request mentioned, lost me friends. Go figure!
On Facebook I do have some great friends that although they always or never agree with my own thoughts, they absolutely respect that others and I have a right to hold our own opinions and share them. Even though they might disagree with me, I too would fight for them to have the right to disagree with me. I have stated this any times. Still, this too has lost me friends. How dare others and I be so open-minded and allow others to challenge our views! “I’m outa here…” There goes another Facebook friend!
On my page I share news items without comment. I post them often just to that (a) people can read them (b) because otherwise they might be missed by a busy person during the day and (c) they might contain some information that is relevant to ongoing events of the day, week or month. For doing this – remember – without even a comment added – I have lost Facebook friends. Why? Apparently for simply posting news items that unintentionally even dares to challenge the thinking of individual others, I must be “a foe” and thus abandoned. As far as some are concerned you are either with them – or against them totally. Grey areas in between, be damned!
It seems now that posting items and letting people think for themselves upon a matter after they might have gained a further nugget of information from a shared item, is grounds for abandonment also. Praises are sung by those that agree fanatical with a matter but should someone share something that might challenge their own fanatical thinking, it’s abandon-ship time again.
Same people that ‘jump ship’ often claim to be “free thinkers” – fair enough – but if you or I “free think” and it doesn’t match their own? Yes, you guessed it, bye bye Facebook friend and off they go in a huff about you!
Sadly, the internet as good as it is a lot of the time for keeping people informed and together, it is just as effective in keeping others well misinformed and is able to bring about the breaking up of others. There are many people out there on the internet that seems to operate with split personalities. One for the net and one for real life, street life.
I have seen this before. Having worked in the bar trade for nearly 20 years alone, I have seen many people – lovely people – take a few drinks to many or take a single drink and then it’s like a switch has flipped inside their head. They become another character altogether. In part, there is a reason for this. “Alcohol” is an actual classed drug. It can create a mind altering chemical change. Thus in some people, the character switch.
Regarding the internet, no drug as such is ingested. Specialists have speculated that some people using the internet, sometimes create their own increase or decrease levels of certain chemicals within their own body, be it Serotonin or other body and mind components that can help to swing the mood and character of a person. Just as a gambler might get a brain induced chemical high as they win and deep depression as they lose, the internet user might gain their own inner chemical creations or fluctuations like that of a hormone working away.
The outcome of this sometimes, is the internet/street life personality. Nice people turn into keyboard warriors and trolls. some just get too sensitive and too aggressive. Some get so caught up in a direct line of thinking, they head first, dive ‘down a deep rabbit hole‘ as it’s often said, that they cannot see a larger possible picture around themselves regarding matters – and often even refuse to even look at other items that might dare challenge their strict, blinkered thinking. Only, they don’t or can’t, see it as stricter thinking! Irony coming from some free thinkers…
One example of this type of behavior was when I posted through a single Facebook posting, the idea – just the idea – that maybe our medical specialists should be more trusted than our politicians. A crazy notion from myself? Apparently one thought so. A long existing real life friend who since the beginning of our friendship, having met my whole family many times, agreed with me on hundreds of things.
They were someone I had financially helped (never asked for it back), that I had stood by while their marriage broke up, that I sometimes fed when times were hard for them and had their back in many ways when others shunned them, had produced leaflets and posters for, had traveled extensively with, had even given them a bike to get around on (I’m never getting that back either, it seems), that had grown to know my whole family, etc, suddenly mentally flipped because of a Facebook posting – and now I was nothing less than an utter enemy of everything they thought.
I was suddenly “anti-freedom“, an oppressor to one and all – and should only be seen in light or cahoots with political parties that for decades I have exposed for their mega wrong doings. The once friend had completely personality flipped on me and others. Across the internet they suddenly ‘jumped ship’ from a long existing friendship. Crazy stuff indeed? That’s Facebook and the internet for you… Just when you think you know someone, social media has it’s own effect on friendships…
The Future Of Social Media Users?
People say to me that “Facebook is one of the worst things to ever exist“. They are right some of the time – absolutely right – because at times it brings out the worst characteristics of people. They say things on the internet that they wouldn’t dare say to people’s real faces – including my own. I have had local Drogheda people outright insulting not just myself on the internet through insulting postings but also outright aggressively insulting my wife and kids.
Days or weeks later when they meet me in a local highstreet, they run away, cross a road quickly like a coward. I have been insulted by such people many, many times across the internet – but NOT ONCE in decades has any of them had the guts to say such things to my face or to the face of my wife or children. Split personalities again – many that hide behind fake names – with an added dose of cowardice.
So yes, Facebook (and other social media platforms) can manage to be an evil – but in full discussion and truth, same platforms have also allowed many people to connect, to feel less lonely, to be able to share far more information, to access far more information, has allowed government and crooked elected to become more exposed for their wrongs, has created great fundraising opportunities, has allowed people and issues to be greater highlighted where rotten people would rather try keep them hidden. Such platforms when used right, have created definite positives.
Facebook and other social media platforms have been both a devil and a godsend. What makes the difference between one and the other, is down to ourselves – how we, individually and collectively, treat each other while on it! As more and more governments or individual elected now try to crack down on the sharing of information they don’t like, part of their excuse for such crackdowns, is they say, the insulting content and aggressive tones of people on such media.
People’s bad behavior in the short term and the long term, is doing themselves no favours. They are giving others the ‘bullets‘ for a political ‘gun‘ that later will be used in turnaround, to shoot back at them – or even bring about a situation where insulting postings end up shooting themselves in the foot! Names and reputations have been ruined by a single posting (never mind a good few) and haunted/ruined others for life. It’s food for thought that more people really should dwell on – especially before they internet post and attack at personal level.
The best a person can do, therefore when using Facebook and other social media. is be true to themselves. Try to maintain the same character behavior they would have in real life and extend that character to Facebook, etc. Not have a split personality complex as a few sadly do. The rest of us meanwhile, should just accept that friends sadly come and go and there is nothing more peculiar than people – including ourselves.
For this now lengthy posting, it’s likely that someone will disagree with it and me – and yes, abandon myself from a Facebook friendship they prior had with me. I’m sorry to see anyone go but I too must continue to be true to myself. Free thinkers must accept that other thinkers should be free to share their thinking too. Those that don’t accept this? They will abandon you and me in Facebook friendship. Sadly, so it must be.
Good mental health everyone.
20 year barman. Re-educated as an I.T. professional, website creator, I.T teacher, digital media management & marketing professional. Studied accountancy, taxation, business management & law. Founder of UnitedPeople political party – click here. Previously the first National Chairman of Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI) & founder of the Louth branch of DDI. Author. Regular contributor to social media. TV & radio guest experiences. Appeared in the Oireachtas & Dublin Highcourts to defend the rights of citizens along with exposing many wrongs. Consistently seeks greater democracy & accountability from all elected levels of Ireland. Currently writing two books, non-fiction “Life Behind Bars” & “Better Tomorrows“.