The other day I found myself posting my condolences on an old acquaintances Facebook wall and later thought to myself, why? I know them only coincidentally through a friend, whom I don’t even speak with anymore, and even back then our relationship (if you want to call it that) was merely a, “Hey, how’s it going?” type of thing. So why the sudden urge to unofficially become their online support group and think that my words of sympathy have any affect on their emotions towards their newly deceased relative? I didn’t know their grandmother, nor did know the existence or non-existence of my friends relationship with them.
This also made me question the “LIKE” button that Facebook offers its users. When we click that little button and see the iconic “thumbs up” symbol, what does it really mean? Am I just showing this person that I’ve acknowledged and read their status? What does it even matter to them if I have or not? Or what if I “like” it, but don’t leave a comment? What does that say about me? Did I not have anything nice to say? Did I want them to know that I took the time to read it, but didn’t want to seem like I’m too interested in what they have to say? And is it really OK to “like” a status pertaining to the death of your family pet? Or that you’ve dislocated your wrist? I’ve never understood the proper etiquette of using “like” and why it even exists.
When I see someone “like” a rather negative status, be it a death in the family or your newfound knowledge of the incurable disease your brother’s mother-in-law’s, sister has been diagnosed with, I often think to myself, “Is that really something to be ‘liked’?” How would you feel like you’ve got 32 “likes” on the mishap you had with a creditor that left you bankrupt? Would it then lead to a type of selfless worth, where you feel everyone is happy for your misfortune? Did you ever think about that?
And speaking of which, why do people even feel the need to post things like- “Just filed for bankruptcy.” Is this something you really want people to know? Are you just seeking sympathy? A reaction? Are you hoping someone will bail you out, or be the new signee for the car you just had repossessed and can’t replace because your credit has now gone to shit?
Social media platforms, such as Facebook, give us not only the grounds to become psychiatrists, medical practitioners, and electrical engineers, who we turn to for advice, but it’s allowing us to believe it. As a society, we’ve become obsessed with checking our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., on a daily, 24/7 basis, seeking the reactions of millions of other people all the while giving our own insights into things we shouldn’t even be tapping into. Instead of leaning on an actual friend or family member for support during hard times, or even the good ones, we reach out to the rest of the universe in hopes to get the response we’re looking for. What does that say about us as a whole?
But as the years carry on, we’ll all continue to adapt and succumb to new media platforms and steer away from reality, slipping slowly into a digital world.