I just wanted to share this picture with everyone. I posted it to my Facebook profile on last night and I’ve received alot of positive feedback. It’s a simple lesson that we all must be reminded of daily. Enjoy!
It’s safe to say that Facebook has changed the way the world communicates. Whether you’re rich, middle class, popular or unpopular, the one common denominator that brings us together is that we’re all on Facebook.
I joined Facebook in the fall of 2005; which would’ve been during my third year of college. Back then, it was designed solely for college students. Pretty soon, the site was open to everyone.
The initial goal of Facebook was, and is, to connect people worldwide. I used to think it was so cool to reconnect with people that I hadn’t seen in years and over time it became the most reliable means of communication with my friends. If I needed to touch base with someone about a particular matter then I would just hit them up on Facebook. Today, I contact more people via Facebook than I do by telephone or e-mail. It’s amazing how quick it took for everyone to catch on. Anyone of any significance in the music, sports and entertainment industry has a Facebook account. Employers even use it to screen potential employees and every major politician uses it to spread their political agenda.
There is no question that Facebook has done alot of good in the world. On the other hand, it could be argued that it has made our culture more self-absorbed than ever.
This past summer, Sarah B. Weir, a blogger for Yahoo!, posted the excellent article, “10 Things You Don’t Know About Teens and Social Networking.” She interviewed several teens in order to learn about their experiences. Here is what she discovered:
There’s more ‘life’ happening online than offline. If you are not online, you are completely out of the loop–you don’t have a life, you don’t really exist.”
–Hannah, 13 years old
“I’m online even during class. I’m supposed to be taking notes but instead I’m commenting on stuff and uploading pictures.”
–Emma, 14 years old
“I feel safer online than I do offline. So I do things online that I wouldn’t do in real life.”
–Sadie, 14 years old
“I’ve become very good at taking pictures of myself. I know what angle is best, I know how to part my lips…you know. It’s like the number one thing on my mind is ‘I need to get home right now and take a new profile picture.’ All because I want someone to comment on how I look.”
–Katie, 15 years old
“Social networking affects all the things you do in real life now. Like, if you go to a party, one of the most important aspects of going to the party is to document yourself for online posts. You have to prove you were looking good, you were having fun, and that you were actually there! It’s not about the party anymore but about the pictures of the party.”
–Caroline, 14 years old
“I feel sad, depressed, jealous, or whatever when I don’t get a lot of “Likes” on my photo or when someone else gets way more Likes than me. Honestly, I’m not sure that parents realize how drastically it affects our self-image and confidence. If I see a picture of a really pretty girl, it’s like ‘Goodbye self-esteem.’ It forces me to compete and do stuff that I don’t want to do, so my confidence will get a boost.”
–Samantha, 14 years old
“Sometimes I feel like I’m losing control. I want my parents to tell me to get off the computer. Actually, they would need to literally take the computer away because I can’t stop myself.”
–Nina, 15 years old
“My friendships are really affected by social networking. You have to constantly validate your friends online. And everyone’s like ‘Where were you?’ ‘What have you been doing?’ ‘Why haven’t you commented on my picture yet?’ So you have to be online all the time, just to keep track, so you don’t upset anyone.”
–Jasmine, 13 years old
“There is so much pressure to look happy all the time-you can never just be yourself– because everybody is always taking pictures and posting them.”
–Nikki, 13 years old
“I really want my mom to be proud of me. Obviously, I want her to think I’m writing my essay or doing things I should be doing instead of being on Facebook. But I also want to be online. So I lie or accuse her of not trusting me. It’s awful, but I’ve become really comfortable with lying.”
–Maya, 14 years old
Wow. Sounds pretty intense. The saddest part is that many people in my age bracket and older have expereinced those same feelings at one time or another during our journey with Facebook. I’ve been guilty as well!
Over the past few years I’ve joked that no one really attends any event just for the sake of being there. Whether you go to a party, an NFL game, or any other major event, the only thing that matters is if you brought your camera or not. It seems as if people are more concerned with taking as many pictures as possible just to rush home and upload them to their Facebook page and show off to their friends (of which I’m guilty of). The same goes for status updates as well. I often see many people I know post needlessly “deep” updates, knowing full well they don’t even think or act that way in real life. On the flipside, you have those writing any and everything that pops into their head, regardless of how foolish it may sound.
Now there is nothing wrong with taking pictures. I love to take pictures. However, I’m not staring into my bathroom mirror taking a hundred pictures of myself with my shirt off. For one, I do not have that type of impressive physique, and two, I just think it would be a waste of energy to sit around taking numerous pictures of myself! Lol. Most of my status updates revolve around pro wrestling or positive thinking. Since I’m a wrestling fan (check the subtitle of this blog) and a very optimistic person, I’d say that I’m defintely portraying my true self on Facebook.
Sometimes I feel as though Facebook has changed the way we think about ourselves. Does the constant self-promotion help us stay connected? Or, is it simply a tool to make us all more narcissistic and self-centered?
As I checked my Facebook page early this morning, I was shocked at what I saw. It wasn’t the standard barrage of meaningless or self-absorbed status updates (of which I am guilty of at times). It was the unified voice of a generation. My generation to be specific. As I browsed through my news feed (the area where you can see what all of your contacts are talking about) it seemed as if every member of my “Facebook family” was united over the Troy Davis controversy. The interesting part is that the majority of the people I’m connected with on the site are in 20-30 year-old age bracket. Here are a few of the posts:
- Just goes to show how unjust and prejudice OUR judicial system STILL is. RIP Troy Davis.
- RIP Troy Davis #tears.
- God bless his family and give them peace during this moment in time.
- Saddened by the death of an innocent black man, frustrated with the justice system.
- One posted the following Malcolm X quote: If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.
I could write an entire entry consisting of nothing but posts. And these comments weren’t just from other blacks. Blacks and whites took notice of this significant moment in American history. For whatever the reason may be (deeper than the average social injustice), the situation surrounding Troy Davis struck a chord with my generation in a way that few things ever have. Something about Troy Davis and his plight really made people genuinely upset at the justice system of this country. Earlier tonight, filmmaker and activist Michael Moore was a guest on the Current TV news show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann. During the interview he demanded that his recently released book, Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life, be pulled from the state of Georgia.
I profess that I haven’t really been in the loop of this case. I heard the name in the news recently, but I didn’t know the history behind the man and his battle against the legal system in Georgia until yesterday. To put it briefly, Davis was convicted in the murder of an off-duty police officer in 1989 and sentenced to death in 1991. In the ensuing years many witnesses changed or recanted all or part of their testimony. New evidence arose that seriously questioned whether he committed the crime. He successfully stayed three previous execution dates, but after a last minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, he was executed last night at 11:08 p.m.
The entire situation surrounding his execution has really opened up a can of worms pertaining to the racial divide of the American legal system and the purpose of the death penalty in general. One story I read reported that the slain officer’s mother expressed that she would be at peace once Davis was executed. I’ve never lost a loved one due to murder and only she knows deep in her heart if she really believes Davis committed the crime or not. Under any circumstance, I will not judge her for having those feelings. Whether he was truly innocent or not, the general consensus among the American people is that a grave travesty of injustice occurred.
One positive thing to come out of this situation is that young people are talking about important issues again. Instead of using Facebook to vent about a failed relationship or complain about the new layout (which is very confusing), the vast majority of my peers used it as a forum to discuss a relevant social topic.
Social media is a powerful tool that can cause great change when used in the proper context. For those who really feel that an injustice occurred, use Facebook and Twitter as a means to civilly voice your discontentment to your local, state, and national policy makers and members of the judicial system. Several political figures have Facebook and Twitter accounts which are operated by members of their staff ( and some by the actual people themselves). If this situation really matters to you, then do all you can to ensure that another act of injustice such as this will not happen again.
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