The Cult of ME

There is a virus going around right now. You have probably seen it, or even caught a strain of it yourself. It thrives on your need to be seen and be a little self indulgent and it encourages you to become the vapid narcissist you always accused Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton and Madonna of being. This virus is called Facebook. And it is eating your soul.

I am no judge here, I have fallen victim to it myself, but I have now seen the error of my ways.

In the past few weeks, a harmless little not has been circulating the on line community of my “friends”. It is called 25 Random Things About You… Now, at first glance it is a cute little note in which you share with your friends some little tid-bits that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. When I posted this myself, I was happy to find that my REAL friends already knew all of my so called Random facts. Why? Because they are my friends. I wrote of some quirky habits and that I like to sing. Not real news to anyone who knows me.

Evolution.

In the past four months or so, people that I knew in high school have been “requesting my friendship” on Facebook. Again. At first it was a morbid curiosity to see who got fat, what people looked like 20 years later and see what they were doing. Now, I am a bit put off by it. I think there is a reason i am not friends with most of them anymore. I have nothing in common with them. I have realized this after reading some the random things about these people.

I now know people who: Are scared of ALL Muslims. Think Barack Obama is going to lead America into the 7th ring of Hell. Take pride in the fact that they worked as a “war Contractor” – or War Profiteer as it should be called. Think George W. Bush was someone to be thankful for. Think Global Warming is a “myth”. Belong to the NRA. Think war is the answer. Hate gay people. Have more money and “stuff” than god and complain about the state of the economy. Think that “protecting their children” means hating.

You get where I am going here. If wouldn’t tolerate these people in my “real” life, why am I doing it online? Because we have a shared past? We had the same teacher in the sixth grade? We grew up knowing the same people? I don’t know if it is enough, and I don’t know if I can keep letting myself get upset and annoyed by how ugly some people have become. I don’t claim to be perfect by any means,and i am not intolerant of a “conservative” viewpoint. I just do not understand the need people have to broadcast it to the world.

If you are stupid enough to “publish” your burgeoning relationship on the site – the world knows when you have broken up. Your friends now know that you are shit at scrabble and that you read books like “The Da Vinci Code”. You feel special because yo have so many friends. They know you are a poor speller and they stalk you daily. Possible employers look at your page and wonder about your habits, hobbies and your wife. It’s just all out there and it’s out there because YOU did it.

I know what you are thinking. “Alicia…um…what about this blog?” Well, let me defend myself by saying – FIRST: this was created because I am lazy and didn’t want to email everyone I know when I moved to Europe. SECOND: It is you choice to read it. You have to actually seek it out.

This is not the case on Facebook. I am constantly inundated with peoples every thought and feeling whether I like it or not. That is just plain intrusive. I spent years cultivating a life that is pleasant and that involves positive and uplifting people from all walks of life that share similar and opposing views to my own. Now i feel trapped in these fake friendships that i was fine living without. Sure, I have reconnected with some people on Facebook that I have missed over the years, and I have found the new friendship to be just as rewarding as the old. but, I guess you just don’t know that until you “Accept” them as a friend.

And I guess that’s the point. I don’t know that I do – accept them – that is. And maybe they feel the same way about me.

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7 thoughts on “The Cult of ME

  1. I know what you’re saying. Behavior, I wouldn’t tolerate from a stranger, I am happily tolerating from people I knew when I was 6? What is that saying about me? Are my standards so low that I would allow their hatred and bigotry in to my life, to see my “friend” number tick higher? I feel a mass “de-friending” coming on!

  2. I also have a lot of online ‘friends’ who I knew once upon a time but haven’t seen in years and am likely never to see again, and sometimes I’m quite dismayed at the way some people have turned out, but I have decided to keep them on (for now) kind of as a reminder that there really are people out there who think like that, as I tend not to waste my time being friends with these people in real life, when I look at my rl friends, I’m still able to think that the human race is somewhat decent. Not that I’m unaware that there are bigoted assholes out there in this world, but if those people are complete strangers with no connection to me whatsoever, what they say that upsets me (especially on the internet where people dare to have much bigger mouths than face to face), and any hypothetical response on my part will not really stick, because as a screen name you can just file them under ‘some asshole’, which is much harder to do if you went to kindy together.A friend of mine (real friend) suggested that there should as well as adding people as ‘friends’ you could also add people as ‘enemies’ under categories such as:My Enemys “never was my friend, and never will be”“have we ever even said hi?”“too perfect, and enjoys my misery”“if there was a war, we would be on different sides”I’m sure you can add a few of your own 🙂

  3. Hi there, Alicat. Just one short question: I am a student at the University of Passau. I will be going on a field trip to the Czech Republic, because I want to talk to Americans living in this country. It’s kind of a research project I’m doing. If you are interested in meeting up and doing a short interview (would be much appreciated), get back at me: shadesofgrey[at]arcor[dot]de. I will be in the Czech Republic from February 2 on, and I will be arriving in Prague towards the middle of the week. Cheers, Martin.

  4. I am torn between keeping facebook and ditching it as well. I jumped on the bandwagon for each of the social networking sites as they came along: myspace, Bebo, facebook …I guess the sites appealed to me at first because I’d left a lot of friends behind when I returned to Australia from Scotland, and as a new mum I stuck at home with a baby and NO LIFE it (as the critics suggest!) really filled a gap…But after a while it started consuming so much time…I wondered how I’d turned into such a LOSER…sitting at home looking up other ppl’s exciting lives instead of living my own!! I weaned myself off the sites and now only check facebook these days as it has replaced email for most of my mates o/seas.

  5. I have to admit I find this mildly amusing because remember when I asked you about a particular “friend” from HS who wanted to add me? And you said I should just add her because it was harmless and she would just send me good karma and shit? I ignored her (and the other crazies who came out of the woodwork) for these exact same reasons: I have plenty of friends I WANT to have, I don’t need anymore that I haven’t seen, talked to, or even liked in the last 10 years! But in defense of Facebook… you lie in the bed you make. I ignore friend requests, as well as the 300 daily requests to add flowers to my Little Green Patch and send them back and I don’t feel bad about it. And I’m not offended if you want to ignore that fabulous pair of Christian Louboutins I just send you… so f-ing what, people? It is just like this blog…. if you want to know something about someone, you can seek it out, but you can also just as easily hit delete. Or ignore. Or just not check your account for weeks at a time.

  6. You should post your blog to FB and passive agressively tell people about themselves (not that they would get it). I have SOOOOO much to say about this topic! First…oh wait, someone just wrote on my wall – gotta go, PEACE.

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