Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Recovering Liberal's Facebook Experience

The following account is excerpted from Robin of Berkeley's latest contribution to American Thinker:

There is a fascinating article from the UK about teenagers going through withdrawal when their wiring was removed for a day. Even though the kids had a landline phone and a book, they still suffered like any addict. They all had overwhelming cravings; one youngster reported itching like a crack head.

Of course, it's not just teens who are hooked these days, but people of every age. While the ever present wiring is altering brain cells, what's more disturbing is the effect on society.

Human beings are not designed to be busy all of the time. I heard a spiritual teacher once say that wisdom is found in the moment between two thoughts. It's only during those blessed moments of quiet when we hear God....

When I finally succumbed and got DSL, I couldn't believe how fast a computer could be -- and all the junk out there. The crap on YouTube -- OMG; a real title: "Watch me lance a boil!" And then there are web sites with violent porn that would make the Marquis de Sade blush.

I have stayed far away from any social networking site for as long as I could. From what I was gathering, incessant Facebooking was turning many minds to mush (not to mention inciting riots and insurrection). But a couple of months ago, I signed on to see what all the fuss was about it.

Facebook makes it super simple to register and within minutes I was one of the gazillion members. Then it happened -- suddenly, out of nowhere, a ton of smiling pictures appeared.

There were old friends, new friends, neighbors, and people of unknown origin. How in the world did Facebook accomplish this strange feat?

Then I realized to my shock and horror that the site had accessed all of my email contacts. I was aghast; had I forfeited my right to privacy the minute I signed up?

My eyes fixed on a photo of Susan, an old, dear friend who stopped talking to me during the presidential election. We had an email fight about Obama, and I never heard from her again. And yet there was Susan smiling at me, reminding me of the destruction that election wrought.

And I saw Leslie, a close family member who, for no good reason, has recently stopped talking to my husband and me. I've tried to reason with her, but she remains in a huff. Yet Leslie was happily hugging her cat, an in-my-face reminder of something that upsets me every time I think about it (thanks, Facebook!).

It was like a walk down memory lane -- a really bad and unpleasant walk. It felt like one of those nightmares where you're in your pajamas amongst a large gathering of people. I wasn't expecting to see Susan or Leslie or any of them for that matter. And yet, through the wizardry of Facebook, there they stood.

And then I had an even more horrifying thought: not only was I getting their info, but they were getting mine. At this very moment, dozens of people were learning that I was now on Facebook.

I would soon be deluged with offers to be friended by my friends and by my friends' friends. Given that I have spent my entire life learning how to set boundaries with people, the idea of all these humans flooding my life was more than I could bear.

And that's when I did something that may never been done in the history of Facebook. I frantically searched around, and found my way to a wondrous link that read: Delete account permanently. And this is exactly what I did, five minutes after beginning. And just like magic, all of the smiling faces disappeared....

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