Facebook: Maybe I Shouldn’t Know

I’ve been on the interwebs for a while. Yes, this ugly mistress and I go back quite a ways. There have been times when I’ve tried to ignore her beguiling charms but she always finds a way to sink her hastily applied Lee Press On Nails into my back and draw me in. It was nice back then: I could use my username and remain pretty anonymous.

Social networking changed all that. Now people know when I post something to any of my sites (irregularly), what my mood is (crabby), when I crave a honey bun (constantly), and almost anything else. It all seemed like pretty simple, innocuous fun. But Facebook finds a way to punch you in the groin and makes you question whether or not this was such a good idea in the first place.

My problem with this networking platform (and with the internet in general) is that, maybe, I’m learning too much about people. It used to be that I could live in ignorant bliss about someone’s sexual preferences, religious beliefs or political leanings. If I met a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, I wouldn’t know if they were conservative, liberal, right-wing, left-wing, Anonymous or a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Now the interwebs has given everyone with an internet connection or a cell phone the ability to broadcast whatever they want to say, however they want to say it.

Just as a quick reminder: More likely than not, your religion is not my religion and your politics is not necessarily my politics.

But it is somewhat hypocritical, isn’t it? I’ve been writing here and elsewhere for years spouting my opinion without regard for what anyone else thinks. Am I back to Digital Elitism, some belief that because I used to hop onto the net using a 300 baud Hayes modem I have more of a right to the mental vomit on the ‘net than someone who is just learning how to use Microsoft Word?

Yeah, I don’t care if I am. But that’s the basis for most of what I do online – trying to remain religiously, politically and sexually agnostic in the digital world. It’s simple, isn’t it? It’s considerably safer to treat people online the same way you would treat them in the real world. Of course, I’ve had that backfire on me as well. At least one place where I used to frequent told me to fuck off when I left. Way to go, friends. Maybe being the ‘nice guy’ doesn’t always work. Or maybe they were just shallow friends in name only rather than people I thought I could count on.

But I digress. Facebook has definitely allowed me to keep in touch with a lot of people and renew friendships. I suppose I’ll just come to accept the fact that people will say what they want to say…and they’ll have to put up with whatever crap comes out of my pie hole.