I first started using Facebook in July of 2007 when it was an upstart social network trying to get the Cool Kids to dump MySpace. Since then, that platform has gone from a quaint place to chat with your friends to a monolith that tracks you across the Interwebz, basically spies on you if you don’t have your Privacy settings set just right, and might or might not have helped threaten our democracy. They also have done a truly horrendous job in the Diversity and Inclusion department, inexcusable for a company as big and powerful as Facebook. So yeah, in a lot of ways Facebook has turned into that hooligan down the block who you just want to beat the tar out of, not for any specific reason but that you’re sure he damn well did something to deserve it.
I won’t go into all that is wrong with Facebook here, if you use it you probably have your own set of gripes with the platform. If you spend any time online or watching cable news, you’ve no doubt seen stories that try to associate “evil” with the Facebook logo. Suffice it to say that in Facebook’s case, the bigger they got, the worse they became.
A Social Media Miracle
But every once in a while, like that hooligan down the street who only grabbed one piece of candy out of the plastic pumpkin at Halloween, Facebook goes back to its roots and gives its users the simple chance to see what’s going on with their friends and maybe even reconnect. It doesn’t happen as often as many of us would like, but when it does, it is So. Damn. Cool.
I recently posted news of a new venture I’m starting and almost immediately my whole life came flashing before my eyes in likes and comments from people I’ve come to know over the years. It only took most of them one click, but I heard from people I’ve known since elementary school, girls I had wicked crushes on, people who to this day I’m stunned know who I am, folks I’ve worked for, people I hired, folks I fired, and people who fired me. My neighbors clicked, dads whose sons went through Scouting with my boys, people I worked with in almost every job I’ve had, and so many more chimed in. I heard from current clients, former clients, and my “brothers and sisters in sound” from the radio and record industries. Oh yeah, and relatives. Can’t forget the relatives.
A Better Facebook?
For at least one post, the kinder, gentler Facebook came back from the ashes. No name-calling, no political vitriol, no disrespect. I don’t know Mark Zuckerberg, but I would venture to guess that was closer to what he had in mind when he came up with the Facebook concept.
Facebook may be evil, but with a little work we, its users, can at least partially return it to its place as a harmless and fun distraction, something we need as we barrel into year two of Lockdown. Celebrate your tribe’s victories and console them on their defeats. Check the list of birthdays when you log in and take a few seconds to pass along birthday wishes to even your most casual friends, something I admit I don’t do enough. Post something funny, ironic, or offbeat. Comment on a post or picture you like. There are a ton of things you can do to make everyone’s time on Facebook less stressful, less confrontational, and yes, less evil.