Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Facebook Controlling What We See

I sometimes wonder if social networking is not such a good thing.  It's nice to acknowledge someone's birthday, share photos with friends and family, and engage in meaningful social discourse over politics and policies; but it also comes with a cost.  From coveting our friends vacation destinations, celebrity connections, to social miscues of not being invited to another friend's party, to the despair of cyber-bullying, it brings the full range of both positive and negative behavior.  And this is what we do to ourselves.

When we read that Facebook is experimenting on us, determining whether we see more positive vs. negative posts, then we might want to reconsider the value it brings and whether the animal has broken free too many times from the pen. 

Facebook, Instagram, and other social networking apps are a great sharing opportunity but do we have to be so open to what we share.  Are we doing it to satisfy ourselves or to let the world know just how exciting our life is.  Or should I say, how much more our life is than your life.  Is that the ultimate reason we share?  Psychologists could have a field day understanding why we post and engage in such an open way.  I frankly don't want to read that you visited Dunkin Donuts although I am sure that Dunkin Donuts loves it.  I do love seeing pics of family and friends and to see news of graduations, weddings, and babies.  What that line in the sand is between sharing and boasting is not a clear one.  And perhaps we need to do a better job determining which posts get viewed by which of our groups - family, friends, and acquaintances. 

But I don't need Facebook determining for me what I see or inundating me with too many ads that clutter my feed. Let me decide who can see what I post and what I want to see.  I'm starting to be more careful what I post these days.  And maybe, just maybe, we will all get tired of "eavesdropping" on other peoples' lives through social networking and concentrate more on leading our own lives.