14 March 2009

The Narcissism of your Facebook Friend...or perhaps, yourself

From "The Death of Facebook"
Relevant Magazine
Brett McCracken

"I like seeing the dissonance between someone’s facial expression and or body language and what they are saying"

"Whatever happened to that wonderfully unsteady sense of mystery, that awkward flubbing around in relationships that used to characterize “getting to know” someone?"

"Human beings are far, far more complex and wonderful than their status updates and “ingredient listing” profile pages. And it is far more rewarding and profound to get to know someone in an unsafe, slightly uncertain and awkward way than to rigorously research them and pretend to know them via all the accumulated Internet data on them."

To rigorously research someone. A temptation, either because "I heard from him that she said that he was..." (and you just have to know who this person is) or to stave off boredom.
But consider that phrase "rigorously research someone." That's just plain creepy. And it's you. And it's me. Doing the research. Being research. Why? To "know" people? Is it because we care deeply for their souls, for the way they live their lives...is it because we wish to come alongside and share in their sorrows and carry their burdens?

Probably not.
Because were that the case, you would do far more than "rigorous research." You would pick up the phone and talk. Go out for coffee. Take a trip to Walmart with them. You would get to know them in that awkward, "slightly uncertain" way.

I have had direct experience this past week with that "wonderfully unsteady sense of mystery" that comes with getting to know someone. And in part, it had to do with a transition from being a "facebook friend" to a person with whom I speak face to face. It is wonderful. (But I must admit, that Facebook has its place. In moderation, it can be a tool, but one must wield it with wisdom)

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