Recently, I read an article about how Facebook improves communication skills. It suggests that social networks are practice for gaining “21st century skills needed to be successful in today’s society”. This pushed my buttons just a little bit. I’m all for Facebook just as much as the next person. It is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. But, there is just something so extremely impersonal about the whole thing.
Facebook offers individuals a way to express themselves freely, which is fine, but it also may indirectly call them to be inconsiderate. I’ve found out things about people that I didn’t want or need to know just by browsing through my news feed. It goes from extreme comments, to mundane information, to something that should be said in person. On the same page I can find out that one friend just made a sandwich or another is dying of cancer. Looking at my own personal experiences of how my friends have communicated with me through Facebook — purposely or not — has left me feeling very unimportant and disconnected.
For one example, my boyfriend of three years broke up with me publicly, via Facebook, by simply changing his relationship status. Not only was it completely insulting that this was not said in person but it was open for everyone to view. Recently a good friend of mine was in a tragic accident. She died shortly thereafter. Instead of having someone track me down or give me a phone call, I found out because of R.I.P. messages being left on her wall. This literally began to happen a scant 15 minutes after her death. Finding out something so heart breaking from starring at a computer screen, made the whole situation even worse.
In the article it says young people use Facebook to build new connections with people from all over the world. But what’s the point of building new ones if you don’t know how to sustain your current ones properly. I grew up with the internet and for a long time I had terrible people skills due to not knowing how to communicate face to face. Facebook is a way of communicating without taking responsibility for what is being said. It makes it seem like the words are not real and do not matter, which in cyberland, I suppose they aren’t. Unfortunately, in real life, casual Facebook messaging can leave a lasting impression on one’s heart.
Christinn Najjar | Photography Student
College for Creative Studies