Friday, 14 June 2013

How to lose friends in ten clicks or less

I'm old enough to be floored by how little time it takes to answer a question with the ubiquitous assistance of the internet.  Remember having to wait until the library opened?  Or poring through books for that one quote you couldn't quite remember?  Or lying awake at night because you couldn't remember who sang that song about --- was it pina coladas or bean enchiladas?

Just me, then?

Oh well,  now I can solve petty arguments with a few well-aimed clicks. I figure it's good fodder for the only book I can ever see myself writing:  How to Lose Friends and Really P*** People Off.  (I have an uneasy feeling that someone's already made off with that title.  I should google it.)

Look, I love my Facebook pals.  They're intelligent, kind, and competent people. However it seems several of them will pass on urban legends masquerading as fact, uplifting essays attributed to the wrong person, and those blobs of purple prose emotional blackmail that tell me if I love my family, or care about people with cancer, or am against bullying, then I will press the Share button.  Sometimes, it's a spectacular combination of all three, as when I pretty damn near succeeded in permanently alienating my best friend from high school a couple of months ago.

I've discussed the wisdom of waiting three days before correcting anybody on the Internet.  Too bad I ignore my own advice. In my own (weak) defense,  I think it was the shock of receiving this thing from a person I know to be sweet, gentle, and generous.  Credited to Bill Cosby, it was a diatribe against people collecting welfare, Islam, and global warning  -- which no one is allowed to debate.  I think what really blew my top was the charming little postscript:  If you don't forward this, you are part of the problem.

Boom. I put this link in the comments field below her Facebook post, but couldn't resist adding (bad move, Persephone -- best just to post the link) that not only had Bill Cosby not written it, but he had published a comment saying that he doesn't subscribe to the ugly views expressed in the email.  She wrote back, gently protesting that there were some "interesting thoughts" in the essay.  I shot back (another bad idea) that thinking had nothing to do with it, she had just pressed "Share", that my daughters attended school with Muslim children, and were the Muslims she knew like those described in the article? (I am reasonably certain she doesn't know any.) That's when she took the post down.  We didn't really communicate for a few weeks, but she's "liking" my family news again, so maybe we're all right...

Elder daughter rolls her eyes whenever she hears of my latest computer confrontation.  Only today she admonished me on Facebook:  "Stop myth-busting me!"

I'd questioned a posting she'd shared regarding the Progressive Conservative Party's plan to eliminate public spending on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation  -- which is an odd position to take on a public broadcaster.  It turns out that the posting was accurate; elder daughter sent a link from the Conservatives' upcoming convention agenda along with her admonition: . . . the objective being the order by elimination of all public funding of the corporation which creates unfair competitive advantage with privately owned and operated networks and stations. (Hunh? It seems to me that when you apply business principles to public institutions, you end up at the lowest common denominator.  We have enough broadcasters trolling in the mud, thank you very much; it seems the most successful business model is reality TV and celebrity gossip.)

Am I wrong to challenge friends and family?  I certainly learn much more for myself when I "myth-bust".  Is it politer to keep what I learn to myself, and let them happily post the questionable stuff without question? Is that what a friend does?

1 comment:

chatterbox said...

I come here to ensure it isn't just me on all sorts of things and this is another occasion. I find sitting on my typing hands really difficult. So, me too to all of the above.