There has been a lot of press lately about how Facebook was used during the Egyptian protests lately. Showing its affect on democratic reform definitely put a positive spin on this social network. But then I go to my Facebook homepage and I see something entirely different. There are no great social causes being espoused there. Of the 50 or so “friends” I have there are a few organizations who try to promote common causes but not many.
I do want to admit up front that I am not very active in Facebook. I post occasionally just to let people know that I am still here. But I seem to be the exception rather than the rule. For the most part the never ending status messages go something like this:
- “Just had a cup of coffee and it was really good. Now it is off to work”.
- “I watched TV tonight with my boys. Nothing much on”
- “Why do I feel so sad?”
If I opened myself up all these types of messages I would surely get hundreds of them per day. One of the best features on Facebook is the “Hide” button. It allow me to not have to see particular posters daily comments. I hide the more frequent “fluffers” as I call them. I admit that 90% of my “friends are in the “Hide” category. It would be nice to know the “real” news from my friends; I don’t get that because there is no button to eliminate fluff while allowing substance. Maybe Facebook can work on that feature.
It seems for every status message as above there are half a dozen comments attached to them. People today often talk about how they are so busy there is no time for things like family time or such. But they do have time to scroll through hundreds of mundane messages from their friends and then comment on many of them. If they spent as much time becoming aware of the social and moral issues of today, instead of blindly following their favorite “talking head”, their time would be much better spent and “our” democracy would be stronger.
So, here I am seeing how Facebook was critical to the formation of the democratic movement in Egypt and at the same time totally frivolous in my own backyard?
But what do I know