The Facebook Cocktail Party
Sometimes I write things on Facebook that are very personal. And some of my friends have a strong reaction. Not to what I say, but the fact that I say it on Facebook. That I reveal feelings or opinions that they consider very personal and they are worried for me. Either that it could somehow come back to hurt me, or that I might be revealing too much and people might not like me or be offended or worse… unfriend me.
Many people also are afraid of Facebook. They don’t want to post pictures or say things that expose too much. So, they either don’t participate at all, or participate very minimally.
Some people live on Facebook. They share everything, whether interesting or not — like what they had for dinner — unless, of course, it’s Frog Legs at Maxim’s or deep fried grasshoppers in Outer Mongolia – now that’s interesting.
In any case, I like to think of Facebook as a cocktail party where we are mingling and chatting about life and what’s new and what we’re doing. And with that in mind, it’s interesting to look at what people talk about at the Facebook cocktail party. Most chat about what’s going on in the world with politics, health, sports and entertainment or it’s about family, friends, work and other personal life events. Once in a while you might see a post like this one. About ideas, concepts, or philosophical discussions.
When someone is worried for me, that I expose too much, I smile inside because Facebook is a microcosm, or perhaps macrocosm of how we approach all relationships or rather how we approach other people whether they be friends, strangers or enemies.
At the cocktail party of life some people, hide out, don’t mingle much, don’t share much and play it safe.
Some people, talk too much about nothing.
Some people tell jokes and laugh a lot.
Some people talk about sports or the weather.
Some people don’t even come to the party.
And some people, like me, talk about anything and everything as we want. Because, I assume that anyone at the cocktail party is a friend, or a friend of a friend. It’s either a work party, a school party, a family party or a friend party. I already know most of the people there and trust them and enjoy them and want to continue to know more about them. Otherwise I wouldn’t be at the party. Sure, there might be a party crasher, a stranger with ulterior motives, but here’s the great thing about Facebook — I get to choose who’s at the party — my friends. And what makes them friends? The fact that I trust them and am free to tell them anything, just as I hope they feel free to tell me anything. That’s what friends are and do.
I love reading about and seeing pics of my friends’ kids, cats, dogs, jokes, frustrations and contemplations. It’s so great to feel connected to people I’ve known for 4 months to 40 years. And to be able to share with all of you the joys, frustrations and contemplations of my life. And I believe in the power of open communication. I believe the internet is changing the world, breaking country borders and personal boundaries to where we are all going to finally see how similar we are, how we are all Earthlings with the same home. And ultimately, one day, we will all be friends and have nothing to hide from each other. Maybe not in my lifetime, but that is where the human race is headed one Facebook post at a time. So there!