Ask most 21st-century-born people their opinion of Facebook and chances are they will come out with some kind of comically ignorant response such as, ‘God’s greatest gift to man since the wheel’.
Probably the majority of the above demographic would struggle to even comprehend life before this social networking institution, and now that basically the entire planet’s population rests at our fingertips, fair to say Facebook has changed the way the world communicates.
Seems almost counterintuitive though, that amid a time where an individual’s privacy has become such an apparently sacred aspect of life that people would wilfully divulge/post personal information/data to a public forum accessible to practically every other person in the world.
Back in 2004, with the corporation that would soon become world-renowned as ‘Facebook’ still in its infant stages, the network’s founder (plagiarist) and CEO (having paid off the concept’s genuine brainchild and now free to make his fortune – also be forever remembered – as ‘Facebook Genius…’), Mark Zuckerberg, at the age of 19, became the subject of published transcripts, (reportedly) depicting him in discussion with a school chum:
‘Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard, I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS.
What? How’d you manage that one?
People just submitted it. I don’t know why. They “trust me”. Dumb fucks.’
Interestingly most people are compelled, when prompted, regarding a questionnaire or other inquiry-related form, to fill out a box, ironically, without question.
A pertinent question therefore, might indeed be, ‘While remaining hysterically sensitive about the shifting of personal information by a Government’s hand, when did people decide they had no issue with the disclosure of the aforementioned data by their own hand, providing it was restricted to a forum called Facebook, where they could then delude themselves into believing that it would only be seen by close friends and relatives?’
Remarkably many Facebook profiles contain enough personal information (also intimate photography) about the subject that through those Facebook profiles alone, one could easily come to feel they ‘know’ that person.
Virtually any person can see the face of, also discover a plethora of personal information about, virtually any other person through Facebook’s social networking platform which, given the liberal nature of this 21st century tool of personal inquisition, not surprising is the fact that its otherwise wholesome intentions are being abused.
Among other forms of Facebook abuse, online bullying is arguably the most severe; ‘arguably’ because opinions are still spread regarding the severity of cyber-abuse.
While much of the world seems to maintain an online bully or troll can be escaped simply by logging off and/or walking away, personally, if a person takes their kicks from demeaning, devaluing, or denigrating another – for whatever reason and in whatever form – that person is obviously still struggling to understand what it is to be human.
I read a newspaper article the other day in which the columnist was encouraging people to ‘drop Facebook’, citing the simple explanation, ‘Facebook is ruining society’.
Incidentally, other than posting the occasional excerpt, I don’t use Facebook; however in the course of my research for this particular article I did find myself stumbling over profile after profile of ‘Aren’t I pretty?’ selfies, ‘Hey everyone, look at me,’ pleas for attention, ‘Don’t I look hot in this?’ shots, and ‘I have just spent hours in the mirror working on this face but if I casually hold my tongue like this, kind of in but kind of out, you don’t know that,’ looks (which, when poring over the profile of a young man, is genuinely disturbing), leading to my unequivocal assessment.
Facebook is breeding a generation of youth whose greatest/only source of validation is a ‘like’, ‘comment’, or ‘notification’ on their profile; thus validation which they have really done nothing to earn, validation for which they have certainly achieved nothing, validation therefore which is shallow, hollow, and ultimately meaningless.
Ten, twenty years from now we are likely going to be met with a generation of hunch-backed, affirmation-seeking, weak-spirited, soft, superficial, insecure, insincere, pathetic excuses for adults, and we are only going to have ourselves to blame.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Fas Bik Trawl
Photography by Hunch Buck/Dame Notre