Out of all my Facebook friends, there are about four or five who don’t regularly festoon their wall with political vitriol, all of it tinged with an unearned smugness. So let’s take a break from the masturbatory indignation to honor the handful of heroes who don’t post anything political on Facebook.
They’re like the marshmallows in Lucky Charms, or Lucky Charms mixed in a worse cereal. As graceful innocents, they refrain from manipulating the conversation with their political agenda, and merely exist on Facebook, never pushing. I love them for it.
There’s my friend Pete (Hi Pete!), who occasionally posts artwork and pictures from his travels. Or take Sarah, who rides horses and always posts horse-related things. If she ever posted anything not related to horses, I’d get worried. Brian posts new songs he’s written, and Jeff posts pictures of his kids. There’s only a few more I could list. The rest are shit.
To be honest, I’d be happy to see the Facebook versions of all my friends die. But perhaps it’s like The Matrix, and so it might cause them to die in the real world. Tough call.
It’s simply that I know so many people who are more disciplined in regularly posting political items than they are at producing their own work. Many of them can’t understand why their pet peeve is not the national agenda, and others love jumping on fashionable outrage. Bloviating as if I’ve subscribed to their personal blog, they often warn that they’re about to get political or serious, even though it’s something they do several times a day. If any of my Facebook friends talked to me in person the way they proselytize on Facebook, I’d break the very hand they use to click “post.”
This is not meant to take away from the power of Facebook to do good. We all know that World War II ended when Cameron from Seattle shared an article about Nazis and simply wrote: “This.” And who can forget that time when Heather from Austin ended slavery with a nasty white people meme?
But this article is not about them.
No, we’re here to serenade those whose Facebook presences actually resemble how they are in real life conversation: natural and human. They listen and interact, as opposed to the rest who resemble the crazy people yelling about the government in Times Square.
Perhaps you think that there’s nothing inherently noble about abstaining from posting political items. We disagree, and we’re probably not Facebook buddies.
Even more than sports, politics reduces once logical people to over-emotional children, who feel their emotion renders them an expert.
Understand that your friends only like you for a few reasons (sorry), and one of them is surely not your rancorous political opinion. So if you begin to go beyond those few things and force your agenda on them, they might just lose interest, and you will die alone (we all die alone, I guess, but that’s a side issue).
Think of this before you post something political to Facebook: If you physically invited all of your Facebook friends into a press room, and said what you want to post, would they come? Would they ever return to another press conference? Probably not. Most of them won’t show up to your wedding.
Facebook should add a few features to discourage the onslaught of political bile, like a new reaction featuring a smiley-face pleasuring itself, or perhaps some sort of automatic check which analyzes your post for its similarity to the 1.7 billion other Facebook users. So when you wrote your coattail-riding treatise on the trending news of the day, the Hack Check would say, “Your post has 97 percent words in common with 6.4 million other users’ posts. Are you sure you want to publish, you unoriginal hack?” It could help.
Here are things I’d rather look at on Facebook other than my friends’ political postings: new cars I can’t afford, badly lit pictures of food, updates on weight loss, the women they slept with the previous night, awful tattoos, worse accomplishments, and even, yes, babies, as long as they’re not wearing political buttons.
So thank you Pete and Sarah and Brian and Jeff. Thank you to all those who allow Facebook to be a somewhat organic environment. Perhaps you have friends in your life like this. Tell them you appreciate them, because one day they may leave Facebook without ever knowing how you feel.
And to all the rest: I hope your candidate loses in a horrible flameout of shame. I hope whatever issue is important to you turns out for the worst. I hope the demographic you think it’s cool to hate become the very people you need help from in the future. I hope.
It’s like Yeats said in that poem I don’t understand: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
Come on, people, let’s take Facebook back to what it used to be: a place to pretend you were enjoying your life.