Musings on the Role of Facebook in our Society

“Facebook is a social network that contributes to mental disorders in weak minded people and caters to narcissistic ambitions,” one of my Facebook friends wrote today, on Facebook.  I thought that was ironic and funny, even if it is  a little bit true.

Weak minded?  Well, they are certainly there.  Facebook is a tool that pretty much anybody can use.  There is no spelling test.  You will not be penalized for using straw man arguments, non sequiturs, or even just saying things that are blindingly stupid.  So, it’s the nature of the game that there will be some simple minded people there.  Same as real life.  You go into any pub or club or fitness center, some of the people there will be weak minded.

A  social network limited to intelligent people only would have very few members.  First of all, intelligent people are not a majority of the population.  Secondly, not all intelligent people like each other.

Nonetheless, it is something I’d like to see.  The conversations would be sparkling, it  would actually be a learning, self-improving experience every time you log in.  And, in a closed group of people spelling correctly, thinking logically and trading information freely, some new ideas might actually emerge.

Then there’s the narcissistic ambitions part.  Well, that might fit me a bit.  I was on the Metro this morning, without a book, and sometimes I get tired of looking around at all the faces, faces locked in grimness as if smiling and showing happiness were a cultural taboo (it sort of is, here). As the train entered the tunnel, a caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window, which suddenly becomes a mirror and I smiled, because I’m generally a cheerful guy and I know that the guy in the mirror is, too.  I guess that’s just vain and not clinically narcissistic, but I do have narcissistic ambitions.  I would love to write something some day which is so clever and incisive that it gets hundreds of likes, and dozens of shares.

Not holding my breath, though.  Facebook, basically, is a swamp.  There is great potential for life, and growth, but also it’s easy to get sucked in and eaten by alligators.


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