Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Facebook: The New Wave in Passive-Agressiveness

Today was another quiet day in the office. At least it wasn't too gloomy which makes a big difference. When I came home this afternoon, the sun was actually shining and I got to work in the garden for a bit. I had some asparagus roots to plant and this required digging a trench. This may not seem too huge since it only had to be about 7 feet long and eight inches deep. It actually didn't take too long to dig it although since my garden is hideously infected with tree roots from trees that are no longer standing but will forever leave their legacy, it took a while to dig around the roots, snapping them when possible.

Of course, it didn't help that the puppies also wanted to help. They were all about the trench and wasted no time jumping down and having a dig. It was actually quite useful. Well, it was until they spotted the asparagus roots that were ready to plant and decided to try to run off with them. Then, after I'd done the planting they tried to dig them back up. I put a little fence around the area but I'll have to play close attention to make sure they don't try to sneak around the fence.

The nice thing about gardening is that it's a great way to clear your head. When the sun is shining and there's a nice breeze, it's a nice thing to kneel in the dirt and go to work. It's a good way to work of frustration and stress.

Not that I feel too much of either at the moment. I'm in a contented place. I know that, like with everything, that's subject to change at any moment but I'm quite thankful that things are going fairly quietly in life at the moment.

It doesn't seem that way for everyone though, especially for my Facebook friends. I've been on Facebook a while. If you go back in my blog, I've written about it before and how it's a good way to have a reunion with old friends and unite all aspects of your life. However, even though I love Facebook for this reason, it's also a fantastic way to be passive-aggressive.

If you don't know what I mean, you're either very lucky or you don't go on Facebook much. I have quite a few 'friends' on there now and I get the feed of all their status updates. I love this because you get to know what they're up to but don't have to actually call them to talk or email. It's a great, quick way to stay in touch without having to, you know, be in touch.

Except no everyone uses this to say things like, "Captain Monkeypants is having fun shopping at outlet malls," or "Captain Monkeypants just made lettuce wraps." No, a lot of my friends use the status as a form of venting.

I get that. I mean, when I'm upset with friends, I do occasionally have the urge to post a Facebook status update that quietly points the finger at the friend and say, 'hey, you- you hurt my feelings."

I don't though because I know that this is childish and, also, most of the time, whoever I'd be aiming the update towards wouldn't get it and I'd have wasted the typing. But I do understand the urge.

I think the trick is not to give in to it though. Otherwise, you post something like, "I am furious- one of the people I trusted most has hurt me beyond words. You liar!"

(Which, by the way, is taken from a post I read not too long ago.)

Now, while that update might be aimed at someone specific, chances are that while that person may know they did something wrong, no one else knows who did it. Thus, all the people who read that status process it as, "was that me? Did I do something?" without knowing. This is, of course, assuming that the intended recipient of the update is a Facebook friend in the first place. Also, it makes everyone who knows you and many of your friends try to guess who you're angry with and what they did wrong and gossip starts to form and spread.

Granted, it's not a big deal- much like high school when you'd fight with your friends in public, Facebook allows a way to show the world that you're pissed. It lets everyone talk about you being angry and trying to guess what's going on. If they don't find out, they make something up.

I'm not condemning. I'm just seeing it more and more. Some people use song lyrics, some people most cryptic, intriguing little teases that lets you know something is wrong but never, what exactly. Some people just keep it light and fluffy.

No matter what though, this type of status update does what it's intended to do- it gets your attention. It lets someone know you're angry with them but doesn't require you picking up the phone to scream at them or sending them an angry email. As I said, I've been tempted. It's just not worth it because it's just not fruitful. Back in my younger days, I know I would have done it. I was shy and not very confrontational. But, with age comes less patience for games. If someone upsets me, I try to tell them about it or solve the problem myself. I find this works. If I weigh the problem and discover it's not large enough to bother with, I move on.

Everyone's different. For some people, Facebook is a tool for therapy. It's an outlet, a way of showing the world how you feel. I can't say I always salute that because I think some things should just be kept between you and your offenders but that's just my opinion.

Facebook has many uses. It's a communication tool primarily, a point of contact also. It also seems to be a great place to go farming as so many of my friends status updates imply. I still haven't figured out the point of Farmville or whatever odd little virtual world you're trying to create on there but I do consider that a far healthier way to spend your time on Facebook than calling someone out anonomously in front of everyone you know to scold them or chide them without direct confrontation. Of course, I do find it odd that people are trying to plant nachos but, as I always say, to each his own.

Happy Wednesday!

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