Just a quick response to a news story I just saw on Yahoo. I posted it to Facebook because Facebook users are precisely the people who should see it. It involved a double murder of a couple who had defriended a woman on Facebook. The article went on to point out that this isn’t the first time this has happened. It sounds ridiculous, but I can completely understand it.
It is frighteningly easy to get carried away by something you read on a screen, be it Facebook, a blog, or an email. It happened to me today. I felt patronized by an email I received. It made me angry. I wasn’t furious, foaming at the mouth and contemplating murder, but I was pissed. I got over it fairly quickly, but only after replying in a rather rude way. It makes me wonder about the usefulness of internet social media. It is very easy to be intimate and reveal your innermost feelings. That can be good and that can be bad. I have experienced both ends of the spectrum. I enjoy expressing myself online, but I am a notoriously thin skinned individual, which can cause problems. It is way too easy to click “Send”. Then you have second thoughts. Oops! too late!
I have posted about this problem before, sometimes even when I was in the midst of making the very mistakes I warned about. That is how insidious it can be. Feelings get hurt. People get mad. People get defriended. I know how it goes. It is so important to keep in mind that you are in a public space. People form judgements and that can potentially lead to bad things happening. In the case reported by Yahoo, the worst possible consequences ensued. What a useless and unnecessary tragedy!! But it does get me to thinking about people I have pissed off. There could be hundreds of them out there, who never bothered to click Unlike or leave a comment. It is a disturbing thought.
I’m sorry folks!! Please don’t kill me!
And rest assured, I don’t intend to kill anyone, no matter how mad I may get.
But none of this makes me feel a whole lot better. I have considered getting off of Facebook and stopping blogging. It has complicated my life in both good and bad ways. I wouldn’t say I was happier without it, but at least no one knew about my neuroses but me. Sometimes it is a lot more comfortable to be invisible.
I guess all I wanted to say is what I’ve said before, with a little more emphasis. Take a breath when reading anything on a screen, and consider that you can’t see the person. You can’t know the intent just from the words. You can’t hear the voice and the intonation. It could be vicious, or it could be harmless. Very hard to say just from the words on the screen. This is good advice. I am full of it, good advice I mean. Will I follow my own advice? I have a bad track record on that score. But I shall try.
As crazy as a murder over defriending may seem, I suspect the people who committed the murder never saw it coming, and I know the people murdered certainly didn’t! On that creepy, disturbing note, I will continue to use Facebook and continue my blog hoping that I don’t do anything to get myself killed. I will honestly try to be more prudent. Really!!! I mean it this time!!! Put away that shotgun!!