Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Two Faces of Facebook

by Leann

First of all, I like Facebook. I get to see pics of my grandkids doing all sorts of wonderful things. I keep up with extended family. I share joy and heartbreak with many people. For a basically introverted writer who spends a lot of time in the company of two cats and a dog for the better part of the day, it's a good thing.

But there is a nasty side to human nature and at times the anonymity of saying something mean through the keys on a computer can be troubling. It
happened to my friend just the other day. Something innocently shared turned into a major political argument with harsh commentary. Things were said that would probably never be said had these people been in the same room together. She was hurt and offended. These things happen. Words on a screen without accompanying facial expressions and voice inflections are easily misinterpreted. Discussions can get out of hand quickly and if I see that happening on my page I quickly hide the discussion and try to forget about it--which is what she did. We all have opinions and opinions are not truth. But not everyone would agree.

Then there is the amazing, kind, generous, wonderful side of Facebook. That is what I experience 99% of the time. A cat that a friend and I rescued--a purebred Persian who had been abandoned, was flea-infested and scared--ended up in a forever home with my daughter and son-in-law. He is a precious boy and they love him dearly. But he is getting up in years. This past week he collapsed and my son-in-law, who fortunately now works from home, was there when it happened. He rushed Simone (girl name, boy cat--and that's a long story) to the vet. It was a serious heart and vascular problem for the fur baby.

I posted a call for positive thoughts and prayers for Simone--as I have

done for my own sick kitty Marlowe in the past--and the response was so wonderful, kind and almost overwhelming. These are my true friends, these Facebook people, most of whom I have never met. I know that the outpouring of positive energy helped because Simone returned home on Friday. He still has to be watched, is on several medications but it was touch and go for a while. The universe was kind thanks in part to the people who have befriended me, a little known mid-list writer. I am amazed!

I am also grateful, and for me, these are the people I would love to meet in person. The ones who reach out with kindness and caring immediately--as all of you who read this blog have done so many times. You are the ones who are there to give me a boost when I need it most. So, thank you for your humanity and thank you Facebook for facilitating the meeting of like-minded folks. Cyber hugs to all of you!

32 comments:

Linda Rima said...

So glad Simone is going better! We do care for people & pets we may never meet face to face. Although, I had the pleasure of meeting you at a book signing at Murder by the Book in Houston a couple of years or so ago.

Lynda said...

I totally agree with you Leann. Facebook has it's darker side, and sometimes you may share something - thinking that you are helping someone - when it is just a scam to see how many people they can suck in.

But the other side - the side with the "friends" I've never met - is a blessing. I have had some difficult times this past year, and the encouragement and caring shown me on FB by my friends, family, and especially by people I have never met, helped me more than I can say.

Another positive aspect of FB is that it has allowed me to reconnect with family and friends that I had not seen in 30-40 years, and now I'm able to catch up on and share their lives.

Also, I would never have met and gotten to know the writers, like you and the other Cozy Chicks, who I now consider friends. So, FB does have it's good side, which is probably why we all put up with the bad.

Book Dragon said...

{{{hugs}}}

Susan L. @ Full Happy Muffin and Mama said...

I'm glad Simone is better! I have Facebook so that I can post pictures for my husband's family to see, but I am guilty of not checking it too frequently. One of my husband's cousins recently posted that she was pregnant, and when we talked to his mom, my mother-in-law was surprised we didn't know.

Aurian said...

I am very glad that Simone is getting well again. I did see your posts on Facebook, but I have a very hard time reading about suffering animals, be they sick or abused so I often don't react to these kind of posts. But my thoughts and good wishes are always with the animal that needs it.
I especially hate those pictures of cats and dogs covered in snow and calling people to take their pets inside.

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Linda! I do miss a great bookstore like MBTB as well as the wonderful readers I met there. Nothing like it here in South Carolina!

Leann Sweeney said...

I agree. I am connected now to so many people who I hadn't been in touch with in years. It's all about "Make new friends and keep the old!"

Leann Sweeney said...

Thank you!! The hug is returned!

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Susan. He may not have that much longer, but then, we cannot be sure even of ourselves! He brings happiness to us for another day.

Leann Sweeney said...

I have a difficult time with that, too, since it makes me feel so helpless! My guess is people who do such things aren't paying attention to such things on facebook. They are too self-involved to care. It's sad. But the help Simone received was amazing! That's the good part!

Dru said...

I'm so glad that things worked out for Simone and as long as he's around, he'll be there to give them more friendly purrs and meows.

That's one of the reasons I like to post positive greetings in the morning.

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Dru. And I LOVE your positive greetings. It's so nice to read that first thing in the morning! :-)

mary kennedy said...

I noticed the same thing with e-mail, Leann. So easy to misinterpret words on a screen, when you can't see the sender's expression or the tone of their voice. Happy to hear that Simone is well, what a gorgeous cat!

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Mary. Wish I had something to do with it, but he is just the gorgeous (and oblivious) Simone. We are so glad he is home!

Jeannie D. said...

Hugs to you! So, glad Simone is doing better, he is so cute. May he have many more happy days with his humans. It is amazing how we can feel so close to people we have never met. I think it is neat that you cozy writers are so interactive with the readers and make us feel like old friends. The blog is part of my daily routing. I get up drink my tea and the first thing I read is the blog. I have just recently started Facebook, so it is all new to me.

Harvee Lau said...

Hate it when people get into fights on FB and get nasty. I have seen that happen!
Harvee
Book Dilettante

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Jeannie. Although Simone looks grumpy, he is more of a lumbering comedian. We all love him--and he's been everywhere. Always arrives for holidays. Thanks for your kind words!

Leann Sweeney said...

I try not to post anything that will upset people or cause fights, but sometimes it starts over what I think is a funny photo or video. I am more careful these days--and that's probably a good thing. I don't want to get my or anyone else's blood pressure up! It's not healthy!

Kate Collins said...

Like you, Leann, I try not to post anything too controversial (i.e. political or religious) because I don't care to debate issues on line or raise anyone's blood pressure. I love to see other happy posts like DruAnn's, too. And I'm so happy to hear the good news about Simone!

Denise Z. said...

I agree with the two-sides of FB thing. I have been wondering about this myself. Say I friend someone I know through a work situation and then I see them posting things that just horrify me. I think, holy cow, how did we work together all those years and me not notice this about you? Sort of makes me question my judgment.

Or, I friend someone I've met on FB because we have mutual interests, or I find them witty. And then I notice them posting hateful, hateful things and I think, wow, I'm sorry I made THAT connection.

I've decided to just scroll on by, or in some cases, hide all posts from the person in question. For instance, I'm a government employee. I work hard at my job, I take great pride in it, and I'm very good at what I do. When I see an anti-government post, I just can't let it go. But I try to make my point in a tactful way, instead of calling people asshats, which is what I'd like to do.

On balance, I've made some great new friends (even if I only know them virtually), I've reconnected with some special old friends, and I get to interact with authors like you, who are my rock stars. So I'm calling it a win.

Tonya said...

People just need to follow the "Golden Rule" no matter where they are, be it in person, on the phone or the computer. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. If you have something negative to say, keep it to yourself. So glad that Simone is better. Be well my friend. I feel as if I know you through facebook and your books. :)

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Kate. We are all very relieved for Simone! My take is that opinions are like noses, we all have one. I try not to upset people with mine! :-)

Kay Finch said...

Leann, I'm grateful to Cozy Chicks Blog and to Facebook for the opportunity these sites give me to keep up with you and yours when we don't take the time to catch up on the phone. I'm happy to hear Simone is doing better - I remember when you first found her/him. I've never told you this, but on that last night you attended our critique group I went out and got into my car, turned it on and the first thing I heard was Tim McGraw's lyrics - she's my best friend. I kid you not. What a tear jerker that was, on top of the fact that I could see your taillights in my rearview mirror and knew I wouldn't be seeing you every week any more. I'm happy to catch up with you here on my Internet!

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Tonya. Negativity is kind of like a disease in some ways. It can really affect every part of your life!

Leann Sweeney said...

Wow Kay! I believe I cried all the way home!! But we will always be the best of friends no matter what the distance. (And once we have a REAL house, I hope you visit!!) xoxo

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Denise. Social media has sure changed the landscape and I think it goes back to being able to say things online that you'd never say to someone's face.

Kate Midnight Book Girl said...

Simone is a gorgeous kitty, and I hope he continues to mend!

As for the ugly side of Facebook, I know which friend and post you're referring to, and you're right, things on the internet can take a nasty turn. I try my best to stay away from anything controversial on Facebook because I'm there to share pictures, like memes and post links. I don't want to get into a war of words with someone over and it's too easy to lose yourself and your good sense once you start. I try very hard to take a moment, or sometimes I'll write a huge long response to something... in my Notepad app. Once out of my system, I can refrain from copying and pasting, delete the Note and get back to the more important aspects of Facebook- memes with cats and books. ;)

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Kate. I have written LONG LONG posts, settled back, read them again and then deleted them. It does help to get things out of my system. :-) There was a time when I didn't have that good sense. It's called YOUTH! :-)

Grandma Cootie said...

I love FB to keep in touch with kids, grandkids and see what the great-grandkids are up to, and to follow cozies and other interests. But I only occasionally post because I don't like the way responses get out of hand, and don't really think of FB as a place to bare my soul. Why people think they can just pop in with advice is beyond me.

Good news about Simone. Our precious (getting old) Pug Pep has had eye surgery and a series of 'mass removals' - always benign but so scary, and last fall had successful major spinal surgery. I welcomed all my FB friends' comments and prayers.

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks so much and Pug Peg is getting plenty of positive energy from me! I had a Bichon with eye problems galore and it's tough. But she hung in there for many years. A little sweetie as Pug Peg probably is.

Tarri said...

This is the year I am going to WOB the negativity and political (although I reserve to call anyone out who posts advocating discrimination of any kind. I also am slowly hiding all the websites that people share that get my dander up. As to people who post mean comments on others' pages, I say just ask them if they are this ignorant/mean in real life and don't go back to read. If it is posted on your page, delete and block.

Leann Sweeney said...

Yes, I find it just sucks the life out me and who knows what it does to my already fragile health. I don't need that. Over-sensitive? Yes, I confess. Tarri, I am glad you will be deleting and blocking. We need more positive stuff to give us energy! It's a powerful thing. :-)