Friday, April 2, 2010

The Great Facebook Experiment

A few months ago, I had grown tired of the environment Facebook was creating.  So I decided to have a little fun with it.  I decided to play the fool as it were, to play all the parts that people dislike the most on Facebook and to gauge people's reactions.  I called it a little "Social Experiment."  I could not however lower myself to the point where I actually posted song lyrics.  I just couldn't bring myself to do that.

So I did just that.  I made a nuisance of myself. 

I posted horribly mundane status updates.  I posted an update every few minutes for nearly an hour.  I got excessively political, starting fires in political threads, and who could resist with all the politically charged things that have happened lately.  I posted personal information.  I started my own fan club.  I made fun of Glenn Beck (got a great response there.)  I posted about bodily functions.  I posted links, videos, and pictures that had very little to do with me.  I carried on pointless arguments about things I don't really care about.  I picked fights with conservatives and libertarians.  I posted status updates which were descriptions of stereotypical status updates except that they contained no actual information.  I went so far as to impel someone to "unfriend" me.  I did all of this and more, and I made regular announcements about what I was doing, but I included the caveat that just in case someone took offense, it was actually directed toward them personally, which if you think about it, is completely ludicrous.

So, what did I learn?

I learned that many people are simply unable to control themselves when they see something that gets on their nerves.  Even though I made it clear that I was doing an experiment, there were still quite a few people who could not help but to take the bait.  Despite my repeated assertions that what I was saying was not serious, several people were simply unable to comprehend that there was no reason to debunk or politically correct what I was saying.  I found myself saying that there's no reason to agree to disagree or compromise or mature because the whole thing was an experiment.  And still people didn't seem to get it.  It seems to me that there is a distinct inability among a group of people today that is entirely unable to comprehend duplicity.  It seems to me, that is where guys like Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity reside.  They take up residence in a cohort that cannot tell when they are lying, or simply are unable to suspect it.

On the other hand, there are many who can get it and love to play along.  These people are the most fun, because it challenges you to come up with ever more creative and provocative statements, posts, and links to try and draw them in, and sometimes you can succeed when they forget that you are yanking their chain.  Some are quite entertained by it.  On the other hand, there are those who start calling names and eventually unfriend you because they just don't get it.

I also had a flameout involving global climate deterioration as well.  One of the posts immediately below is in regards to that one.  I was having a friendly (or not) discussion about the subject (which I happen to be neutral on) and people were getting pretty heated.  Then my friend's mom comes on and posts that bunch of nonsense you see below.  This is the kind of thing that really tells me what I have ahead of me as a progressive follower of Jesus, but this wasn't the forum for it, so I ignored it.  Now that the experiment is over, I may have to actually go back to working on the things that are important to me, like the environment and conservation and things like that.

As I mentioned before, I posted a lot of posts close to one another several times.  I posted a lot of statuses, most of which were very funny if I do say so myself, and I linked my Facebook account to my Discus account so that whenever I left comments on a blog or website with Discus, they would also show up on my Facebook account.  I heard from several people that they thought about ignoring me, but didn't.

I suggested nudism to a few women that I know, didn't get many reactions to that.  And don't misunderstand, it was not in a crude way, I am a proponent of Christian Naturism, I just haven't had the opportunity to practice it myself.

But it was those older people who couldn't understand what I was doing that made me decide to end the project.  I left a status update similar to the Onion News Network story about being sorry that it wasn't Glenn Beck who had died tragically in some accident.  Nobody got it.  My mentor, my wife's grandfather, they were not happy at all.  They thought I was inciting violence.  My wife's grandfather pulled the old "I'm older, so that means I know better than you" argument which is about the first thing that will make me lose all respect for anyone. 

So I had to quit it.

It was kinda cool though that several people expressed the sentiment that they enjoyed watching what I was doing because it was entertaining.  These were most of the same ones who had played along earlier, and even at times added to the project.

My conclusion is that Americans need much more to be critical (the good kind) of everything, especially the things they hold most dear.  Never accept any information without a challenge to the ruler of truth.  Understand that people can and do lie regularly.  Everyone, especially those who claim to believe in truth or have the truth or want to tell  you something they say is the truth.  Like Jack Sparrow said, "it's the honest ones you have to worry about mate."  You just did the voice in your head didn't you, so did I.  Don't accept something as fair and balanced just because the one who told you said it was.  Doubt everything.  Doubt motives, doubt unproven or unprovable facts, doubt everything someone who is paid to have an opinion says. 

The truth is out there, but you have to go find it yourself, don't trust ANYONE to bring it to you, even me.

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