Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Cocktail Party Online

We haven't had a Cocktail Party.  That is something that my parents did.  I like the idea of them though, they are like a Salon; a party where people come together to share ideas about current events, art, and literature. Some of my artist friends and I gather together and do just that.  We have been doing it for several years now. We have even named ourselves the Salon of Seven and since one person dropped out a few years ago, we are now the Salon of Six.  For those reading this locally, we will be doing an exhibit at LeMoyne in September.

However, I digress from the purpose of this blog.  I think Facebook is our daily Salon, at least it is from my point of view.    If you read my earlier post you will know that I have had some problems with either some of my posts and or my comments on other posts.  I think it is because people have not fully realized that Facebook is like a cocktail party or a Salon. The other thing that I like about the comparison to a cocktail party is that often you don't know everyone, so you tend to tread a bit lightly and with respect.   Most of us would never stand in the middle of a room and shout at someone that they shouldn't discuss something, that they are ignorant, or call them names.  However, in speaking with others, this happens on Facebook.  Maybe we are all learning what Facebook is and how to navigate it.

I know many people who say that they never publish anything on their sites that is controversial in nature.  They don't want to offend anyone.  They choose instead to post family things, recipes, and benign comments about the weather, etc.  I do that.  However, I also post things that may be controversial, political, and current.  Why?  Because that is who I am.  I have always been willing to speak my mind.  I try and be respectful most of the time but I believe if I speak my mind that I might know what is on yours!  I might learn something.  I mean, if you saw something on the news that you felt passionate about, wouldn't you want to talk about it at the next cocktail party?

I think it is a boring cocktail party that is filled only with sports, family, recipes, and fluff.  I do like to talk about that, but I think we can also express ideas with each other too.  Have we forgotten how to do that? Maybe we all need a primer on the art of conversation!  Me too!

Facebook Resolutions

Facebook had been full of memories, politics, reconnection to old friends, and simple statements that make you smile, laugh, cry, and think.  This year I have had three or four experiences on Facebook that have given me pause, and made me question whether the damage to friendship, feelings, and respect are worth my continuation of it.  However, in looking at the big picture, I have received so much more love and support than I ever expected. 
Seeing John’s spirit kept alive by all of his friends alone is enough to ease any thoughts I might have of shutting the pages down.  I love that several of his friends have allowed me to continue to be their Facebook friends and I can peek into their lives and see their thoughts as they grow and become wonderful adults.  It gives me a great perspective and world view instead of just a “boomer” perspective.  Some of them are wonderfully articulate. 
I am so happy that through Facebook, Dan and I have reconnected with old High School friends.  Although we are spread across the globe, we as military brats, have a common thread that is still strong. 
I am also able to stay connected to family that also is far flung.  It is the little experiences that really keep us close.  I love hearing about someone’s day.  I am admittedly not a very good phone person.  I always feel like I am interrupting and I forget what I want to say.  When asked “What we have been doing?”  I can’t think of a thing.  But through Facebook, I see a bit of what they have been doing and they see the same with me and it gives us both a good jumping off point. 
I have enjoyed, for the most part, the political issue driven conversations.  However, there have been altercations; words do matter, how you say things matters.  2012 has been a volatile year filled with politics and tragedy.  Through that I am making some rules for myself.  I don’t know if I have broken all of them in the past but they are good rules none the less.
            Don’t tell someone what they can or can not post on their own Facebook page.
            If you don’t agree with someone’s post don’t attack them personally.
            If you don’t agree with someone’s statement respect their opinion as you would wish yours to be respected.
            If you can’t do any one of the above, don’t respond at all or certainly not publicly.  This might be a place where mother’s old rule….”If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” applies. 
            Don’t hijack someone else’s post with your own agenda or change the subject substantially.  If you need to make a statement, then make your own, on your own wall. 
            This is not really an issue for me, but don’t post compromising pictures of other people or tag them…their mom may see it!
            This is an open forum, you don’t know all my friends or how I know them.  Don’t assume that I share all the beliefs of all my friends. That would be boring.  I will speak to you as I would in a dinner party or public situation.
Please respect my friends and I will respect yours.
Reread the rant before you post it!
Get a thicker skin.

Finally, it may be that you will unfriend me due to difficulties.  It also may be that I will block or unfriend you, sometimes that is done to protect a friendship rather than end one.