Friday, March 2, 2012

Is Each Person Really a Unique Individual?

Facebook compacts so much communication into a single stream, and this can have a depersonalizing effect. When I would post something on a friend’s wall, I wasn’t just communicating with that friend. I was communicating with their posse, too. If I used the private messaging feature, it was just one message among dozens. Friends were becoming interchangeable. One thing that surprised me was just how few of my Facebook friends I actually missed when I deactivated my account. It was difficult to think of my old Facebook friends as individuals. They were all just part of the collective whole. When I moved away from the collective, it wasn’t like I had lost any individual friends. Dropping Facebook wasn’t at all like disconnecting from hundreds of individual friends. I didn’t miss anyone in particular because my Facebook experience was like connecting with a collective. I noticed the absence of the collective when I left, but I didn’t miss it per se. The exception is that if I knew specific Facebook friends from real life, meaning that we’d met in person and had at least one good conversation together, then I could still see them as individuals. But I don’t need Facebook to stay in touch with those people anyway, so I didn’t feel like I was losing any of these connections by dropping Facebook. I realize this might sound rather strange, but it’s the best I can explain it. My Facebook page was very busy with wall posts and such activities of those sort. The feeling that I was interacting with a collective began to feel rather creepy, as you might imagine. I’m glad to be off of Facebook, since I really don’t wish to be assimilated. It’s nice not to feel like there’s an endless stream of other people’s thoughts flowing through my mind all the time. I can hear my own thoughts once again, and they’re a lot more relaxed.

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