Facebook Meme Saturation
As I scroll through Facebook I am bombarded by the memes of religious and political platitudes, sarcastic snipe, and banal expressions of rebelliousness. Some border on the offensive, some cross that border and sit smack in the middle of it. Others range from the mildly amusing to the downright hilarious (usually because they strike a chord of ironic truth).
Many of these posts I enjoy, some I share. But it is the sheer number of them that has begun to drive me crazy. I have reached the point of Facebook meme saturation.
I joined Facebook to connect with my friends. I wanted to see what they’re up to and what they feel the need to share. I wanted to pray for their hurts and wants and needs, to celebrate their victories, to praise them for their talents, and to listen and learn from the wisdom they had to share.
Since I live and work alone much of the time, I hoped that Facebook would be a lifeline into my community, a lifeline I could hold onto when I felt the need to connect. Some days I need that connection more than others, and on those days I tend to find myself posting more thoughts, proclaiming more deeds, and sharing more memes. Because I share more when I feel needy, I understand when others do the same.
And don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a hardship for me or a cross that I must bear in the name of friendship to listen to and respond to your needs. It is a celebration of our friendship. It is a joy to hold some of your cares in my own hands, to hold you up to the light and tell you “Yes! You are clever (or funny, or creative, or pretty, or kind).” To know what it is that bothers you or brings you joy or breaks your heart or makes your heart sing — that is all part of the connection of friendship and the very reason why I point my Facebook app in your direction and read, comment, and share.
But the memes? The constant streams of snark, political bashing, and religious sap? That’s not real connection.
One year during the Lenten season I went on a news blackout. I didn’t watch or listen to any local or national news whatsoever. As I was telling a friend what I was doing (or NOT doing), she asked me, “Then how in the world will you know what’s going on??” I answered her with a laugh, “Hey, if it’s THAT important, I’ll read about it on Facebook.” And I was joking … sorta … not really.
And now, with running stream of meme after meme, I’m as likely to miss the news of a friend with a broken hand who is (deservedly) looking for prayers and sympathy (which happened yesterday) as I am to miss the news of a tsunami in Japan.
I realize that what I have just said here may make some of you very unhappy, as unhappy as people have been with the post on Candy Crush and FarmVille. I’m willing to take that risk.
No, I won’t “unfriend” you if you flood Facebook with memes. Yes, (confession) I have unfriended someone who flooded Facebook with memes — but that person wasn’t really a friend, she was someone who had added me to her friends list probably through an attempt to inflate her own friend numbers and not through any real wish to connect with me as a person — who also happened to flood the Facebook wall with memes.
I am concerned that the sharing of memes has become a habit, and not a true need to share and connect.
If you think something is funny and you think someone else might need that same giggle, share away!! But if you think that we all need to know everything you think is cute, funny, thoughtful, or horrifying? Think again.
If you feel the need to connect through Facebook conversation, do it!! Share your needs, your joys, your sadness and your victories. We’re here for you and that’s what friends are for.
It’s just my opinion, take it or leave it. Please don’t be mad at me for it. I am not saying this from a lofty height, looking down upon the Facebook sinners. I am saying this as one standing in the crowd, as one that is part of (what I see to be) the problem.
Peace be unto you. ♥km