You may recall that back in November I did a short fast from Facebook in order to get through the actual election. The title - And That, Friends, Was Facebook - was reflective of my opinion that the vehicle of the election had effectively destroyed the concept of Facebook as a community, that the vitriol and bitter anger of both sides would collapse it as a social medium.
I am sad to report - but not altogether surprised to report - that this seems to be exactly what has occurred.
The level of ire and wrath has not decreased on either side -indeed, it has come to reach even greater levels than I could have anticipated. Having friends on both "sides", I get to see the best and worst (but mostly the worst) of both.
There are a narrow range of people that still do not seem to comment one way or the other and in some cases actually go out of their way to avoid talking anything about it (I would be one of those). But it is a small group, and seems to be getting smaller as the lines are hardening.
The thing that is most disconcerting is when someone posts something particularly scornful, sarcastic, or mocking. What I find that does to me is instantly begin to compromise anything else that they say. It becomes the filter through which I find myself reviewing everything else I know about them. If I am not careful, I find myself saying "If they believe that and say that, how can they hold to this position?"
I wonder, in the back of my head at times, if this is what the beginning of all civil disruptions begin like: the rhetoric becomes more and more hostile and people listen less and less. Before long, they find that they cannot stand the other side at all. They begin to attribute intentions to the other side that may not exist because of the rhetoric used. Words become feelings, feelings become actions.
So perhaps it is not that Facebook is slowly destroying itself that is the issue. It is the fact that Facebook has become a mirror of our society slowly destroying ourselves.