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Facebook and Social Networking

I do not rant. Ranting is very unattractive and usually results in ... well ... being ranted back at. While I'm generally a very happy, yet somewhat wild and warped individual, I am also human. Since you're still reading, I assume your camaraderie in this and that you get my drift. Plus, outrage doesn't always infer anger per se. OK … granted, ‘shock,’ offense’ and indignity is not too far off anger … but can be a little … different, and does provoke thought. That, plus credit where credit s due, a dear friend of mine; a wise and sage prince among men, gave me this idea--hence this column’s title. Thank you, DL. So … today I am outraged about … certain aspects of Facebook and other similar forms of social networking. I’m starting with that. Perfect case-in-point … just look at the news. Everyone from credible national news outlets to obscure blogs have regaled us with the photos of the Salahis at The White House. The New York Times trumpeted, “Not two hours after the party, Mrs. Salahi had on her Facebook page a dozen photos of her and her husband with Washington’s social elite.” We’ve read the headlines—everything from privacy issues to self promotion. It’s not just them. Social networking is becoming a key component to the ever growing narcissistic struggle for attention; for our own personal ’15 minutes.’ Sure, it’s great for businesses. It’s a wonderful tool for promotion or messaging. It’s great to reconnect with old friends, distribute news or flex our comic muscle with a snappy comment. But is this promoting a sense of one-upmanship at any cost? Are we all auditioning to be the next reality TV star? One has to wonder if some people’s actual lives are becoming, in fact, reality entertainment. Keep in mind that type of program is, to a great extent, scripted. It’s almost become the socially acceptable way of wearing the big, fuzzy team mascot suit in public—you can do anything and be anyone you want without anyone having to know who you really are. Is it healthy to create a persona? Do people actually feel so insecure and are real lives so vapid? How many of us out there have put in our status update that we’re somewhere fabulous while in reality we’re doing our laundry? I want to see a show of hands out there. Uh huh. Suffice it to say from becoming the next ‘Housewife (perhaps a dubious honor),’ to the next Newleyweds: Nick and Jessica (look how that turned out), or even the geeky kid in High School now logging in to portray himself as a modern day Casanova; all to an audience of millions, most of whom don’t even know the ‘main character’ personally, do these public posts and images allow us license to bamboozle or manipulate others; to go as far as jeopardizing national security simply to boost egos, gain a shot at limited fame and make us feel good about ourselves? No judgment here, but perhaps something to consider … next time we’re doing our laundry.