Saturday, October 10, 2009

Satan's favorite playground

You probably know I'm not a fan of Facebook. You know I find many of today's techie, gimmicky communication tools to be annoying, low-quality methods of keeping in touch with people you may or may not give a rat's behind about. I don't think any of you would be surprised to hear me say these things (or read my online rants about them—of which there have been at least a couple, like here and here).

But Satan's playground? Come on, Mel. Facebook's not so bad. It's harmless fun. It's just a place to "talk" to people, and a nice way to find people you've lost contact with, and a funny platform for keeping everyone informed about your every last trip, event, conversation, zit, or intestinal illness.

Right?

Wrong.

There's a reason you didn't keep in touch with many of those people. Or, in the case of some folks' amassed online "friends," there's a reason you were never really friends with those people to begin with. Maybe the reason was that you grew apart; maybe you and that person were only acquaintances when you crossed paths, and now you remain acquaintances with a more friendly title but no more intimacy than before. Perhaps you never knew the person at all, and he/she is a psycho-freak who is stalking you. Or it's possible, just barely possible, that you and this person haven't seen or talked to each other for over a decade because there's no reason to do so and it's just too much trouble to search for a phone number or write a letter.

What's feeding my spew? Well, let me tell you: one of Todd's ex-girlfriends sent him a friendly little note via Facebook. First to strike up conversation, and then to try to dredge up the distant past...as in, the time when they were dating. She happens to have befriended a family member of his, so she's fully aware that he's married, knows he has a child, and yet she sent these little messages along into cyberspace. To top it off? She is also married. To a service man, or so she says, who may or may not be serving his country overseas at this time. She is also a parent.

I ask you: what good can come of such a contact?

I have never been able to remain friends with any past boyfriends. It didn't seem kosher, or one of us started dating someone else and there were jealousy issues to consider, or one of us had been dumped and there were broken hearts added to the mix. I don't wish those boys and men any suffering (okay, maybe I do wish harm to one or two), but I also don't see the point in pretending to be friends with these people whom I once cared for but no longer think about. We're not in that place anymore, we've moved on, the feelings are no longer the same. No good can come of it.

But along comes modern technology, and suddenly you can keep tabs—semi-public tabs, no less—on everyone and anyone you ever wondered about in a passing moment. Everyone you ever had a sentimental thought about, especially after a fight with your spouse. Everyone you might still carry a torch for. And not only can you keep tabs: you can reach out and "poke" them! You can even communicate without your significant other knowing! You can send them private messages. You can, so easily, resurrect things that should have been left buried deep in the ground. It's like the Pet Sematary of the internet. And I have to think that Satan loves it. I'm not even touching on the insults and cheap shots that are exchanged there, nor the lascivious details that normally shy people share in that setting; I'm not mentioning the boldness of rude comments and inappropriate images, not venturing into the weird, predatory meetings that are often spawned there. I'm just hitting on the marriages that this subtly destructive tool has likely undermined.

I'm happy to report Todd is off Facebook. I stand by my statement: No good can come of it. Don't look for us there.

P.S. Am I a hypocrite, since I blog? I can keep this forum a bit more private, I think. And I'm not using it to reach any old boyfriends. Thoughts?

6 comments:

Athelas63 said...

Well, I don't think you're a hypocrite, and I do think lots of bad stuff can happen on-line. But bad stuff can happen anywhere. And if you can't trust people....

I'm on Facebook, to keep in touch with a few friends and my kids. Yes, every day when I log on, there are "suggestions" of who I should befriend, based on where I went to school, etc. I ignore 99.9% of these. Like you, there's a reason I haven't remained in touch with these people.

Like you, I'd be suspicious of some woman from the past who's own hubby is conveniently not around. On the other hand, we have to trust each other. I guess I think if I were tempted, there'd be a reason I was tempted. I doubt Todd is tempted.

You know as well as I do that skanky women putting the hit on married men aren't just on Facebook! And people who want to sneak around will always find ways. I guess that's just something we have to work out between ourselves and the people we have relationships with.

Facie :-) said...

I am torn about FB. Like Athelas, I ignore all friend suggestions, but if someone asks me to be their friend, I just say yes, even though it may be someone I said only "hi" to in high school. Just don't want to hurt someone's feelings, I guess.

But I am glad I am back in touch with old friends from high school and college. I will probably never see most of them again, which is fine by me, but I do get to know what they are up to, what they and their kids look like, etc.

I also agree that if someone wants to cheat, they will find a way. But I do think FB, myspace, and chatting have made it easier. A married FB "friend" sent me a message telling me he had a dream about me. It was nothing bad, more odd, but it still made me uncomfortable. I am fine in my marriage, but is he in his?

chris h. said...

I'm not on FB -- actually, I think I registered when I didn't know much about it, but never went any further and don't have a page or anything. It's not something that interests me because I'm sure I don't have any long-lost friends out there just dying to get in touch with me or vice versa (and I didn't change my name when I got married, so it'd be easy to find me if anyone wanted to). Frankly I can't imagine having another online "thing" to keep up with -- e-mail, LinkedIn, Twitter (which I'm only mildly a part of), reading blogs I like, and general surfing are more than enough. Would I mind if Mike was on it? Probably...for all the reasons you cite. It can be completely innocent or completely evil, based on the user.

Mel said...

good comments, all. I agree that cheatin' hearts will find a way. and I agree that modern technology enables them. it wasn't so much a temptation issue as a plain-old awkward, weird issue. there's no right way to respond to that sort of thing. it just reeked of weirdness. and I was irked, yes--but honestly, I think Todd was weirded out, too. the same thing happened to me years ago, when an old friend inadvertently passed my email along to some old high school boyfriend. he wrote a friendly, then "reminiscing" note about our time together--and he was also married, in the service, with children. I was honestly pretty angry, because it made me feel kind of dirty or violated or something. not sure why. but this was the same kind of creepy feeling. anyway, Todd decided on his own to leave FB, just announced it to me a couple days after that whole incident. I wasn't sad, but I didn't push it either way, or even ask him how/if he'd responded. I could see he, too, was not comfortable with it and that was enough for me.

chris said...

As weirdness would have it, I got an e-mail this morning from someone on Facebook asking me if I was married to a Rob H... and if not, just to ignore the e-mail. Why the heck did she want to find him? Brought me right back to your post here...creepy.

Mel said...

YUP.

plus then I think about the stupid govt. and its desire to control and monitor us all... and I think, I'm going to FIGHT to give them info about me--whey would I hand it over plentifully via a social network website?