BACK TALK: FACEBOOK: Social networking can feed false self-importance

George Bailey had to be reminded.

When all seemed lost, the sort of dreaded second-guessing that should never creep into the mind of human kind did.

He began to question his importance, and found himself confused and helpless at the edge of the world — or at least at the edge of his word, atop a bridge in Bedford Falls.

It took a Christmas Eve miracle to save George. And it came in the form of a hapless guardian angel named Clarence, who after taking our protagonist through a parallel universe in which he never existed, presented George with perhaps his best Christmas gift by the story’s triumphant conclusion: a book — Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” — with words of wisdom penned on the inside cover.

It read, “Dear George, Remember no man is a failure who has friends,” signed Clarence.

Well, duh.

George would have known that had he just logged into his Facebook account. That would have told him the exact number of friends he had.

Unfortunately, Facebook didn’t exist in 1946 when “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring James Stewart, was released. Maybe the movie would have been a bit different if it had.

For that, Facebook scares me.

The Social Networking Boom of this millennium has brought everyone closer together, but at the cost of cheapening the relationship among “friends.”

I don’t have an account, which may not make me qualified for such opinions. But doesn’t Facebook feed false self-importance?

Publicly posting statuses of “bored,” “reading,” and “going to the bathroom,” doesn’t seem like a worthy use of the world’s time to know.

And 1,000-plus friends? I dare anyone to even meet that many people in their lives.

What ever happened to the olden days? When you’d text your closest friends to come over and play video games? In person.

Call me a curmudgeon, cynical beyond my years. But I’ve been fooying Facebook, MySpace and Twitter since their inception, and in extreme examples, rightfully so.

Too often celebrities, athletes, and politicians bring upon themselves scrutiny for what they posted, tweeted or took a picture of and sent across digital divides.

I can’t watch one Sportscenter without seeing an athlete’s tweet masquerading as news.

I couldn’t care less about what LeBron James had for lunch, or after what U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) is named.

Self-importance amplified. And for some reason, people continue to seem interested.

Then there’s the tragic cases of cyber bullying. Mothers, with midlife crises so twisted, they involve themselves in their teenage daughters’ high school skirmishes. In some instances, such epically childish acts have led to suicide.

Obviously, social networking doesn’t consistently conjure up such negative tales of woe. But I just remain weary of the potential dangers. Never do I want a cyber friend-count to inflate my self esteem.

I’ve got old drowning angels to do that for me.

Plus, they could use the wings.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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