Although I know some of my Facebook friends face-to-face in the non-electronic world of ordinary interactions, there are many I have not met, and am unlikely to. My daily reading takes me across Canada where I have lived for more than 70 years, into the USA, across to the UK where I was born, over to Greece, on to Australia and beyond to New Zealand, where my mother was born.
I also belong to a few Facebook group pages: my village (Chelsea, Quebec) and my next door village (Wakefield — that’s the one in Quebec, although it regularly gets posts from bemused Englishmen trying to sell things priced in pounds). I get news of things nautical from three pages, things concerning historic fiction from three more, things Hobbit-ish from one, and I check out the pages of SF conventions.
Given that exchange on social media is usually composed of snap judgements, rants, premature generalizations and extraordinary rudeness, I’m really proud that I share the daily posts, comments, opinions, griefs, celebrations and perplexities of such a wonderful group of people. The fact that we don’t agree on many hot-button issues — God, guns, political parties — doesn’t seem to stop us pushing the “like” button on our other interests and concerns. We seem to have been able to put aside that which divides us in order to concentrate on what we share.
I don’t choose people from the “People You May Know” offerings that interrupt my daily feed. Perhaps there are wonderful people I should know among the names I am sent, but I prefer the unaided chance that has brought me friends whose comments I have enjoyed on a group page, or on something written by someone I have already friended. This may be an illusory distinction, but I’m not willing to surrender choice to Facebook’s algorithms.
I’m beginning to get friend requests from people to whom I have no connections. Sometimes it’s really easy and very gratifying. That’s when the person has read my books and (presumably) wants to know the person behind them. Sometimes the request is out-of-the-blue, and that troubles me. How did he or she find me? Am I being spammed? It seems to me that pressure is being placed on the implicit trust that I put in those with whom I communicate. Perhaps I should ask “Why?” — except that would be a bit forbidding.
Maybe, and if you’ve made it so far, this is my solution. I hereby broadcast my page’s personal rules: be polite, sincere and don’t send me cat videos (unless you take them of your cat, yourself), or professional pictures of natural settings adorned with uplifting texts (your own photos are always welcome). House rules are “Do as you would be done by,” which seems to work for all religions and for those like me who have none.
Johnathon Henry It appears you have inadvertently created a diverse internet village. Perhaps your character is the reasoning behind the sense of mutual respect and politeness. What you put out is what returns. I think everyone possess the friendly small village trait. In where not everyone agrees but that’s not relevant to coexistence and day to day life. It’s hard to pull off on the Internet because it’s not really real to most people. The guy violently insulting your mother in a thread, because you questioned the integrity of a politician, would look insane in public. That guy would be ostracized. But, I’m glad you were able to piece together a decent balance. It’s possible.
P.S. It’s former Marine or just Marine.Joseph P. Dion Seymour, retiring and relocating to North Van, and family events have taken up 2015 for me. But please keep me on your list as you did the knot board for the club and wrote a book,or is is two?