By: Lucille Femine
Have you been reprimanded by Facebook for daring to try and make friends with people you don’t know? You get a notice that if you continue to do that, you will be blocked, right? Probably happened to a lot of you. There’s no other option; you have to agree in order to get back into the site. I did but it felt like a slap on the hand with two big rulers back in grade school.
But this policy is really saying – HOW DARE YOU COMMUNICATE!!
Let’s look at that. Before you make friends with people, you don’t know them, correct? So by this Facebook logic, no one would ever make friends with anyone else – other than those already known – because you have to know them before you can know them. How does that work??
Of course, many of us DO violate that rule and make friends with others we don’t know – kind of reminds you of prohibition. But nevertheless, why be subject to the threat that you might be “excommunicated?”
Should a newspaper or website not reach out to others because they don’t know who they are trying to contact? Should you not write to an author you don’t know personally to tell him you love his work?
What about chats? I’m sure you have seen and even posted yourself many questions of “strangers,” even fairly personal ones. Should you not do that?
Do you see how ridiculous this can get?
So I guess if you sat on a park bench next to a stranger and wanted to talk to him/her, you shouldn’t; otherwise you would be committing a social crime. Yes that sounds far-fetched and not the same scenario as Facebook but not when you look at the basic intent: to squash your reach to others and to the world. It’s contagious.
This smacks at the very heart of freedom of speech and helps create a dictatorship. What right does anyone or any organization, especially one pretending to be “social,” demand you make friends on their terms? And punish you if you don’t obey?
Then there’s the kissing cousin of this policy – you get punished for making TOO many friends. Where else, other than Facebook, are you banned, restricted or suspended for being too popular and outgoing? Well, actually I could think of a lot of places but Facebook is just very overt and dictatorial about it.
Why in the world should people on Facebook be limited to talk to only their own small circle of friends and family when there’s millions of others to contact, to get to know, to share viewpoints, to help, encourage or understand?
Well, of course some people prefer to talk only to their own cliques and don’t want to be bothered with the rest of humanity; but let me say this: no one is saying you SHOULD be bothered by the billions of people you don’t know but take some time to ask people who have travelled to other countries, made friends with all those “strangers” and have them tell you if it enriched their lives. Guaranteed, they will all say yes and tell you all about it with fascinating, glowing stories of distant lands and customs. A lot of it rubs off in positive ways.
Facebook should be a convenient way to travel the world. That would be one of its greatest contributions to this planet. Thankfully, there are many other sites where we are freer to talk to people we don’t know who often become great friends.
Sure there are spammers and troublemakers you would be best to not befriend but that is YOUR responsibility to handle. It’s your right to decide who your friends are and to take a leap of faith, if you choose. After all, if they turn out to be jerks or troublemakers, you can unfriend or block them.
We don’t need a social network to nanny us – like mommy telling you not to talk to strangers. Actually, “nanny” might be a mild term these days when people are being arrested for jaywalking or not having their ID with them.
The world needs MORE communication, not less or restricted communication. Social networks are the most convenient vias and means to do this – most especially in the Liberty Movement.
“There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.” – William Butler Yeats.
L. Femine is a Staff Writer and Executive Director of Media for The Liberty Beacon project.