I'll admit right up front, I'm not a big fan of Facebook. Or I guess you could add not as it is currently used. It started out innocently enough as a way for the workplace to inter-communicate within that workplace's "net" without using mail servers and for that it excelled. Now in its externalized form, its still a nice tool to communicate with but the way it is used and abused often leaves me a mere click away from leaving it forever. Sure, you can say its a way for family and friends to post pictures and items about themselves. Yep, its a good way to promote one's ideas or a small business interest. Sometimes. No doubt, it has promise to be a lot but its largely unstructured in content, and style and it has morphed into a politically correct platform which dispenses with any sort of traditional communication protocol involving proper civility, grammar, or manners. Facebook is not alone, Twitter is on its heals if not there already. LinkedIn is quite different but its also used differently.
Yesterday, I sort of launched an unofficial experiment of my own. Some people are totally put off with improper use of grammar or words or even not using words and using letters of the alphabet instead when using email or texting. It just pisses them off. While I wonder about some of that, one of the things that bothers me is the use of really bad photographs with social media. I mean out of focus, poorly exposed and composed photos that make it hard to even know or guess at the subject, or you know the subject and also know how unflattering that picture is. I wonder why a person feels compelled to share something that ugly with the online world? Whats the purpose? To me, I'm even more interested to know why a another person would comment with "Oh my, what a wonderful photo?". When it is clearly crap and not very flattering. So yesterday I picked out one poor photo, published by a friend of mine, and the photo was of a good friend too - her brother. I commented that it was a lousy photo. I just wanted to see what people might say. And I got a screen full. I hoped to be able to simply ask what made the photo good to them? But I never really got around to that until much later in the thread due to the other comments. I also got busy at work and there was a large gap in the time I could respond.
Facebook users might not adhere to proper spelling, grammar, or manners but there is one sacred tenant and thats that you can only say good things about anything deemed personal. You are not allowed the latitude of having an opinion. If it means that you pronounce something as bad pertaining to a person or personal nature. There are exceptions. You can say bad things about politics. Or religion. And sometimes sports. But do not say bad things about someone's recipe, hair, photos, life philosophy, or sexual persuasion or anything about race. Actually you can't just even disagree. You will be branded and vilified. I was told by someone, on Facebook in yesterday's comments, that they were told, "if you can't say anything good, then don't say anything at all". I found that didn't apply to those commenting about my photo critique. They said plenty of not good things. But extending that thought about not saying anything bad....so we wouldn't have any meaningful reviews or debate in the world? Everything would be judged "good" because no one would say if it wasn't? Sounds sort of goofy to me but....I digress. I never really figured out what drives someone to declare a poor photo good other than the a loved one simply saying she would find any picture of this person good because she loved him. That I can relate to and understand. Everything else commented on became more of a personal attack on me and defensive posturing by "friends" of the photo poster, hardly any of them know me by the way, yet that didn't stop them from thinking they did. And because I'm a photographer by trade, of course some folks quickly perused my online pictures and pronounced them poor - even though 90% of them are of the guy in the poor photo I criticized. I've done a lot of work with him, he is a very good friend, and I'm proud to post those "poor" pictures of him. I will admit that as this commenting thing exploded, I did "feed and bait" until it started to get hostile, at which point I backed off, told everyone I hoped no one's feelings were hurt, I took no offense and I loved them all. It was late by then, it was my anniversary and I had to go.
So really, my little experiment to find out why someone is compelled to share a very poor rendering of a subject with the online world failed. I never really got an answer. Or maybe I did in that EVERY PICTURE is good per all the friends out there. I do want to know because Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are rife with really poor photos. Why? I should mention that there are some really good iPhone and Instagram photos as well. But it is a lopsided ratio. Don't get me wrong, I post photos off my phone but I won't post anything that isn't "legible" as a photo. I take and retake and if I still get nothing I deem ok, I don't post. I just know though that these people posting these yucky photos would not find similar quality (or lack of) acceptable if their TV's or computers only displayed in this manner. Or if their music was delivered all fuzzy sounding with skips in sound. They would have a fit. So why is it ok to foster this on to everyone else? I guess I'll never know because I'm not going to say anything on Facebook again. I'm not even sure I want to be on Facebook. I have an opinion. I don't fit.