Old people who’ve never used social media think that if you post something on that platform, everyone will see it. Take for example my mom, who keeps telling me, “Did you see the video I posted on Facebook?” Obviously, I didn’t.
I, like most social media users, have hundreds of friends. Mine is at 807. All of those people post something, and although I’m an active Facebook user, I don’t scroll through every post on my newsfeed (the place where all the posts of your friends are gathered). Usually, I just check my Facebook from time to time, and I get to read what happens to be at the top of my newsfeed up until I quit scrolling down.
Aside from posts from friends, my newsfeed is filled with posts from Facebook pages that I liked. I have 589 liked pages. Pages are accounts made by businesses, celebrity figures, politicians, artists, etc. When a Facebook user clicks the ‘like’ button on that page, the Facebook user subscribes to the posts of that page and thus those posts appear on the Facebook user’s newsfeed. If you are a page, and you want to promote a specific post, you have to pay Facebook for an advertisement or to boost a post.
So all of those posts compete for my attention. That’s why there are many times when friends tell me something, and when I appear to be ignorant about this new thing in their life and they say, “But I posted that on Facebook. Didn’t you see it?”, in my head I’m like, obviously, I didn’t.
Facebook itself curates the content on your newsfeed. The people and pages you interact with the most, appear more often or are placed on top. The point is, Facebook is not like a megaphone that everyone is forced to hear. Facebook, for the most part, often functions like gossip. It can spread but more often than not, it dies a quiet death.
The spreading of information on Facebook only happens so effectively when something becomes viral, and face it, your rants or stupid comments will usually not gain enough traction to be viral. When something becomes viral, that’s when it can be dangerous, it can destroy reputations and relationships. But then again, you can always repair these damages, you can apologize, you can make amends–it’s always not the end of the world.
Again, going viral is a rare occurrence, and we don’t even know how to intentionally generate such overflowing interest. Why? Because most people, even your friends, don’t really care about your stupid life. Because being viral is exceptional while people posting about their ordinary lives and random thoughts are often not that interesting to go viral. If making viral posts was so easy, then marketing teams would be all over it. Plus, even the viral becomes forgettable. I mean, come on, if society can forget about dictatorships and other historical events, people will also forget your 15-minutes of Facebook infamy.
The fear of having employees do stupid stuff on Facebook is stupid. It is an overacting paranoia. If employees say stupid stuff, there is a high chance that most people will not see it. Probably only their closest friends, the one they interact with the most, will see it. Those closest friends will not make a big deal out of the stupid comment.
So, why are people getting fired for Facebook comments? Why are bosses threatening underlings that they’ll get fired if they don’t delete the innocuous comment that they posted? Why can these bosses even “suggest” to employees to delete certain comments, when obviously the power dynamics between the employer and employee will color the effectiveness of the “suggestion”? Why do employees think that they should have the right to create rules that will preemptively silence employees?
Why do the powerful think they have a right to overreach this far? Why can they silence us when they can’t prove that speaking will have a direct and concrete effect on their bottom line? Why can’t they butt out of our lives? Why can’t they mind their own business?
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Note: For some entries in this blog, a few names and details have been deliberately and willingly changed by the author. This is a personal decision made by the author for specific reasons known to her and is not an endorsement for censorship.
All the opinions expressed in this page and in this blog are my own and do not represent the official stances of the companies, institutions, and organizations that I am affiliated with. I am a person. I’m not just a manifestation of corporate interests. I have an identity that is separate from my company because even if human beings are paid for a service by corporations, human beings are not owned by corporations.