On my personal Facebook page recently I posted a request for my friends to send me, in my inbox, a few pieces of information.
I asked for the email address they used and checked most frequently (because I know many people have numerous email address, I myself have like 13 or some ridiculous number), mailing address, current mobile phone number and birthday.
Back in the days before post, like, share, ignore, people used to know things about one another. We used to know how to visit each other, send each other Christmas cards and Birthday cards, how to actually fire off a simple email to one another, and how to call or text message one another.
We used to know when to send the aforementioned Birthday card.
Nowadays the media has whipped us into a frenzy, with one scare after another, everything from bird flu to computer viruses that will supposedly destroy our infrastructure and render us completely helpless.
It’s no wonder that I got simply ridiculous responses from my friends and family.
A small handful of people immediately responded with all or at least some of the information requested, no questions asked, boom, message to inbox.
Everyone else either ignored the thread entirely, posted smartass comments like “when did you start working for the government” or sent text messages with “is this really you or did you get hacked? You’re asking for all kinds of personal information.”
This really got me thinking.
For the most part, the people on my Facebook page, my personal one, are people I know in real life, some of whom I’ve known for many years, and these are all people I share mutual trust with. Or, I thought I did anyhow.
All of a sudden these same people regarded me with the skepticism one would use towards a stranger off the street.
This saddened me, and angered me a little bit.
There’s a reason no one gets Birthday cards or gifts from me, and usually just a “Happy Birthday” comment on Facebook. It’s not because I don’t care, trust me on that.
Our culture has become so jaded, cynical, skeptical and suspicious that a person cannot request from his own circle of friends simple information, which, by the way, is within the realm of “public information” and can be searched for easily with just a small amount of effort.
We’re concerned that the fluoride in our water is killing us, vaccinations are giving us Autism, radiation from phones are giving us cancer, someone may bring a “dirty bomb” across the border, we may get Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Monkey Flu, the government may throw us in a detention camp for indeterminate lengths of time without explanation, our calls, texts, emails, web traffic may be used against us, fear after fear after fear, some legitimate, others ridiculous, are being thrust into our heads day after day. It’s a wonder we’re not going nuts and killing each other, or ourselves; oh, wait, we are. It’s a wonder we’re not one of the most, if not THE most, heavily medicated country on the planet. Oh, wait, we are.
It’s a wonder other countries aren’t all like “hey, jeez man, lighten the fuck up already.” Oh, wait, they are.
So, I still have no idea when half of my friends and even family members’ birth dates are. I still have no idea what address to send a card to. And, you know what? I no longer care.
I’ll stick to the accepted norm of the obligatory wall post, or the “Like” or “Share” function and I guess I’ll have to be happy with that.