Kyle Wagoner is a student in a College English class who owns a Facebook page.
Ever since the invention of the internet, people all over the world who previously had no voice have finally found a platform where they can complain about everything and criticize everything that displeases them, pleases them, or even things they could care less about one way or another. Now you don’t have to be an expert on a subject for the world to hear what you think about it. A Youtube comments section is all the further you need to go for proof of this. But I digress…my real point here is that the internet may connect people, but at the same time, it creates a lot of division. And what a better nonsensical debate is there to talk about than the one between networking sites being good, bad, or ugly?
It kind of upset me when I saw that this argument had made it as far as a college textbook when I was assigned to read some pages in my College English class earlier this semester. Here we have a world filled with hate, greed, genocide, war, starvation, tragedy, and countless other environmental and social issues and we’re being assigned to read about two people’s opinions on the subject of Facebook. The sides of the argument are cliché at best. Kurt Soller’s “Facebook: Why I Love It” says he likes connecting with his friends. Sarah Kliff’s “Facebook: Why I Hate It” says Facebook consumes her life. Having a Facebook of my own, I see both of those arguments at least a dozen times a day. I read statuses like, “Should be studying. On Facebook instead.” Or I see where an older friend of mine will meet up with someone they haven’t spoken to in x number of days/months/years and be thrilled to have found them again.
So why do I think both arguments are bad? Well, quite simply, both arguments are pointless. They’re strictly personal opinions. My opinion about Facebook wasn’t shaken an inch while reading either essay. Maybe I’m a little biased since I have one myself and have already been able to develop a personal opinion, but even those who don’t have their own Facebook page probably know the basic concept of it. You sign up, you meet up with your friends, you share what you’re doing or thinking with each other.
Anyway, let’s dig into some examples here. Soller is a staff writer for Newsweek, the essay says. I don’t see why that’s important. How does that make him any more credible than anyone else who owns a Facebook page? Is he or Kliff, who is also a staff writer for Newsweek, a “Facebook opinion expert”? Even if they both were “Facebook opinion experts” due to working at Newsweek, they would still both be equally as credible.
Now, we can look at these essays in a different way: how objective are they? Well Soller thinks that God sent Facebook from to earth as a savior for those who missed the Jesus bandwagon as he says that joining Facebook was one of the three highlights of his senior year in high school right next to graduating and being accepted to college. Kliff, on the other hand, thinks that Facebook is one of Satan’s tools to keep us from living a fulfilling life. I mean, I know I’m kind of exaggerating, but the point here is that there is no grey line. One thinks Facebook is great and cannot be swayed to believe otherwise and won’t consider the other possibility and the one who belongs to the other possibility thinks just the opposite. Soller tries to fight the arguments against Facebook with the history of most inventions initially being looked at with frowns and Kliff fights the arguments against Facebook being good with her opinion of it being filled with pointlessness and mentioning all of her fake friends and meaningless Facebook groups that her friends join.
If I had to make a conclusion from all I just mentioned, I’d say that both writers come out at about being equally as stupid-looking except that Soller pulls from history some examples. That doesn’t cover the fact that he’s flogging a dead horse and arguing that he feels…exactly like half of the people that own a Facebook page. If Newsweek thought this was a good topic to have two of their writers to cover, then I really think that the country does need some new hobbies. Or maybe Newsweek just needs to hire some new writers…or some new directors of telling people what to write about or whatever that position is called. I believe neither essay serves a purpose, but the historical references would make Soller come out on top if you really wanted to make a worthwhile debate out of the two.