Sooner or later, it seems, every form of communication eventually comes to the end to its usefulness. Frequently the end is caused by abuse. When I was a child, my extended family communicated by mail: postcards and letters. I still receive mail every day, but these days I routinely sort the collection at the trash dumpster. There are two mail events I can no longer remember--the last day I did not receive any mail and the last time there was a real letter mixed with the daily flood of junk mail and catalogs from Barn Outlet and Pottery Gluck.
There was a long period when the telephone was the primary means of communications. I can remember when a long distant phone call (now an obsolete term) was a special event. A little over four years ago, I received so many phone calls advising me how to vote in the upcoming election that I wandered around the house ripping phones out of the wall. Now, four years later, I have never gotten around to reattaching those phones. Without phones, the house has been so much more peaceful that I'm contemplating chopping down the mailbox, too.
The fax machine at work is scheduled to be disconnected. In the last year, we have received hundreds of offers for cruises, a few unsolicited restaurant menus, and no worthwhile messages whatsoever. We probably should have unplugged the device years ago, it is inconceivable that there is still a business with a fax machine that doesn't also receive email.
Speaking of email, of course I still use it--I must get a hundred messages from students every single damn day. While there is an occasional useful message, the vast majority of these are from a recently awakened student asking me about something that is clearly stated in the syllabus. Between student emails and spam, it is getting harder and harder to find my important business offers from Nigerian widows.
And then, Facebook was born. And I am beginning to wish it had been aborted. Not only has Facebook detracted from the true reason for the internet (the endless sharing of cat photos) but it seems to have all but replaced all other forms of family communication. There has been a noticeable drop in phone calls and email since Facebook has become a part of our lives.
Facebook was a useful form of communication between friends and family for a while, but now, sadly Facebook too, has become so overwhelmed with abuse that it is easy to predict its inevitable demise. The two topics that every intelligent person is never supposed to bring up in polite conversation--religion and politics--now seem to dominate Facebook.
I get endless posts concerning gun control from people who have never owned guns, posts about abortion from people who can't get laid, and way too many posts about Social Security from people on it. The latter seem to believe that despite their generation supporting a government that spent like drunken sailors, the only important task left for society is to support them in their interminable declining years. If the World War II generation was the Greatest Generation, then Ours is the Grating (on my nerves) Generation.
Frankly, the endless public sharing of private opinions is getting tiresome. People who normally pride themselves on a political philosophy too sophisticated to fit on a bumper sticker will, on Facebook, trivialize profound problems by posting a dozen word opinion that could only be the result of either inbreeding or a higher education. This rudeness is slowly destroying social media.
Naturally, I have a solution. The only salvation for social media is anti-social media. We need a forum reserved exclusively for political and religious rudeness. I propose that we call the new social media service Septic Tank. We can reserve Facebook for polite messages between family and friends, reserving the new service for the opinions we would not espouse at a cocktail party. Then, every time you feel the need to share some profound insight from your imaginary friend--religious or political--you can just drop it in your Septic Tank.