The Social Contract

That sound you’re hearing is millions of social contracts being torn up simultaneously!

There are members of your Facebook Fam that need to have their branches removed from your family tree. I’m not talking about your Mama or Auntie that like every photo you post or leave heartfelt, but random messages on your wall (Hi Mom & Auntie C!), nah, not them. I’m talking about folks that are relatively new to the internet and their usage should be minimized to playing Bejewled and checking movie times, but Facebook became a trending topic in the hood, so they signed up.

I’m talking about the person that went to high school with you and you’re still a little unsure if they actually graduated or not. The person that hasn’t worked at a place long enough to say they’ve had a job and the four walls that surround your hometown closed in on them a long time ago. Or, the person that just learned to use their work e-mail and wants to explore all the Internet has to offer. How about your younger cousin whose status updates are sponsored by the local weed man and photos are alcohol induced? These are folks that haven’t developed the internet savvy to social network correctly, yet seem to be the most active users and all over your page.

They seem to lack the understanding that your network extends beyond folks with whom you learned your ABC’s or do shots with to distinguished scholars and colleagues that are excellent connections on your way to that deluxe apartment in the sky or corner office. At the same time, we seemingly forget that some of our old friends have been stuck in neutral while we’ve accelerated on the fast track of life. That is, until you update your status after an extraordinarily long day and two dozen of your colleagues “like” your status because they were next to you for a dozen hours. Yet you cringe when you get the SMS text that So & So has commented on your status, so you look between the fingers covering your eyes and read, “F@#$ that s@#%, let’s get high and go see some tatas!”. You can’t click delete fast enough, but the embarrassment has already started to spread, because each of your colleagues is notified at the same time as you that there’s been a comment added to this status and you start looking for ways to explain your connection with this person.

That feeling of discomfort, embarrassment and anger finds no consolation in knowing that this person continues to ignore all social cues and spout their ignorance not only for your mutual friends, but the hundreds of people that have no clue who they are. The moment that friend request is accepted, two parties enter into a “social contract”, an agreement that respectful content will be shared between the two. However, many folks don’t read the fine print or what’s in bold for that matter, and proceed to continuously render you red with anger or humiliation. How often have you said to yourself, you can do what you want on your page, but play it cool on mine. Especially with the lack of a spell check and the fact that you haven’t read standard literature since we were assigned “Lord of the Flies” in 7th grade...were you paying attention in English class?

The underlying issue is that the Internet has given us a platform and the thought that everything on our mind is for public consumption, no matter how ignorant, inappropriate or grammatically incorrect it may be, which is all well and good when formed correctly and in the proper space. However, many of us lack the filter to know the difference between humor and ignorance and don’t err on the side of caution.

It’s too late to turn back now; Facebook has over half a billion users and Twitter’s growing by the day, so your news feed and timelines are going to continue be inundated with bathroom pics and bar room conversations, not to mention the musings of bitter women and grown-ass little boys. I know I sound like an elitist, a little bourgeois, like I count myself in the talented tenth; but I’m just keeping it funky, speaking for some folks that haven’t found the words to tell their old friends to chill! Too bad many of the folks this is directed to will never read it...far too many words and I’ve deleted them already!

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