If time travel was possible, it would be fascinating to go back to February 2004, and be a fly on the wall when Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his Harvard dormitory.
Your NDSP correspondent would be particularly interested in seeing just how long the social network was in existence before the first negative or hurtful message was posted.
Was Facebook running for hours, days or weeks, before someone – from the safety of their keyboard – lashed out at somebody else?
Facebook – Social Media in general – is a mixed bag of lollies. On the one hand it’s an amazing way to connect and share interests with like-minded souls, see fun clips, and keep in touch with those cousins from up north you’d otherwise only get to see every third Christmas. On the other hand it can be a nasty place where people get pleasure from taking cheap shots at others, small differences of opinion escalate into declarations of lifelong enmity, and we all get overly concerned about how we compare to others.
When you think about it, every time we log on to the ol’ facey, we’re taking our state of mind into risky territory.
And as philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris says: “It is your mind that determines the quality of your life. Your mind is the basis of everything you experience. Given this fact, it makes sense to train it.”
We can take this sensible advice and apply it to who and what we choose to follow on Facebook and Instagram. Should we hitch our wagon to people and groups who make us feel yucky? (there’s no better word to describe it), or should we be selective and fill our feeds with people and groups who are positive and supportive?
It makes sense to gravitate towards the good. That’s where Facebook can be fabulous.
And so, with all the above in mind, here’s our NDSP-endorsed Facebook Follow Recommendation of the Month – The Uplift.
Now, whatever you do, don’t open a new tab and search for ‘The Uplift’ on Facebook just yet – you won’t come back to finish reading this blog any time soon.
The Uplift describes itself simply thus: “Your source for stories with heart. Only the news that lifts you up.” And it’s essentially a lovingly curated collection of videos that celebrate the best of humanity: compassion, kindness, generosity, love and friendship.
Now, some people might claim that a page like The Uplift is somehow sentimental and ‘soft’, but as another modern philosopher, (a British fellow named Morrisey) sang back in 1986 “It’s so easy to hate, it takes strength to be gentle and kind.” And so what we see in the Uplift collection of videos are vignettes of humankind at its most vulnerable and most courageous.
This is a Facebook page that celebrates people at their best, driven to help others. It’s unlikely our friend Mark Zuckerberg had the faintest idea what he was setting in motion when he invented Facebook back in 2004, and Social Media will always be a mixed bag of tricks, but The Uplift is a vindication. A win for the good guys.
(Oh yeah, we almost forgot: we’re quite proud of our own humble little Facebook page too, so if you haven’t already, give NDSP a follow! We may not quite match The Uplift’s 1.7M followers but hey, we’ve got plans to manage!)
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