If I Saw It on Facebook, It Must Be True

Harlan McKosato

Facebook has its usefulness. For instance, I get a lot of my information about the latest news from Standing Rock when the Water Protectors post videos and photos and give updates from the front lines. I sometimes get ideas for news stories from my Facebook friends when I see something interesting. But for the most part I think it’s a waste of time – and it’s addictive for a lot of people.

There are a lot of Indians on Facebook that crack me up. Because you can try to create an alter-ego on this social media phenomenon and some people pull it off in their own minds. It’s the attempt that makes me chuckle. Many people believe that everything they see on Facebook is true, and that being the case, they believe everything they post on their page will be believed by those who see it/read it.

I don’t personally believe numerous things I see on FB. The journalist in me ensures that I take them with a grain of salt. There are a lot of folks out there who are trying to manipulate the facts, and trying to turn public opinion towards their particular cause or concern. And what’s more confusing is that sometimes people try to manipulate public opinion by pretending to be sympathetic to an issue, but intentionally incite and inflame those who are against that particular issue. It’s like Orwellian double-speak.

But back to the issue of creating an alter-ego; which is generally considered to be a make-believe part of someone’s personality and one that is quite different from the personality of that person that people who know them are accustomed to. I think most of us are guilty of this, including myself, in some form or fashion. But to put it out publicly on FB is a totally different degree of deception. I see it all the time.

When you know people who are posting things that you know aren’t necessarily true, I think of all the people I don’t know very personally who I have become friends with on FB. I remember my best childhood friend, when we were in high school he made a comment, “think about all the things that people don’t know about us (like sneaking into the school at night to steal a test) and then think about all the things that we don’t know about them.”

Then there’s also the subject of confirmation and affirmation. We all need encouragement. We all like compliments. We all need to feel like there are people out there in the world who feel the same way we do. For people who do this on a consistent basis, like changing their profile photo every two weeks to receive compliments, it gets a little tiring. I don’t need to be notified every time you post a photo to let me know you still are in existence.

Again, I’m a skeptic. I want and need actual proof that something actually happened when I see it on FB. I’m still not sure if the riot squads in Standing Rock were throwing concussion grenades. Other accounts of the story say the young white woman from New York was helping to make a propane bomb when it exploded and injured her arm. But to see the posts on FB you would think she got her arm blown completely off by a grenade. The jury is still out in my mind. I have not heard anything definitive that sways me one way or the other.

However, I also believe in redemption. I believe that people can say almost anything they want and attempt to create a personality that makes them feel good about themselves, despite whether or not it’s totally factual. I just wish that people wouldn’t put out misinformation. I wish people would check their facts before posting something on FB. I guess that’s just the journalist in me talking. That’s all I have to say, aho.

Harlan McKosato is a citizen of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma. He is the director of NDN Productions, an independent media production company based in Albuquerque.

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Nigig-enz Baapi's picture
I left facebook 2 years ago. I could easily have 2,000 "friends" online that is. It is difficult to maintain beyond 2-3 close friends with work, life, etc. I don't like facebook at all and feel it is very toxic for the world. You carefully craft and online identity but who is the real person behind the screen. Recently I thought about returning to facebook but people warned me of its toxicity. So for now I remain free of it. I also feel that facebook is rewiring our brains to liking, commenting, and status. Have a deep, meaningful, and real friendship or romance! Have friends you actually connect with. How many "selfie's" does one person need to post? Really facebook is a social ill that needs to go away. People wouldn't know how to organize like the old days using a push button telephone.
Nigig-enz Baapi