Facebook is really freaking weird sometimes, isn’t it?
I have friends who are holdouts and won’t join despite my prodding.
For one of my oldest friends, “Look, if people want to reach me, they’ll find a way. I don’t need all these random people in my life who I would never even talk to looking at my pictures.” Fair enough.
For my Dad, who deactivated his account, “Why should I join Facebook anyway? So I can go see if (fill in the blank) changed her profile picture again? She does it every damn day!” Also fair enough.
For my Mom, who doesn’t know how, “Beti, will you help teach me how to use it?” I don’t think she will be joining anytime soon.
For some friends overseas, “Twitter is so much cooler. Facebook is for old people.” Fine then. Let me get out my dentures.
I think sometimes that they might be better off than me. That must give them back a lot of time in their lives to do important things that I know I should be doing when I get distracted by Facebook.
I don’t know where I read this, or if it was just my husband telling me about it, but there have been studies done on the healthfulness of the validation that people seek on Facebook. That people somehow become addicted and physically need the likes and shares and comments (only the ones that agree with their own statuses, of course). That the validation we receive on a social network site like Facebook amplifies our own neediness for constant acceptance and approval.
I can see that. I think I have been guilty of it as well. Ok, I know I have been guilty of it as well. Whether it has been in hoping that people liked my blog posts or that people found the pictures that I put up of my family mildly pleasant, I have definitely gone back to check. Did anyone hit the ubiquitous like button? Did anyone have something interesting (i.e. complimentary) to say?
So I admit it. I’m guilty. I have looked for friends, and those loosely classified as such, to validate me, my thoughts and the images that I choose to share from my life on Facebook.
I do try to draw the line with sharing things that are happening in my life and sharing things that come off as boastful. I guess that’s kind of a subjective thing to say. It can be innocuous things that say the most. I mean, me talking about having dinner at Red Robin with my family might be a luxury to another family. I try to take some context into account when I post about things that might imply how much money we have, the successes we are encountering and the good fortune we might be blessed to have. Or perhaps that we don’t have. There are some things for sharing and there are others that just don’t need to be stated.
Lately, I feel like my Facebook news feed has gotten a little bit out of control. I feel like the details of what we might have shared in the past with only close friends and family have become open to everybody, or our universe of “friends.” Casual mentions of which 5 star hotels someone is staying at are thrown around glibly. I’ve seen a “friend” put out an open vote to ask people whether she should upgrade her Mercedes to a higher model BMW or Porsche. A different friend listed an apartment that was across the hall from her own apartment, same model, and was only going for $6,000 a month, which was quite a steal! Right guys?
I have a lot of friends who fly first class because of the industry I am in and the sheer volume of travel we do, but there are some friends who must document and share their first class journeys with pictures, reviews and images of the food they eat. I know friends who are buying new homes and have posted pictures, listed details including square footage and acreage to such extreme detail that you wonder who they are really posting this information for.
Some might say that my distaste of statuses like this are fueled by jealousy. If you know how I am wired, you would know that those are not the things that I gain joy from in my life, so you know that would be wrong. I have seen people with no material possessions in this life and I find the contrast of openly bragging about material things unpleasant and not necessarily the classiest behavior, to put it mildly.
The other night, I wrote a post on Facebook. I didn’t think it was going to raise a big fuss because it was a general rant and was not directed at any one person, but just my feelings in general about how people are taking what they share to a whole new level.
And I truly believe that – humility – it’s such a beautiful trait to have. So much prettier than what kind of car you drive or house you want to buy or the amazing, high paying job you have. At least, it looks prettier to me in my feed.
One particular person thought that this general status that I wrote was about her and wrote some sorta nasty things about me which I will not go into right now, because really, what’s the point? I guess the one thing I have to thank her for is that she is “praying for me” because I’m obviously “very miserable.”
One of the things I found interesting about her response and her conclusion that my post was directed solely towards her, was that she kept saying, “Why can’t people just be happy for me?” Why is expressing a dislike towards bragging an indication that we are not happy for someone’s success or good fortune? Please people – work hard, earn your well sought out successes, have blessed families and capture all the light in life that you can. Just remember that yeah, you can come off like an insecure jerk if you harp on all of it a little too much.
Ultimately, you can say or write whatever you want on Facebook. But it doesn’t mean people are relating to it, even if they hit “like.” Take the time to ask if what you are writing is sensitive. If ISIS goes forth with its next planned beheading, it’s not the appropriate time to list out all the current industry awards you have won and your other general awesome traits. If your neighbor is dealing with a repeatedly sick child, it may make sense to hold off on screaming from the rooftops how amazingly healthy your own children are.
If you still think I am a miserable person because I find a distaste for your bragging, that’s fine too. I will continue to find joy in my life through the things that matter and even post about them from time to time.
In good taste.