If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, there is no doubt that you may have witnessed first hand my “Facebook Bi-Polarism”. It’s a weird thing, Facebook.
I have so many mixed emotions about it.
While we all have the typical cliche dislikes of Facebook that tick you off (too many game requests, improper grammar, political posts, too many photos of a particular type/genre )…these are a little bit different.
Here are my main gripes.
It’s not real life
The digital world is exactly that, DIGITAL. It is not who we are in our truest essence. It is who we hope others see us as.
Some people put a very considerable amount of time into their social media presence. Some people put none at all and seem completely unaware of how they appear (or they just don’t care). And it shows, both ways.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t admire (envy) the artful photos that some people seem to have the time to take. Or the fact that someone else may have things I don’t have, like a nice big home. But the truth is, Facebook is all about images and it can leave a lot of things to be assumed. You see the photo/status and nothing else.
It leaves out the amount of time someone took from their day to get that photo “just right”. It leaves out the work/debt it took to get that home. It leaves out any miscarriages a person may have endured to have that one baby who some may assume makes their life seem “so perfect”. Only seeing “photos” and updates removes the REAL element of what actually is going on in our lives. While I don’t think we owe it to people to explain our lives, we do owe it to others to not make assumptions.
Leading me to point number two.
Personally, I have dealt with “not feeling good enough” and not having “more to show for myself”, primarily because of social media. For someone who has always been very career oriented, not to mention adventurous, it has been tough, at times, to see people’s nice clothes, vacations, ski days (without me!), etc.
Before, I was too busy having fun to really notice these things. However, being house-locked sometimes gives you just enough down time to realize all the fun you ain’t havin’ anymore! I have “fun” but it’s in different ways. Like listening to my son giggle as I chase him around our kitchen/living room, movie nights with my guy, or simply reading a book when nap time rolls around.
Wah-wah-wah. I have accepted my life as a “boring ol momma” in the eyes of Facebookers. But it took me some time, I’ll be honest!
So, with some self-reflection, I realized my insecurities about not having all of the time/money/resources others do is really a matter of my own choices and priorities.
Comparison part II
The other part of the comparison aspect I am not privy to is the way that social media has completely morphed bullying and popularity contests into a whole other beast! I mean, imagine how it is for some adults, seeing what other’s (supposedly) “have” and how many other people “like” them and their awesome lives.
Imagine how it feels to a kid who is still figuring out who they are and what is important to them.
Or what about a kid who comes from a different home-life/background? Or maybe a child whose parents cannot afford things other parents can? We can only hope that others, too, will be kind.
I don’t know how I would’ve reacted as a young person having social media shoved down my throat, but I would imagine it’s not easy.
I mean, growing up, I always felt as though I wasn’t popular but I never really had a definitive “You suck. Nobody likes you” the way Facebook does with it’s approvals, requests, denials, likes, etc. We aren’t yet aware of the implications that social media is having on our youth, but I feel like it is grand and deserves some thought and attention.
If you have kids, be sure to explain to them what is REAL and what is NOT real. And also, find other ways to engage them and build their self-esteem as a real living person, not a social media presence.
Being Present in Real Life
I have been known to delete my Facebook account from time-to-time, and while some people think that is weird and they pick on me for it, I think it is perfectly healthy! Sure, if you have a business or a brand of some sort, it’s probably not the best idea to play Houdini and just disappear on people. However, I think that we get so in the HABIT of social media that we stop being present in our (REAL) lives, not our fake internet ones. And this is terribly saddening to me.
We can’t drink a coffee without instagraming it. We can’t have a rough day without posting about it. We can’t sit and wait in a doctor’s office or ride a bus without a scroll through “the feed”. I can’t cook a complicated meal without wanting to brag about it a little bit. That part is weird to me. Why do we over-share so much? I too am guilty of this (hey, I have a blog!).
Also, how many of these folks do you actually care to know all of these details about? What is this really “feeding” your brain? I bet all of this useless information in your head could be replaced with much better, more positive, make-a-difference-in-your-life or someone else’s life, kind of thoughts. It just leads to a lack of presence. Which leads to being rude to the person checking you out. Or missing your stop to get off of the bus. Or crashing your car while taking your 4th selfie because the first three weren’t good enough angles.
When I have deleted my Facebook account, it was weird at first. It made me aware of the “habit” I had, turning to social media in times of “boredom”. Only then was I able to see how to better utilize my time by reading a book, or going for a walk, or calling a family member to actually SEE how they were! I mean, come on, when was the last time you did that!?
Leading me to my next point.
It makes you a lazy friend/family member
On a side note, I think it’s funny when you see a friend you haven’t seen in a while and you begin to tell them something you are up to lately and they say, “Oh yeah, I saw that on Facebook”.
It’s kind of weird the way we quietly keep up with one another. Not saying it is good or bad, as it’s something we can’t help but do when we “scroll through the feed”.
I can’t tell you when the last time it was that I called a friend. I have never really been much into talking on the phone. BUT truth be told, Facebook makes it easy for me to be a lazy friend. If I want to talk with a friend, they are busy, I am busy–we are all so “busy”. So busy we have to schedule a call that gets cancelled anyway. Yet, we did have time to check Facebook a few times and post/like a few things that day.
It gives you the impression of feeling close to people without ever having any real contact with them.
I will say that some parts of the community aspect, I do find positive. I love, love, love keeping in touch with people on the other side of the States whom I left behind when I moved out here. Especially now that I am a mom and am choosing to lead a much more settled life than I EVER dreamed I would (kind of like that commercial where they say they are never moving to the ‘burbs or getting a mini van and they do both!). It’s funny how we change.
Some days, that sense of community gets me through a tough day with my toddler.
So, in a sense, I say a constant Halleluja for those friends whom I do have more things in common with that are far away! I love seeing their children grow and their lives change. I have even developed new friendships via Facebook with people who were once considered old acquaintances.
BUT all that being said, my “home girls”, my homies, the ones who I dearly miss, I rarely ever actually CALL them. I wish I did and I wish I did more.
Dating on Facebook…
I have never tried a dating app or one that is connected to Facebook. However, I have been asked out via Facebook. I consider this worse than getting asked out via text message.
When I was in high school, the guy had to call your house, ask your parents to speak with you (creating a conversation about this person), and THEN ask you on a date. MY how things have changed. We must adapt I guess.
Social networking or stalking?
I feel as though Facebook is more of a constant online chat room space where people can add photos, discuss things, reject people, join groups, block people. “Social Networking” just seems like such an inadequate term for it. Linked In seems more like a “social networking” site to me.
I mean, we share personal things (some of us) on our Facebook pages. I definitely do. Things like photos of my kid, quotes I like, opinions…things that could be considered “TMI” in my opinion for a real networking site. I don’t want a complete stranger whom I know through a work situation knowing some things about me that I choose to share on FB.
You can look up just about anyone on Facebook. I don’t know what the statistics are as far as how many people actually use Facebook, but I would say probably 85% of people I know (in real life) have an active Facebook account and/or are “Facebook Voyers”.
Whether any of us would admit it or not, of course we look up our exes and see what course their life took. Or maybe we meet someone interesting and check them out online first. Thank HEAVENS it isn’t like LinkedIn and it DOESN’T tell you who has viewed your profile, or better yet, who viewed yours! I wouldn’t want to know, and vice versa!
I was once legit stalked too, thanks to my Facebook Account. I went for a job interview in Salt Lake City (at a restaurant) and a customer walked by and in one glance at my resume, memorized the odd spelling of my name. He then looked me up on google, found my Facebook Account, created a creepy FB profile “just for me”. And even made a comment about the sticker on my car. CREEP-STER.
I would think it is a much higher ratio of creeps out there for females who accept everyone as a friend and/or post scantly clad photos often.
IF You wouldn’t say hi to me in public, why be my “facebook friend”? And also, if you keep deleting me, why do you keep re-adding me?
That one seems rather self explanatory.
While this list isn’t exactly anything ground-breaking, I thought I would just put it out there to explain my “Facebook Bi-Polarism”.
Some days I love it and some days I hate. And I know it shows. I just feel lonely on this side of the country without it!
So, if I happen to go through a deactivation spurt, or delete some people or seem a bit like a grouch sometimes, it may be because I am having a momentary bout of FB, Bi-P.
I think Facebook and the ripple effect it has is much grander than anyone is really willing to talk about or look at because we’re all too damn busy taking selfies and stalking other people.