I’m pretty confident that most people feel me on the whole love/hate relationship with Facebook (or Insta, or Twitter, or whatever the social media of your choice may be) and I’m pretty positive that most people have had that fleeting “I should just delete this crap” thought… and, yet, here we are. Most of us share way more on social media than we probably do in normal conversation with people we actually know in real life. And I’m not really sure why this is.
Actually, that’s not true. I totally understand why this has become the norm. It’s because it’s incredibly anonymous and easy to share all kinds of semi-personal stuff when it’s in text and you don’t have to utter the words yourself￼ aloud. For example, not a half hour ago I was compelled to share a message about how difficult it was to assemble some stupid Pokémon toy that I bought for a dollar. Was it necessary to share this? No. I don’t even know why I did. I guess on some primal level we all like a little bit of attention and we just want to talk 24/7. Look at me, look at me!!
That’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about why it’s so hard to disconnect from Facebook.
Let me first say that I have no intention of deleting my Facebook. If you’re one of those people that is able to walk away from Facebook and forget that it’s there, that’s excellent. Additionally if you’re one of those people that deactivates yourself because you know that if the app is available you won’t be able to help yourself, I understand that as well. If you’re one of those people, however, who makes a grandiose announcement that you’re fed up with Facebook and everyone on it and you’re about to delete your account in 24 hours, then please know that I roll my eyes at you and think you’re being dramatic and narcissistic. And I’m no stranger to drama or narcissism so I know what I’m talking about, you attention whore.￼￼￼￼
I genuinely like some aspects of Facebook. I have tons of photos stored there. I’m in several groups that I would miss and it would be incredibly inconvenient if I was not able to have access to them￼. There are people, not everyone but a good amount, from my past and from high school etc. that I would not keep in touch with otherwise. And I do like seeing photos and reading about what they’re up to. ￼￼￼
But I feel increasingly like Facebook is not helping me to be a better person. It feeds my insecurities; it often makes me feel inadequate; I sometimes feel jealous or dejected or just plain left out of something.￼ I scroll through my feed and I see tons of holiday events, many of them are just posted by mere acquaintances with whom I have never even had occasion to socialize. But for some reason seeing all of these “fun” things happening makes me feel like… Wow, I wish I was having some fun. Here’s the thing, I do have fun! We even hosted a little holiday party and we enjoyed it so much that we didn’t even take a break from what we were doing to take pictures to share on social media￼￼￼! So I’m not sure why social media is such an energy suck for me.
I remember when I was in eighth grade at the end of the year there was a big formal dance… The eighth-grade formal! How aptly named! Anyhow, after the eighth-grade formal a girl in my larger group of friends was having a big party. And she made sure to invite every single person in our crowd except for me. I didn’t really know her that well so I wasn’t sure why she disliked me so much, but I’ll never forget that feeling of being the odd man out.￼￼￼￼ I’ve always been on the quiet side and a lot of people misinterpret that as snobbish, but really I’m just reticent especially in larger groups. Anyhow, I’ve always remembered how I felt that night, and in fact when that same gal randomly friend requested me several times earlier this year, I declined every single one of them. You might think that’s petty, maybe it is, but I have no use for people like that in my life. ￼
And so all of this, seeing peoples highly curated super awesome Facebook lives and all of these awesome social events and everyone’s beautiful houses and vacations and purchases and labrador retrievers and whatever… How is it affecting me and making me worse for the wear? Well, it makes me do stupid things to make my life look extra curated and perfect￼￼￼￼￼. Maybe I’ll post a random video of myself singing or maybe I’ll post some pictures of me in a new outfit or with a new purse. By the way all of these things I have now deleted because I felt silly afterwards. Because at their core all of these things are… what? I guess fishing for attention? ￼￼Showing everyone how awesome and perfect my Facebook life is? And while my life is great, and I do love it, as we speak my kid just threw a laundry basket against my Christmas tree and there are small pieces of paper clock all over my living room floor. And some days I let him eat a lollipop at 9:30 in the morning. ￼￼
So what’s the solution? I don’t know. I try so hard to do all kinds of tricks to cut back on my dare-we-say obsession with social media. I move the app to different folders, I removed it from my iPad, I’ve hidden people who seem particularly showy… But at the end of the day, I just have to assume that behind the scenes at every fantastic holiday party, at every amazing workout class, ￼￼ on every flight down to Orlando for everybody’s amazing Disney vacations, there’s a big white laundry basket being launched at somebody’s Christmas tree. At least all of the lights work this year.￼